Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hey Bebe!


My Bebe has truly come so far since she came to the shelter mid January. She has blossomed into a joyful, infinitely loving, incredibly sweet and perfectly wonderful dog.

When I first met Bebe, I had low expectations for her improvement at the shelter. After all, she had been living as a stray near the Berkeley Marina for some time and was so fearful of people that it took a week for animal control officers to catch her!

Frightened and confused, Bebe barked defensively at anyone that tried to approach her. I wanted to bond with her, but how could I when she wouldn't even let me near her? With a few short visits every day (with either some natural balance treats or a small bowl of wet food), Bebe eventually "granted me permission" to enter her kennel. I rested her kuranda bed against the wall and spread a blanket out on the floor, for I was preparing to be there for a while.

She avoided me at first - staying on the outside of the kennel, practically clinging to the kennel door for dear life. 5 minutes went by and there she remained. 10 minutes went by until she felt relaxed enough to lie down. Another 5 minutes and she had slowly inched towards the center of the kennel. With each additional minute, Bebe crawled on her belly toward me until she finally reached the promise land: a lap to lay her head upon.

Bebe looked up at me with her expressive face, heaved a sigh, and took a nap.

For the following week we had a routine: getting reacquainted in the kennel, walking into the laundry room and becoming familiarized with all of the noises and smells, walking up into the bath tub (but only for a few moments!), and finally walking outside to sit in front of the shelter in the sun. By the end of that week - I gave Bebe her first bath and she felt brave enough to go for her first real walk.

Of course, a few days of real walks and we find out she's in heat! Back into the kennel she went where she was forced to endure boring kennel visits and no sunshine. :(

But with each day Bebe became less frightened, less shy, and more relaxed and confident. More volunteers began to visit with her, too (thanks you guys!), and now Bebe is a "yellow dot" volunteer favorite, I think. So easy to walk and such a pleasure to spend time with.

It has been a few weeks since I last walked Bebe (I was away for a couple of weeks!), but today I finally had the chance before someone else got to her. :) It felt so nice to have Bebe back in my arms, for I did miss her.

I hope this fabulous dog finds a family that will cherish her for the wonderful gem of a dog she is.


Tai said...

I love this story. Beautiful, lucky Bebe, to have such loving people to bring her back to life. I volunteer at the Oakland shelter, and stories like this...well, they really make my day. Thanks for this great blog.

Sam said...

Thank you for your kind words, Tai...

Joel said...

It amazing to see what a little bit of patience and humanity can do for a panicked confused dog. It doesn't feel like a productive use of time to sit in a scared dog's kennel for 20 minutes but sometimes that's exactly what they need. Bebe has become one of the shelter's most adoptable dog thanks to Sam's efforts.

Noura said...

Such a lovely story- Thanks Sam. I love Bebe too! and just adore taking her for walks, that cute pink face and she is just so affectionate. I do hope she finds a loving home soon. That family will be lucky to have her!