So often the more timid dogs and cats at our shelter are overlooked for adoption because they don't "show" well. It's not unusual for some of them to be here for over a year merely because they are shy when strangers approach. It's sad that many potential adopters don't understand the great stress these animals are under. Once they are taken out of their cages and get to spend some quiet, quality time with you it's amazing to see how they begin to blossom.
I wish more people would give the same opportunity to our more timid animals just like Lexi Docken, my guest blogger. Lexi is ten years old, in the fourth grade, and has also done some wonderful fundraising for the shelter. Here is Lexi's story. We can all learn from her words.
Shy to Hi; A true dog transformation story by Lexi Docken
I was at the Baltimore Humane Society BHS because I was looking for a warm and fuzzy body to take home with me. I was looking for a dog, one that was not big and looked like it needed some TLC. And there it was - just sitting in its cage looking at me as I walked by.
But something was odd. She, unlike most of the others, was not jumping up in a sense that signaled “Pick me! Pick me!” Instead she looked up at me with big brown eyes that still said the same thing. So I went over and looked in her cage. Still, she didn’t come over. So I got up and went to go look at the others dogs. I saw chihuahuas, dachshunds, and many more cute dogs, but yet, odd as it was, I could not get that little dog out of my head. And then, I was out of cages to look at and I hadn’t found any dogs that touched my heart. So I went back to the little dog that had been looking at me.
I read the note on her cage: Her name was Saffron, she was about 5 years old, she was a poodle mix, and that she was female. I pulled my mom over and said “Mommy! This one! Can we take her into the greeting room? Please?” She came over and looked at Saffron. She said “Well, she’s small so okay.” When we got into the room the attendant let Saffron off the leash. But the dog still stayed close to the lady. Even when I picked Saffron up and stroked her lightly, she squirmed out of my hands. I was so sad. But the lady comforted me by telling me that she would adjust and become a much more playful dog when she is taken home after a while.
I decided that I wanted her. We went into the main building and did all of the paperwork. They told us the whole “history” of Saffron. She had been a stray found in Tennessee, matted and covered in fleas and ticks. That also made me realize why she might be so shy of humans. It was a Monday and they had to make some calls (our references) and said that they would call on Tuesday to notify us about Saffron. And on Tuesday they did call! They said that they would be delighted for me to adopt Saffron and to come pick her up the next day.
That we did. We then took her to Pet Smart to get her groomed. After a few hours in our home, she suddenly realized that she was in a house and ran a few laps around as if to be saying “OMG, I’m in a house again!” We had renamed her Coconut. So I called out “Coconut!” And, as if she knew her name already, she came running towards me and into my arms. By the next week, we had gotten lots of toys and bones for her. She became so content in the house and you could tell how much she had changed.
In the next few weeks, she started to play with small stuffed toys. She was just so playful and joyful, that I could no longer remember the shy little dog that I once had seen. It has now been around three years and she is so energetic. She has obviously transformed from a shy little dog, to a confident, amiable, and playful dog. All she needed was some TLC and needed to realize that someone CAN love her again. This is going to be true for most dogs found in a shelter, so just give them a chance and as the saying goes, never judge a dog by its first appearance. I hope this true story has inspired you very much.