Paw Stories: Grace

"What happened to Grace in her previous life is really a mystery.  Sapulpa Furry Friends posted about some dogs that needed a foster until the rescue could come through and that sad, scared face haunted me.  While a discussion raged about her breeding and what truly happened to her (she is a Catahoula but has a stocky build that many people assume is pitbull), I quietly offered to take her until the rescue could.

I picked her up on a Thursday.  When the animal control officer brought her out, she had to carry her.  Grace curled up in a corner and tried to pretend the world didn't exist.  I touched her and her whole body shook.  We had to carry her to my car to take her home.  She tried to get as far away from me as possible and hide under a rear seat.  I felt so awful for this beautiful, broken dog!  I bought her a collar and a tag, but only put our last name and phone number on the tag.  After all, she was only a foster and would not be staying with us!  Once home, I carried her to our backyard and just set her down.  She spent the next five days outside, refusing to come near any of us.

On Tuesday, it poured rain.  She hid in her doghouse while I tried to figure out how to get her out and to her SpayOK appointment.  I finally turned to my husband and told him I was about to find out if she was the least big mean... and reached in to the terrified dog and pulled her out of the doghouse.  Covered in mud, I took her to the appointment.  When I carried her in and put her in the crate, she looked at me with a panicked face that clearly said "Don't abandon me!".

I cried all the way home.  And I realized right then she was no longer a foster dog.  When I picked her up, I could see the relief in her eyes.  I cried even more and wondered how I was going to explain to my husband that we had a third dog! 

Grace has been with us for two years now and has come so far.  The scared, sad dog is mostly gone.  She is mostly blind and doesn't hear well, but that just adds to her specialness.  It took six months to convince her to come inside, including some brutally cold temperatures.  Now she considers being outside in anything less than 60F to be downright rude!  She took to a leash very well with the help of a fellow No Boundaries runner, Shar Moore - and loves to go for long, slow runs.  Runners World actually rated the Catahoula on their top 10 running dogs!  She has travelled to California and back a couple of times now and  is just happy to be with me.  The amount of trust she gives me just blows me away - and I often joke that I need to be certified as HER "Therapy Animal" so that I could take her everywhere.  Her favorite words are "Are you coming, Grace?  Let's go then!"  She still has issues to overcome that we may never fully understand, but she's wonderful just the way she is!"

- Kenna Barkley

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