Shasta’s Long Journey Home

My human dad raised me from a puppy. He loved me and I brought joy to his golden years. He was old and old school, and believed that dogs should be kept outside. So the yard was my world. My whole world.

I didn’t know anything different. I had everything I needed – until the day he was no longer there to care for me. Before he left this world, he needed to know that I was safe. So I was sent to Homeward Bound.

My world had been turned upside down and I had no idea why. You can see the look of sadness and terror in my face those first few days.

It was the first time that I slept inside. The yards are big, but my room was small. And I shared the dorm with other dogs. I knew nothing about other dogs and they scared me. So they would not sense my fear, I went on the offense. Loudly and ferociously.

I knew nothing of leashes and walks, so I pulled and tugged. When I came upon other dogs, or birds, or bunnies – I tried desperately to chase them. They called it prey drive. Apparently, it is not a desirable trait. All I wanted was to be with my human again in the safety of my small yard.

My first evaluation read like a horror story. So I was assigned homework. I don’t know if you believe in visitations, but I swear that my dad came to me one night in my dreams. He asked me to do one thing: try.

I worked very hard at becoming calm in the kennel. I became better at walking. And I worked on being less overbearing toward by dorm mates – inside and out. I was still running the fences with the dogs in the next yard, but now it was a game, not a threat.

I was sent for overnights, then weekends, and even weeks. They called it “foster.” It means a try-out. And I did great.

I jumped a fence and found myself with two other dogs and do you know what happened? Nothing. I did nothing.

I literally looked like a different dog.

I got adopted once; and returned. I was still too much dog, they said.

I saw dogs come and go. And come and go.

What I needed were humans who understood the heart of a dog who was most comfortable in a small world. A homebody who was happy with a homebody dog. Someone who could love me as I was – not the way they wished I would be. When I found them, I would give them my heart.

It took 266 days.

My name is Shasta and I am home.

I live inside.

I have a bed, a small, comfortable yard to call my own, and a special window to watch over it when I am not playing in it.

I have people who love me. They want to try to introduce me to some dog friends, but they are not in any hurry. Maybe when some time has passed and I have my confidence back. Or maybe never. They don’t care. They like me for me.

I hope my dad can see that I am OK now.

It was a long journey, but I am safe and I am loved. All I had to do was try.

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

15 thoughts on “Shasta’s Long Journey Home”

  1. Shasta–I think your dad is smiling in the knowledge that good things come to those who wait. I am sorry you had to wait so long, but it seems you (and your people) did great. Enjoy your new home.

  2. Such a wonderful way to see the story of this sweet girl, thank you for telling it so beautifully! Happy Life Shasta….

  3. Thank you Audrey. Her story makes cry to think about her trials and tears of joy to see her go home. Happy life sweet girl!

  4. Oh, such a beautiful first post for me to open today! Thank you for sharing Shasta’s story – I’m so glad she’s finally in her new home and getting to enjoy her life! ❤

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