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The Unlovely Truth

The Unlovely Truth

The Unlovely Truth

The day after Mabel came to stay with me for her trial week, I put her in the crate I borrowed from her foster mom with a treat-stuffed toy and went downstairs for a minute. The blood-curdling screams and violent thrashing that came out of my now-adopted sweet dog tore my soul to shreds. 

As I sat on the floor with Mabel, rubbing her side, her heart racing, I thought, “She successfully spent hours a day, periodically, in this crate in her foster home. Mabel and I practiced fun in-and-out games and super-short durations, with me shutting the door while I stood beside her and then further away. She’s super food-motivated.

Can I do this again with a dog I just met?”

I knew in my heart I wasn’t giving up on Mabel, but as she and I navigated those first few months together, there were times I had to dig deep to find the strength to help her best. In between silly moments when Mabel flopped on top of me for snuggles or me giggling when she grabbed and squeaked and squeaked and squeaked toys to invite me to play were also moments where I felt terrible because she fiercely, with her whole body, stress reversed sneezed at the end of a walk in our neighborhood after weeks of strutting along just fine. 

I wondered who Mabel was (and what she was capable of) as I tossed treats when I walked by her, and she had toys, treats, or a bone. I mentally re-grouped when I wasn’t sure if a growl over a toy was a blip or a sign of more serious behavioral issues. I questioned doing yoga with Mabel in the same room whenever she became bored of the four options I gave her and nabbed my ponytail or ear. 

Then I scrolled on social media and saw dogs who looked like they instantly settled in, and every moment after they’ve been rescued is dreamy, heart-filling, and easy on the dog(s) and human(s).

Please, let’s remind ourselves and everyone we know that there are bumps. And, if we’re not ready to help any dog (rescue or from a reputable breeder) through hurdles, health issues, and behavioral blips, then we should wait. Let’s scream, far and wide, that the dog living in a rural environment with another dog who’s cohabited with countless other dogs may not want to greet dogs on walks and may need us to get creative on where we exercise them. And, let’s keep our comments to rescue and shelter workers and volunteers, people in the ring, fighting every day to help the helpless to “thank you and I’m sorry.”

Our shelter and rescue friends are doing work many of our hearts couldn’t handle, and they deserve our support in a broken system that’s not their problem but a humanity issue. One way we’re helping is with our Shelter & Rescue Affiliate Partnership. Email treats@barkpouch.com if you’re interested in learning more. If we all do a little something, maybe, just maybe, we’ll make the world better.

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