Posted on Dec 01, 2016
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Since we got her, Little One has overcome so much. When we met her, she was so scared of everything and everyone. She would tremble at the sound of my husband’s voice or if anyone came near. She would run and hide if she heard noises outside the house and she was terrified of our other dogs. Little by little she got used to the noises and comings and goings of the house and learned that she was safe. Her tail started wagging and she seemed happier. She began to trust my kids, Jay, and me. She stopped cowering any time my other dogs passed by, and she even started playing with them.
Once she trusted us completely and was relaxed with us, I started bringing people into the house every day to meet her. At first, she trembled and hid, but after several days she gained confidence and started greeting people with tail wags, and, she even barked. She still seems more afraid of men than women or children, but she has come a long way!
Once she seemed trusting of guests inside the house, we felt it was time to bring her out of the house for the very first time. We wanted to bring her somewhere she would remember as a positive experience, so we took her to a pet supply store. We also brought our dog, Socks, with us, hoping that would make it easier for Little One. Jay drove so I could hold her. She shook the entire way but I kept reassuring her with my voice and lots of kisses.
When we went inside she was so scared at first, but after a few minutes she became curious about all the toys and treats, and chose to walk and follow Socks around the store. In just a few minutes, she was having the best time, smelling and sniffing everything. She ate treats, tried on sweaters, picked out toys, and even let the store’s staff pet her.
She didn’t shake at all on the way home, but snuggled in my arms wearing her new sweater and looked out the window. She seemed to have a smile on her face and I think she was as proud of herself as we were of her. She seemed like a different dog by the time we got home: holding her head a bit higher, wagging her tail with a bit more enthusiasm, and smiling a bit brighter. To most, it was a small, simple trip to the pet store, but to Little One it was a huge hurdle in her healing where she learned that no matter where we go, or what we do, she is always safe. It was the beginning of the rest of her life where she leaves her past behind and becomes a “normal,” happy, well-adjusted dog who loves life and everything that comes with it.
This is what keeps us working and trying: taking a broken spirit and making them whole, restoring faith in someone’s hopeless heart, seeing joy dance in someone’s dark and lonely eyes, and breathing the life back into someone. It is the most rewarding work ever and I am so grateful to be able to do it! I love my life and my work! Thank you so much for supporting The Gentle Barn so we can be here for animals like Little One!
By Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn
Author, The Gentle Barn