Friday, February 7, 2014
But, Dottie didn't always frolic. Truth is, when we found her at a shelter adoption fair here in Franklin, TN last October, Dottie was about as far from "playful" as any dog I've seen.
It was a cold, rainy Saturday. The fair was sponsored by the Mars Corporation (makers of Pedigree products), and held in their corporate offices' parking lot. Forty shelters from the area arrived, setting up crates filled with dogs and cats of all shapes and sizes. Even Barbara Mandrell, country music legend, showed up to host the event (That's how we roll here in Nashville, y'all!).
The music was loud, the barking was loud, and the adoptees were overwhelmed. Especially Dottie. There she sat in her pen, cold, tired, terrified, and in no mood to "sell herself" to potential adopters. She remained uninterested in being scratched and/or held, preferring to curl up in a ball and sleep in the corner of her pen. Frankly, chances were pretty good that Dottie was headed back to her home at the Hickman County Humane Society that night. To the right is a picture of her and her handler, trying desperately to convince us that she was the one for us. Let's just say we were skeptical.
I remember looking at this poor, pathetic face, so detached, so uninterested in giving or receiving affection, and thinking about the major decision I had to make. Dottie needed me. Nobody else was going to pick her, so I needed to do just that. Alan was unsure, but, because he loves me so perfectly, said, "Go get her."
The next day, I called the shelter handler and asked if she knew any of Dottie's history. She said Dottie had been abandoned at the end of a woman's driveway when she was still a puppy. That woman let Dottie live on her back porch for several months, until she decided it was all too much and surrendered her to the Humane Society. There's a chance her Downes Syndrome child may have abused her, but no one knows for sure. While at the shelter, Dottie tried to escape by climbing a fence, fell, broke her leg, and lost a toenail. They believed her to be about 1.5 years old. Dottie had a rough start, to say the least.
So, our work began. We learned quickly that Dottie really liked belly rubs. So we were constantly flipping her over and giving her a good scratch. Soon, she began rolling over on her own as we'd walk by, then reveling in the rubbing she always received. I held her a lot those first several weeks, stroking her ears and kissing her head. Very soon, she began to "lean in" to me.
Then came the naps. Boy did she sleep! She finally decided we weren't going to hurt her, so Dottie relaxed, let her guard down and went to sleep. I think she slept for two weeks straight, waking only to eliminate and eat. Sometimes, like in the picture to the left, I'd find my slipper next to her, apparently placed there to accompany her nap. I decided that was a good sign!
Slowly, ever so slowly, our playful little girl began to emerge. Trips to the dog park, although at first tentative and unsure, soon brought our little girl sprinting with the big dogs, chasing balls and barking at birds. Her toys are scattered all around the living room, brought out of their box and tossed in the air with glee. Dottie has become an expert frolicker.
But, the other day something occurred to me as I watched her in full sprint alongside Dexter, the lab mix puppy who has become her favorite dog park buddy. This sad little, detached terrier, who had physically and mentally given up all hope, is thriving. But not because we fed her
And when you come right down to it, isn't that true for all of us? All we need is love, my dears. Well, love and maybe a really good belly rub once in a while...
Thanks for Reading!
- Anything Fits A Naked Man
- Nashville, TN, United States
- Welcome to my blog! I'm Joan, a former actress attempting to reconnect with my first love of writing. Join me as I ponder my Irish dad, sweet grandma, GPS dependency, hatred of the Hallmark channel, and other insightful topics that make you go, "Hmmm..."
- ► 2010 (87)