Shedding Her Fear

A thin, terrified two-year-old blue heeler was found wandering the streets of Phoenix, Arizona, one extremely hot summer day in 2014. She ended up in a local animal shelter, where she was soon put on the euthanasia list due to her "unfriendly" personality. No one came to claim her. But then some nice people with a local dog fostering nonprofit decided to take her out of the shelter and saved her from the euthanasia list. I had a 6-year-old border collie at the time (still have him), and he was home alone regularly, which tore me up with dog-mom guilt. I decided he needed a pal, so I started searching online. I came across this blue heeler and was immediately struck by how sweet she looked. I brought her home and quickly discovered whoever had "owned" her previously had abused her. When I'd lift my arm up to take something out of a kitchen cabinet, she'd shrivel in fear onto the floor and wet herself. She'd cry and hide in the closet from even the slightest noise or quick movement. It broke my heart to see her so afraid. This went on for a couple of weeks, when I decided she and I needed to have a heart-to-heart. One night we sat down on the floor together, I gently stroked her head, and I told her, "Abby, (the name I chose for her), you will never be hurt again. You will never be starved, neglected, yelled at or struck. I will love you forever. You are part of this family now. I want you to be Happy Abby." She looked at me I swear, she understood. Ever since that talk, she's become a completely different dog. She plays, chases her Border Collie brother around the house, sits by my side, and best of all, when we go to bed, she puts her head by mine, stretches her arm out across my chest, and snores in my ear. Abby is a great, brilliant, delightful dog who will always have a happy, safe home. I'm so glad she decided to adopt me.
Elizabeth Baker
Mesa, AZ