A simple touch – Little George
A shelter is not always the easiest place to work. Nevertheless, I feel it is where I feel most able to make a difference. There are plenty of heartaches, but I seem to have a knack for calming and comforting the frightened animals, and that makes me feel good.
I became involved with Lil George, a beautiful, little Jack Russel blend, when I started working at Dogtown. I went to the fence to say hello, but his fierce barking and the look in his eyes stopped me in my tracks. He captured my attention, and I kept on wondering what his story was, and when I heard how many things he had to endure in his whole existence so far, I couldn’t stay away from this little “terror.” I was told to ignore him because he will bite when he feels threatened, and he will do damage 🙁
I shed many tears for this fearful, and therefore “mean” little dog. Whenever I would go in to feed him, he would run away, afraid. Approaching him was not an option…….
Touching him……. OUT OF THE QUESTION!
The next few months I spent every morning playing ball with him (which he loves!). Then I would sit down and tried to make myself “smaller” to be not so threatening to him. Soon he became comfortable with me just sitting there – no reaching for him or any other movement that would scare him away. I made it my mission to make him trust me enough for me to touch him.
Then one day, many weeks later, I sat with him, not paying much attention to him walking around me and sniffing me. If I moved, he would basically run away and then come back again. Something was different that day. He kept on leaning against my leg, and I thought: “This is it. He really wants you to touch him!.” Of course I was not sure!
It’s Lil George after all! But he kept on doing it, and after many arguments with myself, I did it! I TOUCHED LIL GEORGE!!!
I went something like this ….. I extended my hand slowly and slightly, very slightly, brushed his side. He didn’t run away! He stood and waited for more! I couldn’t believe my luck and wanted to cry! It felt amazing! Undescribable! I longed for so long to do it! I am talking years now! And now, just so unexpectedly, he’d let me! It ‘s hard when animals are scared, and you are unable to help them feel better. Now everyone can understand my ecstatic joy that day!
Nowadays, me and Lil George still have regular “touch.” sessions. He will come and lean against me, and I will know it is his cue: “Please pet me!” We have an understanding, and our love for each other runs deep. I don’t see him as broken anymore. He simply experienced more life than other dogs. If he were human, I would call him wise. He would be the one with tales to tell and stories to write. He was the one who was dealt a bad hand, but he responded with courage.
I know he won’t be a social butterfly soon, or maybe never, but there is always hope, and he is worthy…..just as any other dog. It may not be the life of dog parks and house parties, but it can be a wonderful life, nonetheless!
By Susan, Caregiver