If you’ve worked in animal rescue very long, you know well what kind of sad stories come attached to most of the dogs and cats and other creatures that cross your path.
Some of them make you want to cry. Others make you want to hit someone. A lot of them create such a mixture of emotions that you’re not sure exactly how to handle them.
Some of the animals carry their stories in the scars on their bodies. Others with a look in their eyes that no amount of love and care can erase.
One person who adopted a rescued dog had no idea of the story behind his dog’s behavior. When he finally learned the reason, his heart almost broke.
When they had first brought home their new Golden Retriever, everyone was happy. The family had the warm fuzzies because they had saved someone’s life by adopting. The dog was grateful to have gotten out of a crowded shelter alive.
With his playful nature, he fit well with the family and no problems emerged that they couldn’t easily overcome.
The dog did have one habit though that puzzled the family. Every night, when the lights went out and they all went to bed, they could see the silhouette of their dog outlined against the nightlight.
He didn’t go to sleep when they did, he stood there, paws up on a gate in the doorway to the master bedroom. A gate that he never touched during the day.
They don’t know how long he would stand there, but he would be standing there as they went to sleep. And still there when they woke up.
At first they thought that maybe he was still wound up from the day and just needed more exercise. But, it seemed that no matter how far they walked, or how tired he was, when bedtime came, he always assumed that same position. And kept it throughout the night.
This wasn’t really a problem for them, they found it rather heartwarming that he was watching over them. But they worried that he wasn’t getting enough rest. Or that something might be troubling him.
So they contacted the shelter where he had been adopted. They asked if anything in his history that might explain this behavior.
Their answer turned their new family member’s actions from being heartwarming to heartbreaking for them.
As it turned out his first family had decided to “get rid of him” when they had a new baby. To make matters worse, they had sneaked him out in the middle of the night so no one would know.
As a result, the poor dog had a horrible fear of abandonment, and rightfully so. He felt that he needed to stand guard every night to be sure his new family didn’t hustle him off to another strange beginning.
The new owner wept when he heard the story. He knew immediately that it was time for the gate to come down.
So, that night the dog was invited into the master bedroom. He now has his own bed alongside his master’s and goes to it when the rest of the family goes to theirs.
The family assures him daily that they will never let him leave them. And that they won’t ever leave him either.
Their words aren’t really necessary, their actions told him that. But, I’m sure he enjoys hearing the love in their voice when they tell him every day just how wonderful they think he is.
Shame on the previous owners for treating him like something disposable just because it was no longer handy for them to own a dog. Most adult dogs don’t make it out of shelters alive. A lot of cute and cuddly puppies don’t either.
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Kudos to his new family for realizing what a treasure they have. And being willing to take on the responsibility of the unknown issues of a “previously owned” pet.
What a poignant story. But what a wonderful ending. Don’t you just love it when the animal is happy in the end? And isn’t it wonderful when a deserving dog finds his forever home? I wish every shelter dog could be promised such a devoted and responsible family in their future.
Here’s to sweet dreams and beautiful tomorrows.