About a month ago, while watering the plants in our backyard, my mom noticed these small, hungry eyes watching her. It was a tiny dog, so skinny, so terrified, that she looked even smaller. She had possibly entered through a small space in the gate and hid in Marco’s bed (our senior dog). Catching her was anything but easy, as she could hide in any small space. Plus, it was hard to tell if she was a puppy or an adult. One thing was certain; she was a small breed. I managed to catch her with some food, as she was starving and devoured everything instantly. She snarled when I tried to grab her, so I kept trying to gain her trust until I managed to catch her. I put her in my cat carrier and took her to the Vet to check if it had a microchip. She didn’t.
As it was a temporary situation, we decided to let her stay until finding her owner or simply a better solution. My house has open stairs, which are very dangerous to such a small, nervous pet, so I had to lock her up in a bathroom when I couldn’t have her by my side.
She was so frightened that she’d panic at the slightest noise; so, I had to approach her gently, without any noise, let her smell my hand, and when I was finally able to hold her, make sure we were close to the floor, so she wouldn’t hurt herself trying to escape.
The state in which this pet arrived was deplorable and full of inconsistencies. Her hair was missing in the back, but it seemed to have been shaved at the same time. Her skin was covered in scars, especially on the back and ears. There were signs of tick and flea bites, but only dry residues, suggesting someone had previously taken care of her. She even seemed to have scabies, so I separated her from the other pets and wore gloves when petting her. It turns out it was just dermatitis.
She was constantly shaking. She was so tiny, and when she curled up, she reminded me of a chocolate chip cookie. I started calling her Cookie.
The next day, I took her to the vet again for an appointment. Some aspects didn’t make sense. She had tick marks and signs of abuse, but she seemed to have been treated. That is, someone found her before us. The vet helped us spread the word on Facebook and a gentleman, at some point, left a comment saying someone had found the dog a few kilometers from my homeplace, treated in another city, handed over to a family from whom she fled twice. This actually made sense because I could see she was constantly trying to escape. But still, it is just so sad to know that she had been adopted and her owners let her run away without trying to look for her.
We were also unable to figure out her age. Telling by her teeth, she seemed to be about 4 years old. But looking at her, she looked like a puppy, but she spent so much time curled up that we couldn’t tell from her behavior.
Her hair was in such poor condition that the vet prescribed a treatment shampoo and a bath every other day.
Socially, Cookie wasn’t making any progress; she was anxious when locked up and wouldn’t let us sleep at night, even though, during the day, I spent most of the time with her. I couldn’t be away from her because she panicked and wanted to run away. At some point, she even tried jumping off the balcony (she was never there unattended), which made some facts clear in my head: she was going to run away or hurt herself at the first opportunity; she hadn’t been socialized and, as traumatized as she was, she was going to need professional training; and last but not least, unfortunately, I didn’t know how to help her. So, I decided to contact an animal rescue center, but as they took a while to respond, I found out that Cookie got on very well with Marco, followed him around, and didn’t seem anxious at all. By the time the rescue center replied, saying they had a place for her, Cookie was already adapting, and we had already decided that we were going to keep her.
Cookie is still shy and afraid of strangers, but she’s extremely friendly and playful with other pets. At first, she only played with Marco. Then, she’d play with me too, but only when no one else was watching. It didn’t take long until I’ve achieved full dog status. Now, she opens up fairly quickly. I still didn’t manage to have her get along with Dean, who seems to want to play with her but is afraid of dogs and a little jealous.
As of now, she runs and plays in the yard, and it doesn’t seem like she will ever try to escape. Marco, who is about 16 years old, has been much more active and playful ever since Cookie is with us. She doesn’t even look like the same withdrawn and unhappy dog that found us. She already has new hair all over her body. She doesn’t shake, she plays and barks (in the first few days, she didn’t make any noise), and she even plays with her toys. She is doing well with her leash training, although she occasionally shrugs with loud noises. She trusts me more than anyone else at home, but she still runs away from me if I don’t announce my presence.
I swear, I thought I couldn’t help her. Cookie was too traumatized for a common owner. She needed patience and dedication. I would have never been able to make progress with her if I didn’t have Marco, who shows her she doesn’t need to fear humans. This way, it’s much easier to train her. Despite having different beds, they sleep together, eat together, and play all the time. With this unpremeditated adoption, two pets are now happy, and so are we, for being part of all this.
The pandemic ended up bringing good things, like my being able to support Cookie. She has been with us for over a month and already makes such a difference! Love made all the difference, actually.
Stay tuned, as I’ll post more updates soon!
How about you? Do you have any pet adoption stories to tell? I’d love to know all about it 🙂