She was cowering in the corner of her cage. We didn’t know it at the time, but she had just been put out on the adoption floor. She had been in the intake area for 2 days because they weren’t sure she was “adoptable”. In animal shelter lingo, that would mean the end of the road. That morning she had been to an obedience class. It was a test. She passed, which was a miracle, because she is dog-aggressive.
It’s really not her fault. For a herd dog to be sent to a shelter is the ultimate failure. You not only lost the herd, you lost the farm. In addition, she had been abused in a previous home and was very hand shy. She still can’t handle loud voices.
We are either her 3rd or 4th home. We are her forever home. She needs to be an only dog. We accept that. She needs to be needed (herd dogs do). We let her lead us, even though she has no idea where we’re going till we get there. She needs to have things happen in the same order every day. She checks the front yard first, has breakfast and then checks the back yard. That’s her job. We accept that.
She has been with us for 12 years now. She was supposedly 3 when we got her. She doesn’t see as well any more. If you hand feed her, make your hand a plate. No big deal. She is very hard of hearing. You have to be in front of her, so that you can get her attention. No big deal. As she ages, she becomes more expensive medically. Nothing works as well as it did when she was younger. We’re dealing with senility, gastric issues and joint pain. It requires a lot of medication, but she is happy; so it’s no big deal. We accepted this expense when we brought her home.
Everyday I see posts for sweet little dogs who need a forever home…or a foster family. I can’t be that person right now. It wouldn’t be fair to the beautiful girl that we made a part of our family in 2001. We were in the right place at the right time for her (and the 2 before her). Imagine if she’d had to go through one more obedience class and hadn’t done as well. Or if she had been adopted by a man who wasn’t willing to spend 3 years building her trust. And what we would have missed without her in our lives—she is sweet and empathetic and always there to boost your spirits after a tough day. We are her herd and we need her!
So pay attention to those sweet little dogs and cats and even horses. Do not miss out on the opportunity to save a life. Foster if you can. Being in a home is much better than a cage. Adoption is even better. Do not miss out on the opportunity to save a life. You will be paid back many times over.