2015 started off as a rough year for me personally. I had gone through a terrible breakup at the end of 2014 and had to leave three of my dogs behind as a result. (I still go and visit them) By February, life started to become brighter, and I became settled in a new home and life. I had the one dog I took with me and she, my new partner, had her one dog. We decided this was enough for right now … that didn’t last long though. She started coming with me to the rescue, I’ve been a volunteer for a few years now, and we started talking about taking a foster.
Lily Belle had been with the rescue for a while and had spent some time in a couple of fosters temporarily, but was at the ranch now, permanently. She was the most timid dog the rescue had, other than maybe Hannah, and rarely showed her face out of her igloo. She had been a puppy mill dog and was terrified of humans. There wasn’t a mean bone in her body, but if you reached towards her, she would quickly lose her bowels because of being so frightened of human touch. We decided we wanted to give her a chance to foster.
After we took Lily Belle home, we gave her a crate as a place for her to feel safe and just gave her space otherwise. It took a couple of days, maybe even weeks, to get get to come out of the crate when we were around. We would daily go get get and wrap her in a towel and just hold her, touch her, and love on her. After a little while of doing this, she started to come up on the couch to her one designated area. This spot quickly became hers, and she went straight there every time we let her out of her crate area. We would just pet her slowly and talk to her sweetly, but ultimately let her take her time.
Slowly but surely, after a couple of months, she started to wag her tail at us. This seems so small for most dogs, but for this one, not tucking her tail and actually wagging it was huge! She became comfortable enough with us to lie down next to us, in her spot, and chew her bone. This was huge as well as she was usually on alert and watching her surroundings so intensely that she couldn’t relax enough to chew a bone.
So now here we are, six months later. Lily Belle actually runs around from room to room and follows me. She jumps all over us and plays like a puppy. We think she’s having her puppyhood now. She steals shirts, tissues, and every dog toy she can find. She looks at us with confidence and love at all times now. She tolerates her older brother (everyone just tolerates him, lol) and loves her big sister, Alain. She absolutely never tucks her tail with us. She is still learning to be confident around other humans when they come over, but she does still stay on the couch when they visit instead of running to her crate.
And, needless to say, we could never let her go to another home, so we’re officially and happily “foster failures.” We adore this girl and the love is very mutual. Watching her blossom and become who she is has been fulfilling and amazing to watch. We want to be a testament to adopting shy dogs and how a little patience and a lot of love can make a huge difference to an incredibly timid animal. We are sure glad we did. 🙂
– Kasey Perritt