Transformation from being a sick, emaciated, ugly creature to a beautiful, healthy animal is easy. Medication and good food do that. But turning a wild, unsocialized animal to a pet dog, takes patience, persistence, determination and above all, it takes for one person to decide the unthinkable and say: “I’ll take it home”
Shadow’s rescue video
Shadow was rescued about two months ago. Removing her from that field where she lived nearly moribund and alone, feeding off corpses was a three-day task. She wouldn’t let us go near her, she wouldn’t even give up, even after she was sedated, she did her best trying to break free from the leash. We could have easily been bitten, if we weren’t too cautious.
Although it appeared to be mange that made her look that way, it was only leishmaniasis – the cause of her stone-like appearance, the ulcers and the weight loss was this Mediterranean disease caused by sandfly bites. She remained at the clinic for about ten days, but that didn’t do her any good.
Rescue dogs like Shadow are like a time bomb, and there are only two options – you either disarm it, or it blows up. If treated the wrong way, Shadow could have become an aggressive, anti social dog, and in order for her to be tamed, trained and socialized properly, a good foster home was needed.
There are very few people in the world who would take into their homes a dog like her. Apart from the horrific smell coming out of that open wound, that was her body and the fact that she was not house trained, Shadow was a dog that we had no way of knowing how she would react to…anything. She had never bitten anyone so far, but she could have, if we weren’t as careful.
It’s not that Zaira, who decided to foster her was not afraid. She was. But she had the guts to accept the challenge, and the results were more than amazing. I won’t go into details. In a nutshell, Zaira had to turn her whole life around, house train her, teach her how to walk on a leash, change her routine and her home, crate train her, be as consistent and as patient and possible. And above all, she had to prevent Shadow from even considering that biting was an option – and that is not easy.
It took about a month and a half to turn Shadow into the happy, social dog I saw today. Shadow spends her days resting in her crate, taking walks around the neighborhood, playing (well, trying to) with other dogs at the dog park and the two cats she lives with and living the life of a pet dog – a life she had no idea even existed. It took two months, hardcore patience and consistency to the point of OCD. Zaira followed out trainer’s instructions to the letter and Shadow followed Zaira, who she grew to trust and love.
She is still a bit reluctant when meeting new people, but who can blame her? She is a house trained, easygoing dog, with a serene curiosity about this new life she was recently introduced to. And since comments like: “She loves you, you should keep her” come and go every time, let me answer before such thing is even mentioned. Rescuers and foster parents are not here to adopt every dog they save. They are here only to give a push towards the right direction, and then focus on the next dog in need that comes along.
Zaira is a very dedicated foster mum, who saw dogs like Jade, Bella, Mel (and many others that never went as viral) come and go. She is as passionate about fostering as she is about letting go, and this is what makes her very good at what she does. So no, she has no intention of keeping Shadow, because she knows that there are very few foster homes out there for too many dogs in need.
Shadow is almost ready for her forever home. She was rescued by SPAZ, and if you wish to adopt her, you can email the charity at: email@example.com or message their Facebook page. Donations are more than welcome (PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(*Yes, there will a new video of her!)