May 9th 2009 7:07 pm
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Adoption and what it means to me...
Adoption for me means trust and security, it means love and warmth. It means always having a home but remembering where I cam from and how far I have come. For me, adoption saved my life and gave me a new start. Adoption gave me a family.
But now I think I will pass the keyboard over to mom so she can tell my story.
I have told Raven’s story over and over again but I think it’s an important story to tell and a story that people can learn from and be inspired by.
Raven, her mother and her two siblings were dumped on a farm just outside of town. The ACO (Animal Control Officer) was not supposed to go outside city limits for but some reason in this case the police chief told him to go anyway. When he got there, the situation was not as easy as it seemed, the mom and pups were pretty much terrified and kept running away, the pups were chased down in a corn field and finally caught but the momma dog was never caught. This was all on a Friday afternoon and I came in to do kennels Friday night (I work at the shelter on Friday nights/Saturday mornings). Every single kennel was full and the pups were terrified. I vividly remember trying to pick Raven up to take her outside, she kept running from me in her kennel then freezing and she squealed in terror when I touched her. But as soon as I picked her up she stuck her head under my chin and was calm. I took her outside but she immediately hid from me behind a chair. I sat there and cried, it had been a long time since I cried at the shelter but I couldn't imagine what these pups had been through and how neglected and sheltered they must have been to be this scared. Normally I let all the dogs out twice but I decided to just leave the puppies in their kennels because it was too traumatic for them and hopefully they would be better in the morning.
I came in the next morning and there was a small amount of improvement in the pups but they still would rather run and hide from you. I couldn't stand the clumps of mud and burrs all over them so a volunteer and I cut them out, I was amazed at how calm and quiet they were and they allowed us to trim must of the mud balls out of their paws. By the end of the morning I had decided to take 2 of the pups home to open up some kennels and to help the pups feel more comfortable. The larger female picked on the littlest one so I took the male and the black female home.
I was so not prepared!! The pups hated collars and were afraid of leashes and I didn’t have a fenced in yard. So I ran to the store and bought some chicken wire and T-posts and created my own version of an X-pen for them. I named the boy Harley and the female Raven. Harley warmed up instantly and was a well adjusted boy, he also figured out how to get out of the home made X-pen after one or two tries! Raven barked at me the first few times I came into the laundry room where they were staying but soon she started to wiggle in happiness at the sight of me.
I let them adjust to collars and leashes and introduced them to the cat and toys (they were pretty sure the cat was a toy). After a long weekend I took Harley back to the shelter so that a family could fall in love with him. Raven stayed with me because I was convinced she needed more socialization and care.
Well, she never left. After a few weeks I realized there was no way I could let Raven go. I was the first human she ever trusted and she was pretty sure I made the sun rise and set. I called a trainer to help me with the transition of adding another dog to my household and she asked me why I wanted to keep Raven. At the time Raven was on her side in between my legs and looking up at me wanting me to protect her from the scary lady (the trainer) but also waiting for a belly rub. Raven 100% trusted me; I was her protector, provider, and her mom, there was no way I could let her go.
I signed the adoption papers a few days later.
I have never regretted that decision in the least. Raven is my joy, she was a piece of my soul that I didn’t even know I was missing. Even though she is over 2 now she is still my puppy girl, a constant wiggling delight. She makes me smile and laugh every day no matter what my mood is. We are connected more than I ever thought possible. I struggle to live life by her example and meet the world head on, wondering with anticipation, what’s next.
Our relationship and Raven’s adoption is based on trust. She trusted me and I couldn’t betray that trust and send her to a new home, our bond was too strong and ran too deeply. And because she trusted me I couldn’t let her down, I knew I would do whatever I needed too to keep her happy and healthy. When I signed my name and promised to be her forever home, I meant it. To me the promise of adoption is just and strong and eternal as our love for one another.
I saw a quote on Dogster once that I think sums things up perfectly... "Foster homes don't fail, they just make the right decision".
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