One dog’s journey to love and trust
The day started like any other. It was around midday and I was at work when the receptionist told me there was a “very upset” woman on the phone who needed to speak to me. She was so upset that it took me a couple of minutes to figure out what she was trying to tell me. A former student at my dog school, she had pulled off the road to call me after she had seen a dog hit by a car. By this time she was almost hysterical, as the dog had recovered and was staggering through heavy traffic. Telling her I was on the way, I grabbed a couple of blankets and flew out of the office. It only took me two minutes to get there, but right in front of my eyes I saw the dog hit yet again by a truck. It was just terrible.
Switching on my hazard lights, I stopped my car and got out. A man stopped behind me and directed traffic while I grabbed my blankets to go take the “dog’s body” away. I was incredulous – this thin little soul of a Husky was alive – really badly injured, but alive. I phoned my vet and arranged to meet her at the practice without even thinking how I was going to get this badly injured dog into my car. She was terrified and in terrible pain, but incredibly she allowed me to cover her with a blanket,
lift her up and place her in my vehicle without so much as a growl.
Although badly injured, she miraculously had no broken bones – and only The Lord knows how. Her face and neck were in a real mess; she also had some bad gashes and awful bruising on her body but she hung in there. She stayed at my vet for two weeks before it could even be considered sending her home. But this was the problem – where was home? Sadly, although she was microchipped, the owner did not want her.
So, having gone through all this, she was now just another homeless dog. I arranged with my vet to have her spayed and mentioned this awful dilemma to my niece, Tammy Watson, and she of course mentioned it to her husband, Lourens. He decided that he wanted to meet her (“Shadow”), so off they went to the vet. Tammy phoned me afterwards and said, “The minute Lourens and Shadow met I knew we would be taking her home”.
The healing begins
While Shadow mended well physically, she had problems. She couldn’t stand a collar or having her neck or head touched and she was depressed. It took two years of love, good food, training and commitment for her to heal psychologically. Shadow was home! Slowly but surely she blossomed with her new family, and, unbelievably, successfully completed her assessment to become a Paws for People® Therapy Dog.
Shadow has turned out to be an amazing addition to our family. She has a very special bond with my husband, Lourens, and I’m sure it’s because she knows that he was the one who brought her home. She has also become our Alaskan Malamute’s (Cade) best friend and playmate, which has made him a happier dog too.
I would say that after about two years of training, lots of love and patience we eventually saw the change in her eyes, coat and personality. We have gained her trust and she now allows us to hug her, pat her head and put a collar on her. She also wags her tail and talks or sings often. Shadow is now a very happy, well-adjusted dog and we are very proud and blessed to have her as part of our family.