Ribbons and rosettes, titles and accolades are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But probably the best ever thing I will ever do in dogs is rescue. I don’t do tons of it, only fostering 2 or 3 dogs a year, because I have my own dogs to care for, train, and show, a full time job and a husband who also requires attention occasionally, and a lot of the time my involvement consists only of putting the right people and dogs in touch with each other and letting the “corgi underground”, as Bob calls it, do its thing.
Gabi is my “best ever” rescue story. She was a release from a commercial breeder. She came to us at 3.5 years old having never had a name, simply a number, complete with ear hemtomas, a UTI, obese, and still intact (of course). She was terrified of people to the point of complete and utter passivity – I was torn between forcing her to accept my handling so she could learn a human’s touch could be a pleasant thing or leaving her be because I only traumatized her more. How did we help this empty shell learn to be a dog? We celebrated baby steps. Gabi loved being with our dogs, although at first she didn’t really know how to play with them. Frapping came much, much later. A couple steps forward, a couple steps back. Months went by and we despaired of Gabi ever being a dog enough to be ready for a forever home. Privately, and then together, Bob and I decided that if that never happened, Gabi would have a forever home with us, in whatever capacity she managed to evolve. Enter an angel named Diane. She and her husband came to visit, originally to see a puppy who was also part of the commerical breeder release (said puppy being so badly constructed that she eventually had to be euthanized when pain and injury set in). And we talked about Gabi, and talked about Gabi, and talked about Gabi. I told Diane I couldn’t promise Gabi would ever “get better”. I told her to think long and hard about Gabi’s limitations and Diane’s ability to love an animal that might never be able to return that love. I told to her sleep on it.
Today, the 2nd anniversary of Gabi and Diane’s “gotcha day”, Diane shared, as she faithfully does on a regular basis, some photos of a very content, very at home, very much a dog, Gabi.
Yes, the ribbons and rosettes, titles and accolades are lovely. But nothing I ever do in dogs will make me happier than knowing Gabi has become a dog!