Friday, February 7, 2014

Dot, Dot, What a Girl I've Got!!

Hey Everybody!  Meet Dottie, the newest Emery family addition!  That blur in the background is her tail wagging furiously.  This happens pretty frequently these days, especially when she's frolicking like this.

But, Dottie didn't always frolic.  Truth is, when we found her at a shelter adoption fair here in Franklin, TN last October, Dottie was about as far from "playful" as any dog I've seen.

It was a cold, rainy Saturday.  The fair was sponsored by the Mars Corporation (makers of Pedigree products), and held in their corporate offices' parking lot.  Forty shelters from the area arrived, setting up crates filled with dogs and cats of all shapes and sizes.  Even Barbara Mandrell, country music legend, showed up to host the event (That's how we roll here in Nashville, y'all!).

The music was loud, the barking was loud, and the adoptees were overwhelmed.  Especially Dottie.  There she sat in her pen, cold, tired, terrified, and in no mood to "sell herself" to potential adopters.  She remained uninterested in being scratched and/or held, preferring to curl up in a ball and sleep in the corner of her pen.  Frankly, chances were pretty good that Dottie was headed back to her home at the Hickman County Humane Society that night.  To the right is a picture of her and her handler, trying desperately to convince us that she was the one for us.  Let's just say we were skeptical.

I remember looking at this poor, pathetic face, so detached, so uninterested in giving or receiving affection, and thinking about the major decision I had to make.  Dottie needed me. Nobody else was going to pick her, so I needed to do just that.  Alan was unsure, but, because he loves me so perfectly, said, "Go get her."

Dottie shivered the whole way home, and not because she was cold.  We brought her into the living room and showed her around.  To the left is Alan holding her just a few minutes after we arrived. Can't you just see the combination of terror and exhaustion on this dog's face?  A few minutes after this pic was taken, Alan brought her outside, hoping she'd do a little "eliminating."  She bolted.  Ran like the wind.  Lucky for us, Dottie was unsure of where to go, and ended up under my sister's car, trembling. We had to crawl on our bellies to grab her and drag her out.

The next day, I called the shelter handler and asked if she knew any of Dottie's history.  She said Dottie had been abandoned at the end of a woman's driveway when she was still a puppy.  That woman let Dottie live on her back porch for several months, until she decided it was all too much and surrendered her to the Humane Society.  There's a chance her Downes Syndrome child may have abused her, but no one knows for sure.  While at the shelter, Dottie tried to escape by climbing a fence, fell, broke her leg, and lost a toenail.  They believed her to be about 1.5 years old.  Dottie had a rough start, to say the least.

So, our work began.  We learned quickly that Dottie really liked belly rubs.  So we were constantly flipping her over and giving her a good scratch.  Soon, she began rolling over on her own as we'd walk by, then reveling in the rubbing she always received. I held her a lot those first several weeks, stroking her ears and kissing her head.  Very soon, she began to "lean in" to me.

Then came the naps.  Boy did she sleep!  She finally decided we weren't going to hurt her, so Dottie relaxed, let her guard down and went to sleep.  I think she slept for two weeks straight, waking only to eliminate and eat. Sometimes, like in the picture to the left, I'd find my slipper next to her, apparently placed there to accompany her nap.  I decided that was a good sign!

Slowly, ever so slowly, our playful little girl began to emerge.  Trips to the dog park, although at first tentative and unsure, soon brought our little girl sprinting with the big dogs, chasing balls and barking at birds.  Her toys are scattered all around the living room, brought out of their box and tossed in the air with glee.  Dottie has become an expert frolicker.

But, the other day something occurred to me as I watched her in full sprint alongside Dexter, the lab mix puppy who has become her favorite dog park buddy.  This sad little, detached terrier, who had physically and mentally given up all hope, is thriving.  But not because we fed her
anything special, provided her with some elaborate bed, or played with some fancy toy.  All we did was love her. That's it.  Dottie frolics, because she is loved.  Period.

And when you come right down to it, isn't that true for all of us?  All we need is love, my dears.  Well, love and maybe a really good belly rub once in a while...

Thanks for Reading!


Teresa Evangeline said...

What a wonderful surprise! So good to see your blog again in my reader ... and with this most beautiful story. What a blessed little gal she is ... as are you for her presence. The best stories on the planet are about dogs rescued and given loving homes...

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Joanie! I did a double take when I saw your blog in my stream. I could hardly believe my eyes. I can't tell you how many times I've thought about you over these many long months and wondered how you're feeling and doing. To borrow some of your words, I take your return to blogging as a good sign.

Bless you and Alan for choosing not to order a designer breed from a puppy mill. Instead, you gave your hearts and opened your home to the most wretched animal you could find at the fair. I applaud you for looking past the matted fur and sad expression and seeing Dottie's potential. "All you need is love," somebody once sang, I can't remember who. :) You invested love in Dottie and now you and she are reaping dividends. I am elated to read her story. Last summer, we needed to have our 14 year old Cocker Spaniel Toto put to sleep. I miss her every single day and to fill the void I have been "adopting" the dogs of my blog friends. I would love to follow Dottie's life through pictures on your blog anytime you would care to share them.

Welcome back to where your friends have been waiting, dear Joan. Please post again soon and until then have a wonderful weekend!

Mary Dickson said...

Joan I have nothing but respect for you! All you have been through personally and you take this dog that no one else wanted, because she was afraid of humans, and showed her how to love life. That is no easy feat with an animal that has only been neglected and knew nothing about how to play or be loved and safe! I believe she would not have made it if you hadn't decided to adopt her, most people want a dog that already has personality not one that shows no interest in anything or anybody because she didn't know how. You took her home worked with her countless hours and look at her now! She has a perfect personality has relaxed and found out how to love and be loved. I have a feeling she is going to be a lot of fun and bring a lot of happy memories. I know she is lucky you saw her possibilities and were willing to work your magic and spend the time it took to bring her out of that bad place and finally be able to find the peace that allows her to feel safe. I can't wait to hear and see all her Shenanigans. hehe

Louise Hookway said...

Joan, what a wonderfully written, true story. You and Alan and Dottie are awesome!

Ilan said...

Beautiful!! xoxoxo

ReformingGeek said...

I love it! Yes, she needed YOU.

Welcome back.

jel said...

woo hoo! glad too see ya posting again!

A GAL NEEDS... said...

Thanks for posting and welcome back!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Welcome Back!
Dottie is one lucky and happy puppy.
Nothing better than a dog I say! Talk about unconditional love. You can have the very worst day at work but when you come home to them they will make you smile!

Red Shoes said...

WOW!! You've blogged this year!!

I've missed you!!!



Anonymous said...

A gold star for you/family and a sweet caress for Dottie. I feel you rescued her just in time; I really do. Probably Dottie was scarred from her beginning. It is amazing what changes have come about. She's a beautiful little being.
I often wonder when all humanity will awaken to the fact that all creatures are alike in their emotional needs. I have four of the happiest "babies" in the world (including their 16 dirt-catching feet -sigh.

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