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Rescue Dog Update: Maybe this is as good as it gets?

February 24, 2019 6 Comments

Rescue Dog Update: Maybe this is as good as it gets?

Sophie made her way into my heart through an Instagram post, and I adopted her last October. 
I thought it was time for an update on my shy little dog.

The shelter named her, which made her all the more endearing to me, my little flapper girl. After I got her paperwork, I learned we shared a birthday; Universal proof that it was meant to be!
She's also the shyest, most frightened dog I've ever met in my life.

I wasn't fazed at first, we've adopted several dogs over the years. The rescue told me she was captured down south as a young stray. Who knows what she'd been through before she got to New York?
I was sure that with lot's of love and patience, she'd come around.

She's been with us about five months now, and I can't yet call her a lap dog, although that's what I'd imagined. Rescue Dog SophieShe steers clear of people, especially if anyone goes to touch her (including me). Sophie much prefers dogs over people, she seems to like them all. 

I first noticed this when I took her to her health certification appointment. Several of the dogs she'd been in the shelter with, were there, too. It was the first time I ever saw her wag her tail, and I felt encouraged.

But almost half a year later, she'll very tentatively accept pets from me, but she follows me around the house, and lays in her bed under my desk while I work.

Outside, she's happy to play with our older dog, and runs around like a lunatic. She has a good time running into Bella, over her and around her in circles, carrying huge sticks and making up her own silly games. But Sophie's still terrified of my husband, and men in general.

It breaks my heart to watch it, because he wants nothing more than for her to jump in his lap, or at least be happy to see him. Sophie want's nothing more than for him to stay at work longer. 

Her posture changes when it's about time for him to come home. She goes from bright and bouncy to low and skulking. It's so sad that I've wrestled with the idea of giving her back, insisting she be placed with women, only.  

But I know there's no guarantee for that as a permanent solution. And I don't want her to go through the acclimation period again. A friend told me it took their adopted dog nine years to form a bond with him. We're in this for the long-haul, but I pray it happens for us sooner than that!

In the meantime, I need to let go of the version of Sophie I imagined she'd be. I'm accepting her as she is. She's safe and well taken care of. I know she loves me, and I love her too.
Maybe she'll never be a cuddler? Maybe this is as good as it gets?
And if it is, then it'll have to be good enough. 




6 Responses

Valerie DeVito
Valerie DeVito

March 07, 2019

Hi Bob, Thanks for your comments! I know you’re right, she’s just not like any other dog I’ve ever had. I’m trying to be as patient as I can, and for the most part she’s ok with me. She’ll jump up on the side of my chair and give me some tail wags and kisses. Maybe she’ll get better with others, maybe she won’t, I just don’t know. We’ll have to see what unfolds!

Bob Arrigon
Bob Arrigon

March 07, 2019

Hi Val,

I was reading your update on Sophie and how shy and frightened she still is after five months at your home. I can fully understand why you want her to show more progress but we can never predict how long such a transformation will take. I don’t know if you recall my story about the Japanese Chin dog we adopted about six years ago after she was dumped and abandoned during a snow storm. When we first brought her home, she was absolutely terrified of everything – even us at first. But with patience and loving care, she did come around after a few months and fully embraced both of us. However, she was still terrified of other people and even other dogs. After six years, she is now very loving with us and less fearful of other people, although she still steers clear of them until she is sure they are OK and that Terri and I in effect vouch for them. However, to this day she is still terrified of children and wants nothing to do with them. Who knows what horrible experiences she had when she was a puppy. Obviously Yuki-onna did come around somewhat faster than your Sophie has. But dogs, like people, make progress at a different pace. The key, as you already well know, is patience and I know that you are doing a wonderful job at that. How long will it take for her to overcome all or at least most of her anxieties and fears? Who knows? Every adopted dog, like every adopted child, is different. But I believe it can in due time happen. And if it never does? As you so well said, you have still saved her and given her a wonderful home. And yes – she does love you – probably as much as you love her. As for not keeping her, I know that in your heart – for her sake and also for yours – you know that is not really an option. You have done a truly beautiful thing in giving her such a good life.

Valerie DeVito
Valerie DeVito

February 27, 2019

Aw, thanks JoAnn! I still hold out hope!!

JoAnn Bedell
JoAnn Bedell

February 27, 2019

You saved her life and she knows it! God bless you!

Valerie DeVito
Valerie DeVito

February 26, 2019

Thanks, Janet! I hope so <3

Janet L King
Janet L King

February 26, 2019

You’re good keeping her. She’ll come around in time. I’d bet on it.

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