Those eyes pierced my heart as I walked through the adoption floor at the shelter. For four weeks I saw her each time I went to assess dogs for Crossroads adoption program, each time I took a moment to speak to her, to offer hope, to wish desperately for someone to help her…for someone to see all her possibilities. Sometimes I’m a little dense. Thankfully Jada’s patient and forgiving.
The one thing I wanted for Jada most in the world was for her to experience ‘dogginess’. I could imagine Jada’s life as a dog – not an object to be ignored or abused…not a lost soul drowning in the noise a shelter – her own life as a dog.
What is life as a dog? Companionship. Community. Couches.
Dogs need companionship. Every dog needs companions. Perhaps that’s why humans are compelled to live with dogs. Every human needs companions. We thrive when there is someone to share life with.
Dogs are communal by nature. To live in isolation for a dog is like a human living in solitary confinement. Neither dogs nor humans were ever meant to live alone. Together, in community, we (humans and dogs) can have richer more fulfilling lives.
Dogs need a couch. Really. The couch is the ‘place’ where I sit in the evening and spend some quiet time enjoying friends and family. It’s where I go for some ‘down time’. Dogs need a little ‘down time’, a place where they are free to nap, lounge, and have access to lots of belly rubs.
Jada (and countless other shelter dogs like her) did not know ‘life as dog’. She didn’t have human or canine companionship, she had no community, she didn’t have a couch. She simply existed.
When we left the shelter together I knew we had a long road ahead of us. But I knew that there were people at Crossroads who would surround Jada with companionship, community and a comfy couch. Jada had the benefit of compassionate people, encouraging dogs who could show her how to be a dog, and a comfy couch where she could make up for lost belly rubs.
On February 16, 2014 Jada had her very first day as a DOG! She PLAYED and PLAYED and PLAYED with her canine friends, the ones who had been patient and gentle with her…the ones who showed her just how much fun it is being a dog. She rolled in the mud (yes, MUD), she frolicked, she ran, she chased. She lounged in the sunlight. She had a very good day.
What’s next for Jada? HOME! Her foster family’s work is complete. Jada knows life as dog. Now it’s time for her live with her own companions, in her community, on her couch. It’s time to make an opening on this foster homes couch for the next dog in need. For information about adopting Jada, please contact Crossroads Pets 615-712-9758 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rehabilitating dogs like Jada take time, patience and a plan. There are many, many dogs in need of a foster home who will provide companionship, community and a couch for dogs who may have never known those basic necessities. If you have ever thought about fostering, either short term (a few days to a couple of weeks) or for challenge dogs like Jada, we’d love to talk with you! Please contact Delores at 615-712-9758 or email email@example.com.