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Happy Tail: A fearful dog finds confidence in a loving home



Read Deeken’s story in Melanie’s own words.

After the death of their 15-year-old dog, Melanie Zapf of Vancouver, British Columbia, found that the house seemed very empty — even though she and her husband had decided that they wouldn’t get another dog.

Their resolution lasted six months, and then they began looking on Petfinder, where their hearts went out to a nine-month old Labrador Retriever mix at the BC SPCA – Burnaby Shelter.

“He was very fearful due to his past,” Melanie says. “He had been found as a stray in Northern British Columbia with a big heavy chain around his neck. It had worn away all the fur and was much too tight, as he was still growing.”

They had dealt with fearful dog behavior before, so they went off to meet Deeken and put in an application to adopt him.

“When we first brought him home,” she recalls, “we discovered he’d never been in a house and everything (mirrors, doorways, TV’s, radios) scared him,” she says.

“Now he is a confident, outgoing dog who loves everyone — especially
his doggy friends. His favorite activities are trips to the dog beach
where he can swim in the ocean and tear around in the sand, car rides
and going to doggy daycare.”

Rarely, she still sees fearfulness, but it only takes a word of reassurance and he’s okay.

“Deeken has turned out to be one of those all-time great dogs,” Melanie
says, “and I can’t believe we ever considered not having one in our

Previous Happy Tails:

Shelter life was all he knew until a road trip changed everything

After a marriage, a Jack Russell finds his soulmate

Dog vs. puppy? One adopter finds out love is ageless

An energetic Corgi becomes a model neighbor

A seriously ill kitten is saved by her adopters’ TLC

After her Pit Bull is killed, fate sends a new best friend

They almost sent him back, but patience — and training — paid off

A lonely cat is reunited with her foster home soul-mate

A rescued pit bull helps a daughter through a time of loss

A Pekingese poster child for senior-pet adoption

Two dogs – one with mange, one abused – come home

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