When my new foster animal, Patrick, came to live with us in the fall, we’d already been told his sad history. He’d been abused, badly neglected and, ultimately abandoned in an empty house, to be discovered frightened and hungry
a few days later by animal control.
Everything else, we’d have to find out for ourselves. Was he housebroken? Thankfully, yes (adding another dog was a big negotiation with my partner and one that was not housebroken was not going to sweeten the deal). Would he be happy riding in the car? Patrick was sublimely happy to sit quietly in the backseat of all types of automobiles. Would he be a good, non-finicky eater? After years of deprivation, he ate everything put in front of him and then would attempt to eat the other dogs’ food too.
Would he love to play? PLAY??????? My new, still fearful, distrustful but beautiful friend had no idea what a toy was
or what to do with it. And so I began.
Sitting on the floor, tossing a stuffed toy to a dog who sits motionless and staring does make one feel foolish. Getting down on all fours and smacking the floor while making goofy noises goes beyond silly and all the way to absurd. My other dogs would go crazy in the next room just listening to me, but Patrick just sat and stared
I kept at it. Day after day, week after week. And still he sat staring.
Then that Christmas, we came back from Midnight Mass to find a soft, blue stuffed dog toy in the middle of the family room floor
. There was torn wrapping paper all around it. Hmm, someone had started opening presents without us. Patrick, who greeted us with a peculiar look, was the only dog in that room near the Christmas tree when we left.
I picked up the toy and tossed it. Patrick went and got it, shook it a bit, then brought it to me. I threw it again. He got it again. We had reached a milestone. Patrick began to trust
Patrick and I attended a Petco adoption event the next weekend and he was adopted by a young couple who said he was just what they were looking for in a dog. I still get Christmas cards from them every year.
And always at this time of year, I remember the best Christmas present I ever received. I remember the torn wrapping paper, the blue toy in the middle of the floor and the gift of a dog who finally decided to trust
And we trust you. We trust you will help us help thousands of adoption groups hoping to gain the trust of dogs and cats that have lost their homes, their health and their hope.
Together we can make these holidays the best ever for animals in need.
Paul E. Jolly
Executive Director - Petco Foundation
You make the impossible possible
. You are their HOPE.