A little girl, some four or five years old, did not know life beyond the foster home. She liked the foster home alright. The caregivers treated her as one of their own. She was cared for; she was given books, toys and even hair clips. But there was something missing – a home to call her ‘own’. From time-to-time, people came to meet her. On such days, the girl wore her favourite dress and was full of hope. She would even pack her toys, books, hair clips and other knickknacks in a squarish tiffin box. ‘You never know, I might go home today’, she would tell the caregivers. Little did she realise that her age was being cited as an obstacle. But the girl was not giving up hope.
Then came a Sunday, cloudy, gloomy, and rain would start pouring anytime. The foster home was not expecting any visitors. The children were in a typical rainy-day mood. Towards mid-day, the little girl was asked to come out to the lounge area to meet someone. She reluctantly got out of bed and walked lazily in her pajama. Had she known what would follow, she would have put on her favourite yellow frock and matching hair clips. But that day all that mattered to the little girl and her forever parents was to find each other.
Are you wondering why 230 words on the adoption of a human child (with no intentional bearing with any real-life incidents) on a dog blog? Please stay with me for the next 250 words…I promise this will be worth your time.
Our five-year-old neighbour doggo Thor has a similar second chance story. Probably ill-treated at a tender age, Thor was quickly branded ‘difficult’, only fit to be in the kennel. He was afraid of almost everything – loud noise, sudden movements, humans. For the first two years of his life, Thor kept going from one foster home to another, only to be given back within a couple of days. He was not aggressive or ill-tempered, but only too scared. He would refuse to come out of his crate to even do his business. At a certain point, the kennel gave up hope on Thor’s rehoming.
Until a couple was willing to give Thor a second chance at life. Braced for the challenge, they decided to foster Thor. The first challenge was to bring him out of the car when they arrived home. Thor was petrified of the new surrounding and refused to step off the car. He stayed in his crate for four days. A few days, lots of love, patience and positive reinforcement later, Thor began to slowly trust his humans and felt comfortable in his forever home.
Read another #secondchancedog story
“Thor has been with us for three years. It took him two years to even come near the X-Mas tree. There were days when I would switch on the vacuum cleaner or the washing machine without needing to use them, only to help Thor overcome his fear of loud noise. Even today, he gets nervous in new surroundings, but every day is progress. Now he comes to the balcony on his own,” Thor’s human tells us. (265 words, not bad 😉)
For those who are willing to give shelter dogs a second chance, Thor’s human has shared some learnings:
- Be prepared for the long haul, because a shelter dog might have had a difficult past that makes them wary, but they bloom with patience, love and trust.
- Do not try to comfort or pet your dog when he is afraid. Unknowingly, you may be reaffirming their fear.
- Be open to engaging with a trainer who follows positive reinforcement methods.
Thor lives in Dubai with his humans Sapphire and Raydon.