Willow: From Fearful to Fabulous

My absolutely fabulous Homeward Trails adoptee wasn’t supposed to make it. Slated for euthanizing on multiple occasions at her shelter for being “unadoptably shy”, a volunteer (Kathy Cogar, to whom Willow and I will always be indebted) argued for her life each time, begging her just a bit more time. Turns out it was just enough time for her to be brought in to Homeward Trails. I met Willow the day she arrived in from the shelter, shaking and drooling and glassy-eyed after 7 hours of being passed between cars at designated meeting points between Sutton, WV and Arlington, VA. The crate she was in had to be taken apart to get her out of it – she was doing her best to melt into the back of it. She seemed like a pretty hopeless case. The foster situation for another puppy that came in with her fell apart, so we did some shuffling and I left with Willow, only intending to foster her at the time.

WIllowShy Willow BeforeAt home, I had to either carry her places or “herd” her – she wouldn’t walk on a leash and would crouch down in fear if I came near her. Brayden – my other dog – spent his time outside the baby gate that blocked Willow’s bedroom doorway, rolling onto his back and begging her to come play. I sat in the doorway singing her songs and tossing her treats each morning and evening. After two weeks we wore her down – the night she came to the bedroom to nuzzle my hand as I slept, I knew she was staying.

Almost three years later, Willow is the perfect dog. On Sunday mornings when my colleagues bring their dogs over for playtime, she meet each new arrival at the front gate, excitedly escorting them do the backyard. She bonds with each foster dog through the door, no matter their past story of neglect or abuse, helping them trust and settle in to their new lives. On almost a daily basis I see something new in her that makes me feel so very lucky to have her in my life.

-Lisa, Athens, GA

See all posts about: Shy Dogs

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