When I started volunteering at the ACCT shelter in Philly, I never thought I’d end up taking one of the dogs home. Everyone who knew me assumed my first day there would result in a new critter running around my house with my resident Schipperke, Jetta. They were wrong.
It took a month.
I met China (now Raven) this past Saturday while volunteering, and immediately fell in love. (Raven is a black Laborador/Shepherd mix, approximately 50 pounds). She sat in her kennel, shaking like a leaf, while I tried to give her treats. No luck. Eventually I coaxed her into coming outside with me, where after just a few minutes of gentle petting she warmed up to me and was nuzzling my hand for more pets. She was calm, composed, and very relaxed once she was out of the loud shelter. A male dog even attempted to pee on her but she took it like a lady and maturely walked away. Only girl I know who would react like that!
Monday at work, I couldn’t get Raven out of my head. I remembered how even a handful of chicken couldn’t persuade her back into her kennel that day, and how I had to physically lift her inside. I visualized the sad look in her eyes when she realized she was stuck in there again. She was in a home previously, and was cruelly brought to a shelter when her owner moved and couldn’t bring her with him. Why didn’t he move to a dog-friendly place? you might ask. To which I would respond: Good question.
As soon as I left work Monday, my boyfriend and I headed to the shelter with Jetta in tow. When Raven walked outside, I fell in love with her all over again. The dog meet went really well, with plenty of butt-sniffing and a nice walk with both dogs. Soon after, we were on our way home with Raven and Jetta.
After a leisurely walk, a good meal, tons of treats, and lots of fresh water, Raven took a long nap. She was obviously exhuasted from the kennel and the drive home. When she woke up, her tail was wagging excitedly, her eyes were bright, and she was trying as hard as she could to convince Jetta to be friends with her. Jetta is having none of it — yet. I have hope that she’ll come around.
Raven slept on a blanket beside my bed the past two nights, curling herself into a little ball. I kept waking up and turning on the light so I could just look at her, and know that she was safe and out of the kennel she hated so much.
This is easily one of the calmest dogs I’ve ever met. She’s sweet, affectionate, and serene. I know that when Raven finds her forever home, it will be a very sad day, but I’ll be happy that she found someone who will take care of her for the rest of her life, and give her the comfort of knowing that she’ll never be abandoned again.
Does this mean I might have to stay home when I was planning to go out? Yes.
Does it mean I might have to spend more money on treats and toys? Yes.
Will I ever regret this decision? No.
When I think about the fact that taking Raven home potentially saved her life and opened a spot for another dog in need, the sacrifices I’ll have to make are insignificant in comparison. If you have the means to take a dog in temporarily, do it! It’s very fulfilling to know you’re the reason a dog is sleeping on a warm blanket rather than a cold floor, and that you’re the reason she’ll wake up feeling loved rather than lonely.
Be sure to check out Raven’s picture slideshow (left). Interested in meeting Raven? Email me!
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