Today I took Scarlett and McKinley to Petco. As usual, she was leery of the automatic doors (two sets!) but we got in without too much trouble. She was timid and wary as I went back to get a new set of dog dishes (elevated for an aging McKinley neck).
I have a patter I use in public, a reassuring tone that goes something like this: “Everything is fine. See? McKinley is happy. No one will hurt you. Everything is fine. It’s okay. Doesn’t it smell good? Do you see a treat you’d like? You’re safe. Everything is fine…”
I ran into a lady who was a foster mother of a dog who was so tortured, emaciated, and abused that after a year he is barely getting to where Scarlett is. We talked about socialization and how critical it was if they were ever going to have a home.
Two girls – one a pre-teen and one probably in first grade – walked up and asked if they could pet Scarlett (McKinley was investigating treats). I explained she was very gentle, but very afraid, because she’d been hurt by people in the past. Maybe if they got down low and let her come to them they could pet her.
Those two little girls did exactly that. They got right down to her level and waited for her to check them out. She let them give her some pats and scratches and I thanked them for asking and for being so kind to a dog who was so afraid of being hurt. She never wagged her tail (that would have been too much to ask) but she did not flinch away.
This is the first time Scarlett has not run from children. Granted, she was right next to her Dog Mommy. But these sweet girls let her dictate the terms of their meeting. What great kids! I gave the parents a big smile and nod of approval. The other foster mother beamed. We had a bit of faith in humanity restored today.
Five minutes later, walking and sniffing and listening to me talking, Scarlett forgot to be afraid. We got the dog dishes and two new toys. She made it through the sliding doors okay, not thrilled, but not terribly fearful. The girls smiled and waved good-bye and I waved back.
She walked to the car and jumped into the back seat without having to be coaxed or lifted. Neat!
When we got home one of our neighbors with a foster walked up and said that her husband watches Scarlett every time we’re out and he cannot believe the changes in her. Her tail is up. She doesn’t run way from other dogs and people. She even wags her tail for others at times. She’s got all her fur now. She’s healing – body, mind, and soul.
She’s going to make some stay-at-home person a great velcro dog. She’s very much a one-person dog. She gets along with my sister, AJ, but after a minute she’s back next to me. I’m safety. I’m food. I’m water. I’m her world.
Scarlett will be available for adoption soon. She is such a kind and gentle soul. She deserves a wonderful home. Please contact the SPCA of East Texas if you are interested in adopting Scarlett. She is such a happy girl at heart.