Ruth’s Story / Ruth adopted Libby at our ‘Flight For Life’ adoption event in Oct. 2014.
Libby is really an exceptional little dog. What a blessing she is in my life. I was in such a funk after losing my 15 year old Tess in July (2014), & at my advanced age of 86, very uncertain if I should take on another dog for the dog’s sake as well as my own. I contacted several S.P.C.A. Shelters in B.C but none had small dogs available for adoption. Their spaying program has made a big difference in the number of puppies & small dogs surrendered & one must go on a waiting list in British Columbia.
However, when I saw the Thank Dog I Am Out story in the Vancouver Province Newspaper in September 2014, I was inspired to follow up. It seemed meant to happen & urgent. I phoned right away. Everything went smoothly – the adoption papers, arrangements for a driver, the trip to Vancouver, overnight at a hotel & then to Bellingham early on October 4th, 2014. The “Wings of Rescue” plane from California, flown by a volunteer pilot, landed about noon, amid tears, cheers & whistles. The dogs in crates were unloaded by many volunteers from Thank Dog I Am Out led by Susan Patterson , the founder. At the airport hangar I was overwhelmed with their kindness plus the 143 noisy & needy little dogs from which to choose. There was no way I could have picked one quickly with so many to see. I was utterly confused. But then volunteer Kate held Libby up & I opened out my arms as if to say “I don’t know which dog to choose” – Libby made the huge decision for me on her own & without hesitation. She actually leapt up & into to my arms – I have never had such an experience before. How I wish I had a photo of that moment. An instant bond was formed there & then which still exists . That awesome & emotional day I will remember the rest of my life. I still tear up when I think about it.
Now, almost seven months later, my day revolves around my buddy. She is an eager companion, always ready to participate in whatever is planned. Libby lets me know when it is time for her breakfast at 8.30am, her “ airport run” at 11a.m. supper at 5.30pm, her exciting “treat time “ hunt at 7pm, & bedtime at 9pm. Tuesdays & Thursdays are volunteer mornings at Vermilion Court Sheltered Housing for seniors where she was an instant hit.
She interacts with nearly all of the 20 or more residents & knew on her first day which one or two are not crazy about dogs. Libby had been with me only four days then. My family & friends all love her & now that she trusts them, she soon demands the petting & tummy rubs she adores. A half-starved frightened stray of 12 pounds last Oct. 4th & now her tummy has filled out a bit too much & her diet cut down a little.
Back to that eventful day of adoption.
I brought her home that evening about 7.30pm on Saturday Oct. 4th, 2014 & took her out to my rear small fenced yard & turned her loose. She was uncertain of course, & gingerly tested the lawn with her right foot. I had the feeling she had never been on grass before as she urinated on the cement patio. No problem. She prowled around for a few minutes & I brought her inside for her first meal. She quickly gobbled up the kibbles & energy type of canned food I offered her & drank some water. My driver friend Thalia & I had already eaten a take-out meal during the drive home from Bellingham.
I spent time holding her, showing her around the house & talking to her softly. I went to bed a bit earlier than usual as I was very tired, & so was Libby. I fashioned a nest with a soft blanket next to me where she settled down right away with my arm around her & we had a good sleep. At 7.30am, she was in the same position & so was my rather stiff arm. I spent three whole days quietly with her, either on my lap, going for short walks to the adjoining park across the street, & short car rides. The second night, she jumped up into her bed all by herself. I haven’t had the heart to change her sleeping place. We are bonded – big time.
Quite often, when I awaken, she is sitting staring at me. As soon as I open my eyes, she sidles toward me & gives me a good morning kiss on my hand, arm, or cheek. Yikes! Dog lips! Then she flops over on her back, feet in the air, snuggles her head into my shoulder & wiggles all over for a tummy rub. This will last as long as I keep it up & say “enough, Libby. It’s time to get up.” I guide her out the doggy door in the utility room. She doesn’t like to go out that way but doesn’t mind coming in. It took about two ten minute sessions to show her, using tiny treats placed just outside the door. We both were delighted with her success. She listens intently.
I was advised to have a training crate for traveling & sleeping but she becomes absolutely frantic to avoid it. Also she will not take any food or treats from others. Only at home. I suspect she was captured this way. I got rid of the crate because she is so obedient & anxious to please. Sometime in her life she has been severely traumatized. I noticed immediately she is terrified of all men, especially of young men in dark clothing & wearing backward – turned caps. She will try to escape as soon as she spots them half a block away & will shake violently all over. It is pitiful see her in this situation & twice she has gotten away on me by slipping her collar. Ladies nearby helped me to recover her. I now have a secure harness which she wears on walks. I still cannot take her for daylight walks where there are pedestrians about. I have a dog- loving lady friend who takes her out at night for long walks with her small dog. This lady is working with Libby & her fear of men & she is showing improvement.
Princeton, where I live, is a small B.C. Interior town. My home is half a block from the auto parts store my son has up the street. I walk Libby there at least twice weekly & take her in to visit with the staff, mostly men. They are aware of her fear issues & get down to her level & visit with her. This has helped. She no longer tries to pull away from them & is beginning to enjoy their friendly approach.
When my son, a kind man & a dog lover, came to visit today, she finally welcomed him warmly but still warily & then sat with him at last. Another rescue group person told me that Libby may have been used for breeding in a puppy mill & then abandoned, which may account for her fear issues & being classed as a stray.
Libby has changed my life after a difficult year of medical issues as well as dealing with the loss of my elderly dog Tess. One cannot predict the length of time we might have together. A younger friend Debbie, is a dog groomer & says that Libby is the only dog she has ever bathed that sat absolutely still. She comes to my house to bathe Libby & do her nails. Debbie has acreage with dogs & horses & her husband, Garry, loves small dogs. They have offered to adopt Libby should I become unable to care for myself & her. Unless a family member is able to take her I think I have found the perfect place for Libby should the need arise. Libby goes into her happy routine of whining & barking when Debbie’s car arrives. She worked for my vet for years which convinced me that Libby’s daily care & medical needs will always be dealt with as she ages. That is important to me because she is a gentle, loving, loyal, grateful little creature who has survived inhumane treatment. I love this dog so much & she reciprocates. We will visit them soon so it will be familiar to her.
My sincere thanks to our caring friends in California who rescue & foster these little dogs. You are an invaluable gold link in this chain of rescue.
My heartfelt thanks to Susan & all the wonderful volunteers at Thank Dog I Am Out, also the amazing ‘Wings of Rescue’ organization for bringing Libby into my life.
She just came from her favorite viewing spot in my studio at the front of the house & has her feet up on my knee. It is nearly noon. Her big brown eyes are saying “It’s time to go!”
Love from Ruth & Libby