Look at those eyes. Soulful, huh? And those cropped ears. Both features tell the tale of a hard life full of pain and sadness. Yet this sweet girl, Catherine, was always so sweet and outgoing. She didn’t let the fact that she was passed around from owner to owner, dumped at the shelter, unable to find her forever home, and goodness knows what else stop her from giving up. This is why shelter dogs are the best. They are resilient. They endure terrible, heartbreaking circumstances and yet they continue to overcome. And they never stop sharing their love. Most humans I know are incapable of doing this. For me, shelter dogs represent and embody true love. I never grew up with dogs or spent time near them, and honestly, at times I preferred not to be near them. I mean, the drooling and barking and jumping on me – no thanks. But after working at shelters and observing these dogs firsthand, I immediately fell deep into love with their personalities and their stories. I saw them as furry little people, each with their own quirks, likes, dislikes, needs, strengths, and weaknesses. And the fact that they were shelter dogs as opposed to coming from a puppy mill or breeder, just amplified these endearing qualities and made me love them even more.
This is Horatio, one of the shelter dogs that I fostered for a couple weeks. He was so skinny when I first saw him. And as the weeks went by, I noticed that he wasn’t gaining any weight. In fact, it didn’t look like he was eating at all. I decided to bring him home and see if he gained weight. And he did! And my two female pitties absolutely adored him. The first night I brought him home, I had to lift him onto the bed because he was too terrified to move, and my other foster dog, Pretty Girl, started rolling around and stretching out next to him to try to impress him. It was amazing to see her react that way because Pretty Girl came from a bad situation too and was very introverted, yet she connected with Horatio and he brought out the best in her. Poor Horatio was probably the most scared dog I’ve ever met. He was scared to go into my yard to use the bathroom. I’d have to walk him out on a leash, and then he’d be scared to come back in. I don’t know anything about his history, except that my shelter rescued him off the kill list at the city shelter. I’ve always wondered what horrendous things must have happened to him to make him so petrified. He flinched every time I came near him, even to pet him. And yet Horatio was always a gentle creature.