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.