“Who Rescued Who?”
We see this phrase on bumper stickers, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other dog-related gifts. I always thought, “How cheesy and ridiculous. The dog did not rescue the human. That person needs to bring it down a notch.” Then I met Tippi.
The year leading up to Tippi’s adoption was tumultuous. My husband was traveling extensively, we spent two years working through infertility, my job was overwhelming, and I developed a panic disorder. I had considered adopting a dog for some time, and finally, I decided I needed something to love—and something that would love me back. My husband reluctantly agreed, and my life changed forever.
Tippi was scared, underweight and had a look about her that said, “It’s okay if you don’t pick me. I know there are better dogs here.” But, she bonded with my husband and we knew we needed to take her home. She needed someone to take care of her. She needed a safe, happy place to live out her life. The first few days were terrifying for both Tippi and me. She hid under the table, she was afraid to eat, and the cat terrorized her. I thought she would come home and instantly cuddle with us and turn into the perfect family dog overnight. Instead, she curled up into a tiny ball and I cried—for days. I was overwhelmed. At one point I contacted the rescue group to confirm my home truly was the best place for her. After working with one of the volunteers and inviting a trainer/behaviorist to my home, things started to change. Not only did Tippi become more and more comfortable, but I also gained the confidence that I was lacking for so long. After a few months, Tippi blossomed into a beautiful, caring dog. She gained 15 pounds, became quite athletic, and showed off her goofy and loving personality. I started going out to new places, meeting people and socializing more than ever. I also began volunteering at the rescue facility. No more panic attacks in the middle of the grocery store or fear of going out to a restaurant. Tippi has also since helped me get through difficult situations with incredible confidence, strength, and hope.
I will never forget the support the behaviorist provided on her first visit. She said, “bringing home a dog is like bringing home a foreign exchange student. Dogs speak a different language and need to adjust to their new environment. However, bringing home a rescued dog is like bringing home a refugee. Not only is your home a new world to them, but they are not confident they are in a safe place. They haven’t forgotten the past. They have to remind themselves the bombs have stopped dropping.”
They need time.
I am excited to be a part of The Rescued Dog. My goal is to not only help dogs like Tippi but also help others who need the support to grow and get through difficult times. I hope that, by sharing my story, others will consider adopting, volunteering or otherwise supporting these wonderful dogs and the community at large.
I assure you; it is nothing short of life-changing. In fact, I might just pick up one of those “Who rescued who?” stickers and plaster it on the back of my car.