When we got our first rescue dog I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. He was an older dog who had gotten lost and picked up by a rescue. The rescue group said he would be a good fit for our family with three kids, the youngest age 7. So sight unseen the dog began his transport from Illinois to Ohio where my husband and daughter picked him up.
When he walked into the house he was so calm and collected. “So, you’re our new dog.” I said as he walked down the hallway. It was love at first sight for the whole family.
He was a good dog but sometimes disobedient and consistently marked inside the house. So when he became ill and incontinent, it was actually a blessing to let him go.
When we got our second rehomed dog, he was more subdued and totally confused in his new surroundings. When we went to pick him up he actually jumped willingly into our car. I think he thought he was going for a car ride around town. He didn’t expect total rehoming. He was confused at first but so sweet. He was my little soulmate dog.
Early on I decided he would be my last dog. Really I knew how difficult it would be when it was his time to go, and it truly was. You don’t let go of a soulmate dog willingly.
But I missed having the companionship of a dog. I would come home and expect him to be there, until I realized he wasn’t. It was lonely.
I decided to put my name in for fostering. I figured this way I would never have to watch a dog pass away again. But the more I learned about fostering the more I knew it wasn’t really a good fit for me.
Well, I said to God, if I ever get another dog, it will have to be dropped off at my doorstep! I figured that didn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of happening!
Then the week before Thanksgiving a lady from a neighboring town who runs a rescue put out an ABP about a dog who was in urgent need of a home. The dog had been listed on a rescue site for 3 months but no one was interested in her.
I looked at the picture. The dog was described as a corgi mix but she didn’t look anything like a corgi. She was a solid brindle colored dog. Really, from the picture she could have been any breed.
“How big is she?” I asked. “Thirty pounds.” Was the reply. Same size as a corgi, similar in height too.
“Too bad she’s so far away.” I said. “If you want her, I’ll get her to you.” Came the reply.
Mind you, this dog was in Tennessee!
I waited. Surely someone else would step up, I thought.
I spoke to my husband about the dog.
“Someone else will get her.” He said.
So I waited and a few days later the post came through again. Urgent and no, they weren’t looking for another foster. This dog had been fostered twice after her family had to surrender her due to finances. This time they wanted the dog to have a “furever” home. She was headed to shelter otherwise.
The further fear was that she would become a bait dog due to her size. I didn’t want to see that happen so I said I’d take her.
And the rescue lady, true to her word, brought her up from Tennessee and dropped her at my house!
Now came the tough part for me.
This dog bonded to me instantly. I was told she bonded to women better than men.
Boy that was true!
She barked and growled every time my son or husband entered the house and then she walked away.
My son said he didn’t want another dog, and my husband gave her a week to get in line!
What had I done? I’d had two cordial corgis and now this dog wasn’t what they expected and they weren’t willing to help her work through her fears either.
But she loved me and I instantly loved her too.
What to do?
I tried to get my two guys on board. After all, I said, this is the first female dog we’ve owned, maybe females are different?
I had them give her treats, I had them feed her, which they did half heartedly.
Then one evening I had to go out. When I came home Bella was so happy to see me, that she did a little dance, tail wagging and all.
And both my son and husband looked at me. “Well she’s sure happy to see you!” They said. She’s been ignoring us all evening.
“Well, give her time.” I said.
I had them each give her a piece of peperoni. That went well. She warmed a little.
Then I realized my son who spent most of his time in his room was coming out more often. He was coming down to sit and pet Bella, and they were bonding. He wasn’t harsh with her anymore but talked nicely and with a welcoming spirit. Bella actually started to seek him out.
My husband on the other hand would come through the door and shout, “Hey Bella!” and she would continue to run away.
He was clearly getting annoyed.
I decided he should take her out in the evening to get her used to him. She ran from the leash.
He was definitely getting annoyed.
She would timidly go up to him to be pet when he coaxed her, but continued to run away from him when he got the leash.
You could tell by my husband’s attitude that his outward appearance did not match his spirit. He was calling to her but inside you could see his spirit was not “all in.”
Then I realized that Bella was my spirit dog. She wasn’t going to be cordial to everybody. You needed to earn her trust. You needed to be humble in spirit before she would trust you.
Truthfully I wasn’t even sure this was something my husband could do because he is very used to having his own way, but I told him what I thought the problem was. I encourage him to get down on her level and just offer her genuine love with a caring spirit.
And it started to work! She would approach him. She no longer would get up and walk away when he entered the room. Slowly she was beginning to trust.
Bella still barks when the guys come home, but her tail is wagging now!
She still prefer me to take her for her walks but she willingly goes out the door with my husband when asked, although sometimes I still have to put on the leash.
And today, she came between me and an attacking dog when we were out for a walk demonstrating her spirit of protection. It was scary but she stood her ground.
Yes, she’s a spirit dog with the loveliest brown soulful eyes! There’s a corgi in there!
For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. 2 Timothy 1:7