Rejected – constantly and repeatedly rejected, this is what Kallie was for about three years. A typical Greek hound, abandoned when sick with leishmaniasis on the streets, she was rescued by ZEIL back in 2014.
I first say Kallie’s photo in the charity’s Facebook page. “She is an angel” they said. I had wanted to foster for quite some time. After I found my first rescue dog, Apollo, I realized how awesome it is to open you home for a dog that has nowhere to be placed. So, I made the call, and Kallie became my first foster dog. I would keep her for a month, until I left for summer vacation. That was the arrangement. What I didn’t know then was that this particular dog would become my greatest challenge.
Kallie’s rescue in 2014 was the beginning of an endless, tiring journey that appeared to be never ending . You see, apart from being sick and neglected, our “angel” suffered from a severe behavioral problem: separation anxiety.
For those of you who are not familiar with what this can actually mean, picture this: you leave the house, close the door behind you, and come back a few hours later to find the house trashed, the doors and wall scratched, pee and poop everywhere (her bed, your bed, the sofa, the floor), clothes and shoes torn apart, and the dog crying and screaming so loud that the neighbors call the police on you every other day.
Kallie was so anxious that when an attempt was made to crate train her, you would come back and find her bleeding, after having escaped from it, God knows how.
Within these three years, she kept going back and forth, from foster home to foster home (she has strayed with me three times). She was adopted twice, and of course returned, since they could simply not handle her (or wouldn’t). Her kind eyes and her cute little face made dozens of people call and ask to adopt her, and I was always the one responsible to drive her back and forth to foster home, adoptive homes, potential adoptive homes, adoption meetings, back and forth back and forth. An endless back and forth.
After she was returned from her second adoptive home, and since I could not take her back because I was fostering Billy at the time, she was placed in a small shelter for a few months. And while she appeared to be doing well at first, Kallie started falling into severe depression. By the summer of 2015, she had become a “living dead” – she would be let out of her kennel, pee, poop, and then stay staring at the horizon forever. Not wanting to play, not wanting to do anything at all. And as if this was not enough, her disease came back.
I keep going back at those months and thinking, I should have taken her from there sooner. Among fostering other dogs and planning my wedding, I hesitated. I just didn’t know if I could handle it. One day, in September 2015, I took her home and decided that she would only leave my place to go to her forever home. Nowhere else.
Fostering Kallie for all those months was my biggest commitment ever. For this post, I will just skip the part of how I handled her separation anxiety. Somehow, I did it, without a crate, and without knowing much about what exactly I was doing. And among the dozens of people that asked to adopt her, there was this one and only man who heard me describe her problem, including the worst details possible, and yet he said: “I don’t care, I don’t want a prefect dog. I want to try and work with her”.
And he did. And it worked. Kallie was re-introduced to the crate again, with the help of our amazing trainer who I can never thank enough. Even after Kallie trashed his house, destroyed all there was to destroy, after having the neighbors complain about her screaming for hours, after coming back home day after day to find doors and windows chewed, his bed peed on and the sofa pooped, Dionysis did not give up.
It’s been about two months now that Kallie sleeps in her crate, while Dionysis is at work. She sleeps on a pile of some of his old clothes, because she would destroy her beds. There is no crying, no chewing, no destroying, no anxiety, no problem.
I met with them last week, and I could barely recognize her. This is one of the dogs I have known so well, that I could even distinguish her smell among that of a million other dogs, and yet she was unrecognizable. She is as happy as she ever was, she obeys him more than she ever obeyed me, she adores him and he adores her back.
A photo of my fingers on Kallie’s paws has been my channel’s cover since forever. This is how important she was to me. I was planning to change the photo after her adoption, but I won’t. Kallie taught me that nothing is impossible, and that when you really want something, you’ll find a way to make it happen. This is the feeling I need to remember for my future as a rescuer. Looking at that photo used to remind me of my biggest loose end, now it only fills me with hope.