What We Can Learn from Dogs – #2

Cugno's Canine Centerby Chris Straigis

Never Underestimate the Value of a Second Chance

It is no big secret that animal shelters are bursting at the seams with strays, cast-offs and former family pets. There are many thousands upon thousands of stories that these animals could tell, and millions more from the ones put to sleep each year. But the best stories, the stories usually left untold, are the ones of successful adoptions; that small percentage of lucky animals that are given a second chance.

For these re-adoptees, the paperwork and the ride home do not mark the end of the traumatic experience, but merely the beginning of another change. Without the power of foresight they cannot comprehend the new life that begins at the end of that car ride. For a select few, a warm house and soft place to lie provide a smooth transition into an easier life. Comfort doesn’t come easy for all, however. It is the ones who struggle for whom a new owner’s dedication and commitment is most critical and the reward of success so great. The following is an example of one of those struggles.

Abby was three years old when she was adopted from an animal rescue in Radnor, PA. The rescue knew she came from West Virginia but, beyond that, her first three years were a mystery. Her temperament, however, was anything but mysterious. She was extremely anxious, scared of everything, and not the kind of dog easily adopted out. Her new parents (for full disclosure, Abby’s parents happen to be my parents too) knew that they could help this dog.

This was not the first dog my parents owned. We had two small dogs when I was a boy and, in the more recent past, they had Chocolate Labs – two of which had passed away by the time Abby came home and a third that would only be around for a few more months. They were no strangers to raising dogs. Abby was a special case, however. Her anxiety ran deep and no one really was sure how to deal with it. Now in her new home, she would run away when anyone would get too close and if she had nowhere to run she would pee in fear. This poor little dog, a collie & corgi mix, was completely traumatized from her previous life. Fortunately, she was one of the small percentage of lucky animals to get a second chance at a good life.

It took over a year for Abby to become comfortable in her new home, a year of commitment and compassion, a year of healing. The time and effort paid off. Now she is truly happy, one of the happiest dogs I have ever seen. Thanks to a commitment of her caring owners, she journeyed from seemingly traumatic beginnings to a stable and happy life, reveling in all of the joys that a loving family could provide.

This is but one in a deep well of seldom heard dog rescue stories with happy endings. All of us at Cugno’s Canine Center would like to express our gratitude to those who have chosen to rescue a dog from an animal shelter and to give it a new lease on life. We also want to recognize those who foster dogs. Your commitment to repeatedly saving dogs from certain euthanasia and keeping them until they can find a permanent home is valiant, thoughtful and kind. The dogs would say it if they could so allow us in their place: thank you!

We encourage you to share your rescue or foster experience. We want to tell the world your story! We strongly believe that the more exposure we can provide with your stories of success, the more we can help steer prospective dog owners to a local shelter to find their perfect dog. Post your story here or email it to stacey@cugnoscaninecenter.com.

We can help you with your rescue dog – call our office at 610.337.0800!

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Dave Cugno is the premier dog trainer in the Philadelphia area. He serves the Mid-Atlantic region including Southeastern PA and the Philadelphia area, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Maryland, and Virginia.

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