Last February my life would be forever changed. Not because of marriage, illness, death or the birth of a child. I committed to foster a severely abused dog from a rural county shelter, Tristan. I was in a pretty dark place in my life and I took one look at the picture of this dog whose eyes showed no hope, heartbroken and betrayed by human hands repeatedly and I saw in him the manifestation of my own pain. I was determined to show this sweet dog love was possible.
He was to be killed the next day as I stared at his picture on the list of dogs that were to be put to death. I listed in my head all the reasons I could not foster him but in the end it was a leap of fate, a decision with my heart not my head.
When I picked him up at the vet after he had been transported out of the shelter. I had no idea what to expect and what I expected could not have come close to what I found when I arrived. They warned me, they told me he was having a hard time and as they carried him into the room I was sitting in, he took one look at me and released his bowels and bladder out of sheer terror desperately trying to make himself melt into the wall not to be noticed. What had I gotten myself into?
The first weeks he would not come out from the corner he shoved himself into with his head under the bed. I would have to crawl and shove my head under the other side of the bed to talk to him, so I could see him, try to comfort him. I would read to him (my favorite kids book “Tales of the 4th grade nothing”, and articles from the cooking magazine” Saveur” were some of his favorites…less howling during those selections) just to get him used to my voice. The terrified look remained. He was not sleeping, (which meant no one was sleeping!) he was howling and boy did he excel at the howling. Night after night I would drag myself into his room and lie with him. Then one night I was drifting off to sleep lying on the floor about 4 feet from him. I was half awake and then I felt it on my hand. It was that slobbery, kinda tickly feeling…I realized he was gently kissing my hand. I lie there motionless afraid to move, afraid to breath, with tears streaming down my face. That is the moment I fell in love with this dog.
Weeks have turned into months and Tristan has made leaps and bounds into a happy dog, who loves his brother and sister (two schnauzers) running in the backyard, playing with toys and giving “smooches”. He still struggles, he has huge fears of the leash, of strangers and of quick moves but we will continue to work together to take the next steps together saving each other along the way as we have from the very beginning. My life has been forever changed by Tristan, and I could not love him more. I adopted Tristan on the anniversary of my fathers death in April. He would have adored Tristan!
Please note: Tristan was rescued with the help of Recycled Doggies.
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