It’s Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week — and it’s worth noting that less-adoptable pets are not only those of certain breeds or who are deaf or blind; pets with emotional issues are also often passed over.
Collin, who was listed on Petfinder by Friends of Attleboro Animal Shelter in Massachusetts, is an example. He was extremely timid and didn’t put his best paw forward when he met potential adopters.
When Melissa Salce of West Roxbury, MA, visited his foster home, dogs came running to meet her, looking for a pat or a belly rub. But not Collin. He cowered in fear and tucked his tail under.
Melissa saw beyond that. Collin’s big brown eyes and shy behavior won her heart, so she took him home. “His foster mom was so nice, but she did caution us that he would need a lot of work and socialization,” Melissa says.
Her warning was true. “For the first week, he mostly hid in his crate,” Melissa says, “and we still make sure he has a ‘safe place’ for when he feels overwhelmed. It took almost a month just to get him to be able to take a walk around the block.”
Melissa and her husband have since watched him blossom. “He just needed to know someone cared enough about him to be patient while he learned about the great big world around him,” she says, “and that the world was not so scary after all.”
The couple’s other dog, a Jack Russell Terrier mix named Snuggles, has also had a positive effect on Collin. “They absolutely love each other,” Melissa says. “Collin is proof of the healing power of love, and that dogs with emotional special needs require just as much — if not more — extra love and attention than those with physical special needs.” For Collin, love has indeed been the best medicine.
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