Wanted: Good, loving, caring home for older female. Has some idiosyncrasies and anomalous behavior as a result of early abusive treatment, worsened by continued rejection by prior owner. In spite of the past cruelty, she is loyal, faithful, and eager to please, though she has trust and fear issues that require consistent love and a strong commitment. Doesn’t do many tricks, but is grateful for attention and has been housebroken. Hates baths. Affectionate. If interested, please call.
You may or may not have guessed…the older female in need of rescue is…me.
I remember as a young girl begging my parents for a dog. I loved animals; dogs in particular. I was the child with a tender, compassionate heart who brought home all the strays. Cats, dogs, baby rabbits, even baby mice. I couldn’t bear to see a defenseless, innocent animal alone, with no one to protect and nurture them. I couldn’t turn away from their need.
But I never got to keep them. My father was a hunter. He didn’t value animals, other than for the food they provided. I, on the other hand, often revived the fish he caught and brought home for dinner by placing them in the bathtub filled with water. Took sick woodpeckers to the vet. To me, all animals were worthy of care (except snakes). I did, however, feel a special connection with dogs. So, after having yet another stray taken away (and likely killed by my father), I started a campaign to win his permission to get a dog I could keep and call my own.
It took a long time to convince my parents. I had to prove that I would be responsible for caring for a pet and that I wouldn’t tire of it after the novelty wore off. I had almost given up when they finally and unexpectedly relented. I was filled with joy and excitement the beautiful Saturday morning we set off for the animal shelter to look at the dogs that were waiting for adoption. I was wiggling almost as much as they were as I went from pen to pen. The dogs jumped and danced. They licked my fingers and stuck their noses through the wire fenced cage gates. I wanted all of them!
And then, I saw Lady.
She was curled up in the back of her pen, tail tucked, looking sad and forlorn. So sure was she of being rejected, she had given up all hope and stopped trying to gain attention. I almost didn’t see her.
They let me in the pen with her because she wouldn’t come up to the gate. I sat on the cold concrete floor and coaxed her onto my lap. And I knew she was the one. She needed me. She needed my love, approval, and acceptance. She was at least part Cairn Terrier, a wheat color with thick, wiry fur. And she was a smaller dog, sweet, and affectionate, just the right size for cuddling and holding on my lap. I was sold. Hooked. She was mine.
Lady was fairly young when she came home with me…they estimated her to be 1 to 2 years old. She lived a long life. I kept my promise and took care of her. I loved her. I even got into trouble occasionally because I couldn’t bear to stop petting her before school, which made me late. She had such a great need for affection and I had a great need for her unconditional love. Though she was an outside dog, I spent hours playing with her and showering her with attention. I had to leave her behind when I left home, which broke my heart. But by then, even my father had accepted her into the family. She finally found a place where she was loved and wanted.
My story doesn’t have such a happy ending.
I feel very much like a shelter animal, hiding in the corner, no longer able to muster any hope of someone discovering me and finding value there. I long for someone to offer me a place in their heart. To give me love and acceptance. Make me theirs. But I know it isn’t going to happen. Time is no longer on my side.
I want to be able to open my heart to someone. To feel safe for the first time in my life. To give them the unconditional love I have coveted.
I have waited a very long time.
Again and again, I am passed over. Ignored. Unnoticed. Rejected. Again and again, someone cuter, better, more wonderful, whole, healthier, and “easier,” with far less baggage, is removed from their pitiful cage and set free. Taken home. Loved. I watch it happen. I’m happy for them. The others. But I am so alone it hurts. I stay in my corner. I know this thing called love is not for me. Acceptance is never to be mine.
Lady found love. A home. She was cherished, cared for and wanted. She led a full life, in spite of her harsh, abusive beginning.
It seems that I am not so fortunate. I fear I will die a shelter animal. In my cage. Alone. Waiting for tenderness and affection. Waiting for someone to see me, yet still want me. Waiting for their love to rescue me. To set me free.