Happy Tail: A dog goes from terrified to “the perfect match”

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Taking their dog on adventures is just part of the joy that Erin Dominguez and her boyfriend, Jeff, are finding with their adopted dog, Otis. “A few weeks ago, we hiked up by Maroon Bells [in Colorado] and let him off leash for the first time … I’ve never seen him run so fast. He would turn back to look at us as if he was saying, ‘Look how fast I can go, Mom and Dad.'”

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Otis seems like a perfect match for this active Denver couple. But they originally thought the perfect match might only be found by buying a dog from a trusted breeder. Thankfully, Erin knew there were thousands of homeless dogs who needed them, so they began browsing on Petfinder. Their intention was to visit a few shelters, but then they saw Otis’s photo, listed on Petfinder by Planned Pethood Plus in Denver, and set up a meeting with his foster mom.

“The moment Otis walked in, we knew he was meant to be with us,” Erin says.
That’s not to say he immediately took to them. On the contrary, he was skittish and afraid.


“When Jeff and I first brought Otis home, he ran under the table and hid
all night,” Erin says. “We finally just decided to lie on the floor
under the table with him, just talking to each other, and he eventually
let us pet him.” Next, they moved to the couch and let him know it was
okay for him to join them there. Gradually he gathered his courage,
first by sitting at the far end of the couch and then little by little,
with coaxing, inching toward them.

Otis has gained a world of confidence as the couple overcomes
what they feel must have been years of neglect. “Seeing Otis come out of
his shell and truly begin to love and trust us has been the best part
of this entire experience,” Erin says. She now says there are probably
no ‘perfect’ matches at the outset of a relationship between pet and
person. Their little family is discovering that the perfect match is a
process, something you grow into day by day.