On February 19th, 2009, I brought home a foster dog named Bunny. Victim of a faulty legal system, she had grown up in a kennel at a shelter from birth to three years where she got very little human interaction. Though she was not yet born at the time of seizure, she was considered “evidence” in an animal hoarding cruelty trial with thirty other dogs and the “evidence” dogs were mostly ignored by the shelter. It was eight months before Bunny saw grass or breathed fresh air for the first time thanks to caring volunteers, and she and many of the other dogs born into this situation were terrified of the large world outside. The result of her “sheltered” life was a fearful, skittish dog that was afraid to move from tile to carpet, jumped and scattered the first time she saw a TV, was afraid to step onto a dog bed or other elevated surface and was afraid of people. She was basically feral. It took me farther than I have ever gone into the realm of rehabilitation and therapy to get her to a point where she could eventually go out with me in public, meet new people without being too frightened and eventually, become adopted. I even took her to obedience classes for socialization towards the end of her stay here. The first week, she hid under a chair and would not take treats. By the eighth week, she graduated after being able to participate in class and complete all her exercises with the rest of the class. Though she had made progress, I was unsure if I would ever be able to adopt her out or if I would be able to let her go, emotionally. I was A lot of people fell in love with Bunny through Facebook, reading my updates on both my page and that of the rescue’s, and I think that most didn’t believe I ever could let her go (me either!) Though a deleted account resulted in its permanent loss, we kept a blog for Bunny as well that detailed some of our milestones. The greatest of these came the day Bunny met a young couple that had experience with shelter and had adopted a dog that had fear and security issues of his own. She trusted them instantly, it seemed fated. We spent a month meeting up for weekly playdates and bringing Bunny to their home to let her get used to them, and once she even spent the night. Her slumber party went so well that I only came back the next day to have her adopters officially sign paperwork and make her part of their family. I was so happy and so proud of her. She was adopted on February 28th of 2010.
Even though she was a different dog by the time we found her a home, Bunny was still fearful. Her owners, whom Bunny adored from the moment she met them, were going to continue taking her to classes, working on socialization exercises and helping her continue to grow. Then they got married, then pregnant soon after adopting her and redirected their focus to this new life they were embarking on. While she is super happy and relaxed at home or out on a hike with her canine housemate, Brock, Bunny is still not sure what to think about new people or places.
In the next few blogs I am going to start putting down thoughts and tips on finding lost pets, preventing pet loss, etc. I will also be talking about my new resolve to do something more with life and why I feel it’s so important to do so. I hope that if you are a pet lover, you will learn from my experience and be better prepared if something should happen to your pet. Stay tuned!
-Crystal, The Star Thrower