Home > Animal Rescue, Daisy, Pet Adoption, Puppy Mills > How Daisy Came to Stay With Me (a look back)

How Daisy Came to Stay With Me (a look back)

IMG_6216Today I am going to do something a little different and share an old blog post from Daisy’s blog, “Daisy the Wonder Dog (and how she found her inner Lab)“.

I don’t write on her blog much anymore, two blogs just became too much to manage, but I still treasure the words I wrote then because they remind me of how far Daisy has come since she first came to live with me as a foster dog in November 2007. I hope you don’t mind me sharing.

I first wrote this back on October 14, 2008, almost one year after I first adopted Daisy. 

I always like to share the story of how my dog Daisy came to live with me.

 When I first met Daisy, she was swollen with milk, having just weaned her puppies, and very, very scared. This would be her last litter (one of the many she’s had over the past 4 years).

Daisy, a yellow Labrador Retriever, had been brought to our shelter (the one I volunteer at) by a service organization. They had gotten her from a puppy mill – pregnant and scared. They cared for her during her pregnancy and after the birth of her puppies. Luckily for the puppies, the group had decided to keep them to be trained as service dogs, but for Daisy this was not even a possibility. She was too terrified, and often just curled up into a ball waiting for something awful to happen to her. You see, Daisy was puppy mill breeding dog, everything bad had happened to her up until this point.

When I first met her on that day at the shelter, she was sitting at the back of her kennel – terrified and alone. She cowered in my presence and refused to make eye contact. When I raised my hand to unlock the kennel door, she went straight to the ground, crouching in fear, and froze. It was easy to get the leash on her, but getting her to walk to the door to go outside was a slow process and required slow movements.

I walked her, with much difficulty, around the shelter property. She was so scared that she mostly walked low, slunk to the ground, and would freeze at any sound – or if I made any sudden movements. I avoided talking to her; hoping it would calm her.  It didn’t.  After a short walk, I sat down on the parking lot curb outside and waited to see what she would do. Her whole body language conveyed fear and distrust – averted eyes, lowered head and body, frozen body posture, and her back kept towards me at all times. She was telling me she did not trust me, and I didn’t blame her at all given her history.

 I let her be for a moment as I remained seated and gave her some time to adjust to my presence. She never did. She allowed me to pet her, but I think that was only because she was too scared to move. My heart broke for her. I think I knew then that somehow this dog and I were going to be connected.

I already had a wonderful older dog (Aspen) at home whom I adopted about 7 months previously. Aspen had several health issues and took a lot of time and care, but I knew that I couldn’t leave this dog behind. I was afraid that she would never make it to the adoption floor given her extreme fear and lack of socialization. I also knew that I couldn’t really adopt her. But I knew one thing, somehow I was going to make sure this dog had a fighting chance. “Perhaps I could become her foster mom” I thought, “Maybe I could help her to become an adoptable dog.” It would mean taking on even more responsibility (adding another dog to my life), but I think in that moment I had already decided to give it a try. If ever there was ever a dog that needed a chance it was this extremely fearful Lab. Maybe with a little time and patience, she could be adoptable I thought.

And so, Daisy came to live (as a foster dog) with Aspen and I in November 2007, only a few days before Thanksgiving.

Little did I know how much work, time and patience it would take to make her an adoptable dog. In the end, it didn’t matter because she was my dog. My best friend. Little did I know how much she would come to change me and my life.

  1. April 17, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    Tears are streaming down ma’s face. Reason is because we volunteer in a shelter and we have met dogs like Daisy. We know the fear of humans, we know the doubt and we also know that people like you come into their lives for a reason. Thank you for taking the time to foster, to gain her trust and to be the best dog mom she could ever pray for. Thank you for sharing this with us. We feel you are the angel sent to Daisy.

    • Mel
      April 18, 2013 at 6:27 AM

      I am so sorry Carma Poodale! I wasn’t trying to make anyone cry. I just didn’t want to lose some of those posts. They remind me how far Daisy has come. No need for thanks. 🙂 I couldn’t have ever left her or let her go when she was so vulnerable. I would have been haunted with “what ifs” the rest of my life if I hadn’t taken her and fostered her and loved her.

  2. April 18, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    A heartbreaking story, with a happy ending at last. Thank goodness for wonderful people, like yourself, who take on dogs with sad histories. I agree that the process of ‘bringing a dog back to life’ is far from easy, but it’s also what makes it so rewarding, and what creates a special bond between you.
    sending warm wishes

  3. April 18, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    This is so lovely. Having a lab myself, I can’t imagine how much suffering it must take for them to lose their zest for life. Labs LOVE life. Thank goodness Daisy found you.

    • Mel
      April 18, 2013 at 6:29 AM

      I think your statement says it all. Yes. Labs have such a zest for life that seeing one that does not have that zest is extremely sad. It should never be. I thank God Daisy found me. 🙂

  4. April 18, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    It was meant to be that Daisy was brought to the shelter you worked at. She was so lucky to have you come into her life.
    I will never understand how a human can do that to a dog, abuse so sever that they are locked up and frozen with fear at the sight of a human.
    My heart breaks knowing how many dogs are are still living in puppy mills still today.

  5. April 18, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    Let me also chime in with the criers. It really brought tears to my eyes — I think many of us who have any kind of contact with shelter animals have met a similar situation in the back of the kennel: a dog who won’t lift its head to meet your eyes. And certainly not everyone in those situations can offer their home. Your post brought it all back. Thanks!

  6. April 18, 2013 at 5:33 AM

    I’m glad you re-posted that.

    Whenever I see dogs like Daisy at shelters, I wonder what they must have gone through to have so much fear. But the beauty of it is, many of them overcome their fears to become loving, happy dogs. You did good, Daisy’s mom. Daisy too X

    • Mel
      April 18, 2013 at 6:25 AM

      I used to do the same thing Georgia. I would often sit with these dogs and try to help them feel less afraid. You are right. So many of them overcome those fears to become a happy dog. For that I am grateful.

  7. April 18, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    Thank you for re-posting and sharing. I cannot imagine sitting on the curb and leaving her behind, you are an awesome person and puppy mommy.

    • Mel
      April 18, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      Nor can I. I am so glad I didn’t She has brought a lot of joy to my life. I don’t think I am awesome, just have a soft heart. 🙂

  8. April 18, 2013 at 6:13 AM

    That is just the sweetest story. We are so glad you stepped in. Bravo. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  9. April 18, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Everything in your life happens for a reason and she needed you to find her inner Lab and you needed her…great story!

  10. To Shea
    April 18, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    You still have one of the best stories on the internet… 😉
    Dogs have a way of bringing the best out of a person and you and Daisy are a Great example of that… 🙂

  11. April 18, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Awww how very touching! Thanks for making my eyes well up 😦 I love hearing these stories. It’s people like you who make the world go round. Thanks for sharing!

  12. April 18, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    I can not imagine someone being that cruel to a dog, or any animal for that matter. Daisy is so very lucky that you cared for her and helped her overcome her fear of people.

  13. April 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    I’m so glad you took a chance on her, now look at her! You gave her the most precious gift one can give.

  14. April 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    My eyes are full of tears. Sad tears for all of the dogs that don’t find someone like you, and happy tears for all of the ones that do. Thank you and congratulations. I too have a (formerly) severely abused dog and I know just how extra special their love and trust is.

  15. Global Dachshund Crossposting (@skye613)
    April 18, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    I have lost track of the number of times I have sat on a kennel floor softly talking to a terrified dog trying to ease their stress . I spend all the time I can with them to ensure they have a fighting chance. And after I cry as I did reading your story. Thank you

    • Mel
      April 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM

      Skye – You and I have much in common. I have sat many times on a shelter floor as well, comforting a scared dog. It is heartbreaking to see. I did the same thing for the very same reasons. I like to think you and I made a difference along the way. I hope so anyways.

  16. April 18, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I hate what she had to go through to find her way to you, but I’m so glad you found each other!
    We don’t know what happened to Rita before she came to us (she was found on the beach in Mexico) but there were definitely some scary thngs as she is afraid of so many things. We really have to take things slow with her.

    • Mel
      April 18, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      I am sure you can relate Jackie. Poor Rita. I am so glad she has you in her life to help her through those moments. Our dogs are special aren’t they? 🙂

  17. April 19, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    I just fell in love with Daisy. What a very sweet story. I found it uplifting, not sad. How lucky she is to have found you and an incredible bond!

    • Mel
      April 19, 2013 at 6:49 AM

      Thank you! I fell in love with her too. I think her story is a story of hope and second chances and what love can do. Thank you for your kind words.

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