April 24th 2010 3:59 am
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Amy had spent her entire life in a little cage in a puppy mill barn, having many, many puppies. We don't know how old she was when the people running the mill decided she was no longer of any use to them and turned her over to rescue. They said she was 5, but who knows how many years she really spent in that dark, stifling barn. The day we got her out of there, she was pure pink from lack of sunlight and squinted terribly because everything was so bright to her after being in the dark for so long. She was afraid of everything, having never experienced kindness from humans before. She was so afraid on the day that we transported her to her foster home that she just sat in my lap staring straight ahead. She would not interact with me at all. When we got to the location where we were to meet her foster mom, I sat holding her, trying to think of a way to give her some comfort. I started to sing very softly to her. She did not react at all, but I felt that maybe it would help her relax just a little bit. I had never done that with any of the other rescue dogs before, but I was desperate to console the tiny little dog with the huge liquid eyes who sat quivering in my arms.
I couldn't stop thinking about Amy after handing her over to her foster mom, and after a couple of months, we decided we wanted to adopt her. When she first came to our house, she had no idea how to play and was stressed by the change in her new life. She would hide behind the furniture, or sit all alone in her little bed with her back to us. She did not want anything to do with humans, since every one she had encountered in the past had been mean to her. But she loved our other 2 dogs, and especially our other Crested. She would watch everything that Tiki did, and tried very hard to copy her, wanting so badly to learn and fit in with her new environment. I tried to teach her play with toys, but she did not understand the concept. When we tried to give her treats, she was scared of our hands and would run away. But slowly, with each day that passed, she started to open up. One day, I tried my usual effort to get her to play, and on this day she grabbed the toy with abandon and played for an hour. It was such a triumphant step in her journey. Toys became her replacement for all the puppies she had parted with in her life. We bought her one that we felt most resembled her puppies, and she carried it around in her mouth for weeks, crying hysterically, mourning all the little ones she had loved and lost. Her puppies were probably her only joy in the mill, and she had had them all taken from her. After those few weeks, she set her baby down and got past the grief. She had worked it out for herself.
After a couple of months, Amy no longer dropped to the floor when someone approached her. She no longer crawled when we put her leash on. She no longer ran away when we tried to give her treats. Now, she would come flying into the kitchen, come to a screeching skid, then stand on her hind feet and run as fast as she could to me to get her beloved treats. We went to the ocean, and she ran on the beach, waded in the water, chased the seagulls at full speed. She would greet every person she met on our walks, and would be sad if anyone did not stop and say hello and give her a pat on her little head.
One day as I was sitting holding her, I started to sing the song that I had sung to her those many months before, on the transport away from the terrible, scary barn. All of a sudden, Amy turned and looked up at me and her eyes grew very wide with wonder. Her tail started to wag, and I knew without a doubt that she was remembering that day in the past when her happy life began and she suddenly knew that it had been me that rescued her that day. She was shell-shocked then, unable to interact with me, but she had carried that song in her heart as she started healing. That little bit of kindness had stayed with her and meant so much to a scared little dog. She remembered.
I had done rescue for years, but after adopting Amy, I wanted to do more, make a bigger difference for all the scared little dogs that are still waiting for their chance at happiness. My husband and I decided to start our own Chinese Crested Rescue group. Two years ago, Bare Paws Rescue was born, and Amy is our ambassador. She is our mascot, our reason for doing what we do. If there were no rescues, Amy and all of the countless others would never get out of their desperate situations. They would never know joy and love. Every dog should be treasured and treated with kindness and compassion. To see Amy transformed from a terrified, quivering dog to a prancing, outgoing girl is the most heartwarming experience there is.
Amy is kind, and caring, and trusting. After all she had been through in her life, after all of the abuse and fear, she still wanted to love and be loved.
Dogs have that wonderful capacity to forgive. She still, to this day, has nightmares and wakes us with her screaming, but as time goes on, they are much less frequent. I wake her up and tell her she is safe, she is home with us, her family. She should never have had to experience things that still haunt her in her sleep. I wish for her that all her dreams are of running in the grass, chasing the gulls, playing with her toys, being held and kissed and adored. I wish for her, and all dogs, to have a song in their heart that they carry with them. Please rescue your next dog, or volunteer, or donate-make a difference in the life of a special little one. There are millions of dogs waiting, hoping for their turn to know joy.
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Dear Amy and family. I just read your entry after seeing that you had won the Adopt 2010 contest, and I'm sitting here crying. Your story touched me to the core, sweetheart. I'm so happy for you in your wonderful new life, and so very very happy that you won this contest. With love from me and my Mummy in Perth, Australia xoxoxoxoxoxo
What a wonderful story about a sweet little girl. We are so happy for you that you have such a loving, furever home :)
AMy we just read the story u posted for the contest, it was amazing, i am so glad u found ur true home.
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