Every dog deserves a good home. I believe that. But some dogs deserve a little bit more.
Abby, for instance.
Although she can’t tell us (and certainly she doesn’t seem to hold any of it against anyone), but she has had a rough go.
Overbred to the point where her nipples are permanently enlarged and misshapen, she undoubtedly has produced dozens of puppies. She was eventually abandoned and turned up as a stray in Webster County, West Virginia neglected, underweight, unwanted.
Early last spring, she was delivered to Saving Webster Dogs by the County Animal Control officer (which is what happens to every stray not destroyed by the county), where Rose made room for her in the overcrowded rescue. There were no available kennels, so she spent her time at SWD living on a chain, tied to a wooden dog house.
While on a tour for Who Will Let the Dogs Out, I met Abby early last June. She was the first dog we encountered after we tackled the challenging driveway. She greeted us with a big grin, a wagging tail, and the happy energy that only a pit bull can emanate. Clearly, she knew we’d arrived to change her life.
Two months later I returned to Saving Webster Dogs with a team of volunteers to spend a weekend doing all we could to improve the conditions for the nearly 100 dogs who lived there (here is a video about that weekend). Once again, Abby greeted us. She was still thin and her golden coat was bleached out. Her ears were crusted with scabs from a summer of bugs and sun. She had a long scar across her forehead and several on her side.
But her smile was wide and her tail on nonstop. All weekend, in the heat and the off and on rain, volunteers greeted Abby as they passed by. She brought smiles to every face, and was grateful for every touch, often collapsing to the ground (or the raised bed someone set out for her to get her out of the mud) for belly rubs. And always she offered her kisses.
Nick and I brought her home to foster, thanks to the sponsorship of the Humane Society of Shenandoah County. While they traffic mainly in cats, their director Melisa, didn’t hesitate to say yes when I asked if they would pull two pit bulls from West Virginia.
Abby’s ears and scars healed up, and as she gained weight and health, her coat turned to a pretty caramel color with brindle stripes.
In the two months she was with us, Abby greeted every single person at our house, in town, at wineries, at restaurants, out on walks, the same way she’d greeted me back in June. Happy to meet you and grateful for any attention you might bestow on her. Her only real fault was sometimes those greetings were overly enthusiastic and too often she could not resist offering nonstop kisses of gratitude.
This past weekend, we headed to Ithaca College in New York to visit our youngest child (who graduates this year – how did that happen?), and on the way we stopped to meet up with Abby’s potential adopter.
Steve and Marcia are good friends and neighbors from our former home in Pennsylvania. They’d followed Abby’s journey on this blog and my Facebook pages. Their former dog died about two years ago and since then they’d been dog-less. But Abby had piqued their curiosity. They wondered if she was the dog for them.
When Marcia first texted me inquiring about Abby I was beside myself with excitement. I knew that whatever dog Steve and Marcia brought home would be one lucky dog. Committed to rescue (they’ve been incredibly supportive of our work with Who Will Let the Dogs Out), smart, generous, loving souls, any dog of theirs would hit the lottery in terms of care, attention, and love.
And Abby deserves the best of homes because she has the best of hearts. Used, neglected, given the roughest of accommodations for her first three years, she still loves every soul she meets. Dogs are forgiving, but she’s forgiven more than most could.
Abby had a wonderful weekend with Marcia and Steve – enjoying their beautiful home, going for lunch at Panera, and snuggling through lazy mornings. I texted to ask if we should pick her up on the way home and Marcia said it wouldn’t be necessary. Later that afternoon, she texted me that she and Abby were making banana muffins.
On Monday Marcia and Steve made it official. Abby has a forever home! That news brought tears – of joy and gratitude. Not only has Abby landed in the kind of home she deserves, I will be able to keep tabs on her through dear friends who will always be a part of my life.
I asked Marcia what they would name Abby. Most adopters change a dog’s foster name, which is fine and expected. New life, new name.
Marcia told me that they have named her Abby because Abby has already had enough change in her life.
Until Each One Has a Home,
I am getting ready to leave on another Who Will Let the Dogs Out shelter tour in ten days. If you’d like to know more about the work we do and/or follow along on our tour to meet incredible dogs, amazing heroes, and learn about the challenge of rescue in the south, be sure to visit our website, sign up for our blog/newsletter, and follow us on your favorite social media platform. You can also watch our Emmy-nominated short documentary, Amber’s Halfway Home, a 30-minute film about rescue in western Tennessee.
For information on me, my writing, and books, visit CaraWrites.com.
If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.
If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.
I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of the pictures on my blog are taken by photographer Nancy Slattery. If you’d like to connect with Nancy to take gorgeous pictures of your pup (or your family), contact: email@example.com.