The "Unadoptable" Hound
There are times in one's life when you meet individuals who make lifelong impressions. To me, Bow was one such individual. Although he was just a dog, he had a spirit and attitude that many of us should learn from.
I still remember the day we first met Bow. We had just lost our Bassett-beagle mix Harry one month prior and were ready to adopt another dog. We went to Daphneyland just to see the hounds and talk to Dawn. We really had no intention of bringing one home that day. During our conversation, I heard barking out of a corner run and turned to see this very handsome red and white hound barking at me. I asked Dawn who it was and her first reaction was "You don't want that guy, he'll rip your face off."
She proceeded to tell us Bow's story. He was a hound that was found by a police officer hanging by the neck from a tree in a park near a school. The officer thought he was dead and did not want the kids to see him, so he cut him down. He proceeded to take a breath.
So starts Bow's journey through the several shelters and rescue groups until he landed at Daphneyland. He was not an aggressive dog but was fearful and distrustful of people and would bite when felt threatened.
Dawn was very surprised by his reaction to us saying the he never would seek out people while the ranch was open. Just waiting for things to close down so he would be let out and allowed to run the property which he loved to do. She decided to take a chance and let him out to meet us. As we squatted down and called his name he ran to us and gave us kisses. Testing us further Dawn asked me to leash him up to gauge his reaction. He was so still as I placed and removed a leash on his collar repeatedly. Dawn was shocked. Definitely not the reaction one would expect from a dog with his previous experiences. In his own way Bow was saying that he wanted to take a chance on us and Dawn was listening. She let us have him on a foster basis, still convinced that he would be back soon.
That first day was not without incident. While getting Bow into the car, I tried to help him up and he quickly turned around and tried to rip my face off. I let him get in on his own after that. The look on Dawn's face said it all... "That has to be the shortest adoption ever." Needless to say that he was never returned, Bow found his forever home and family.
Those first few months with Bow were an adventure. Having a dog with Bow's issues was a challenge, without the ability to speak with us, we had to learn how to interpret his feelings through his body language and facial expressions. It was obvious that he was still dealing with the issues from his past. Trust was not something that he gave easily, and it took years for us to break through that barrier. I remember the day that we finally broke through completely. I was petting his head lightly one evening when he rolled over on his back and gave me his belly to rub. It was the first of many.
Through the years Bow has gone through a myriad of problems, he lost both eyes to glaucoma and threw out his back. Each time we always worried how we would deal with it. But Bow always bounced back, shrugging off each problem as if it were nothing. He adapted to each new challenge much faster than we did. He was a fighter and a survivor. People could take a lesson in watching him go through his ordeals and come out the other side.
Last Friday Bow was faced with another of those challenges. He was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and was very ill. We spent the next few days caring for him until we could get him back to the veterinarian on Monday. But this was too much for him to fight off... He was too tired. He passed away quietly in his sleep early Monday morning in his bed as I was petting him. His spirit will be sorely missed.
I write this to not just keep his spirit alive but to serve as an inspiration to others. There are no "unadoptable" dogs.
The work that Daphneyland and especially Dawn do was instrumental in Bow's success. I urge you to support rescue in any way you can. Let's ensure that every dog is provide the same opportunity Bow was given.