Every rescue group gets many more requests for help than they can possibly respond to. The reasons are myriad but what it boils down to is too many animals being born, too few truly responsible owners and a lack of understanding about what it means to make a lifetime commitment to an animal. Trust me when I say I know life is messy. I know sometimes things happen and it is devastating to people who truly can’t keep their animals. People lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their lives, and animals are left as collateral damage. In most cases though, there is time for people to make arrangements and find options for their pets. Too often they don’t. And more often, the reason animals are abandoned is not quite that good.
I digress though. You don’t know it yet but this story is about one dog. It’s about Nora. One dog needing help whose picture came across my email. She was cowering, in a corner, terrified. She did not believe she had a friend in the world. Any hope for anything better in this world was gone. She made my heart ache. And I closed the email and I logged off. Our rescue was SO FULL. We were scrambling to cover vacation foster sitter needs. We’d had a really tough summer. We needed a break, somewhere, somehow. Now was not the time.
But in the dark that night, one face haunted every thought. Nora. I knew while I lay contentedly in my bed, she was out there, alone, fear coursing through her body, waiting for the worst to come. Nora. She was certain no one in this world cared about her. If she’d known my mind spun in endless circles around her, no doubt it would have terrified her more. In the morning I looked at her photo again. I tried to push it away. “Someone” will surely help her. All day, I saw her face. Again, all night, I saw her face. The next morning I sent a message. Did Nora have rescue? Did she still need a place to go?
This is how I found myself meeting the most terrified pup I’d ever seen. Nora cowered. She shook. She urinated and defecated when picked up. She scrambled, slip sliding into the corner and under a chair as soon as she was set down. Her head down, shoulders hunched, body trembling, there she sat. And I sank to the floor close by.
The phone rang, my dear friend Suzanne wanted to know what was up. I told her about Nora. “Are you going to see her?” she asked. “I’m here” I said. “I’ll foster her Lynne. Take her, bring her home.” If you haven’t seen it, there is a quote that goes, “I said somebody should do something about that, and then I realized, I am somebody.” Somebody would do something. Because of, and with support from, the amazing Safe Hands Rescue family both Suzanne and I could and we would.
And so it came to be that Nora found herself, moribund with fear, in the backseat of my car. But it was a good day. This day was the day Nora stopped waiting to die. This is the day she would begin to learn to live.
I brought her home. I gently carried her in a quiet room set up just for her. She had a bed, a crate bottom with blanket to hide in, toys of her own and classical music. I set her downand she made a mad, falling, dashing scramble and threw herself into the crate bottom. I sat with her, talked quietly, did not look directly at her, left her some cut up chicken and gave her some peace. I’d already made my mad, falling, dashing scramble into deeply in love with Nora.
Nora’s transformation has been nothing short of amazing. There is a beautiful and resilient spirit in this little girl. Somewhere deep down there was still desire. Awakened, it came out to play.
By the first afternoon she’s comfortable to sprawl out, not just curl up! Baby steps and I’ll take it.
Day 2 am and look who’s out of the crate!
Day 2 in the early evening – almost smiling! So much more relaxed.
Day 3 am and Nora lays down so close she’s touching me in the yard!!
Day 3 and look how happy!
Just three days. Nora’s whole world changed. This is the miracle love makes possible. This is the miracle that open hearts and minds (and homes!) make possible. Nora is still a bit shy, bashful if you will. But man is she happy! She is more relaxed and comfortable each day. Her confidence grows. She LOVES other dogs and follows her canine foster siblings lead in all they do. Not long ago, Nora did not think she had a friend in the world. Now she has a whole big family watching out for her. One day soon her forever family will find her. They will surround her with the love and security she needs to continue to blossom. They will support and nurture her growth as we do now. For now, she is our girl. We will help her learn and help her grow and prepare her for the next chapter of her life. For always, we will love her. Sometimes, you just have to be somebody.