Happy Tail: Love brings Maltese out of hiding

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Kathryn Robbins says her husband wanted to buy a little dog that would get along with their 3-year-old dog, Jackson, but she was set on adopting. She began browsing on Petfinder, but seeing all the needy dogs broke her heart and she curtailed her search. But as her husband became more adamant about getting a second dog, she knew she needed to act.

Gracie, once matted and unkempt, strikes a pose that shows her beauty.

Gracie, once matted and unkempt, strikes a pose that shows her beauty.

Steeling herself, she logged onto Petfinder again, and this time she settled on a Maltese listed by Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) in Tulsa. The dog’s bony little legs and matted fur made her look like a little ragamuffin. She was seriously underweight and probably had been in a cage most of her life.

When they first met, Gracie just stood in a corner for about 15 minutes. Kathryn approached slowly, picked her up and sat down. Doubts raced through her mind. But then Gracie looked up at her, sighed and laid her head on Kathryn’s lap.

“It was like a sigh of relief. I saw the sadness and fear in her eyes and I knew I was going to take her home,” Kathryn says.

Jackson stayed with Kathryn’s mother for a few days while Gracie adjusted. When they brought him home, it took a while for the dogs to get acquainted. “Gracie would hide behind my back and Jackson would just sneak around and look at her,” Kathryn says.

In the past, he had never cried or whined, but when he hears Gracie cry, he starts crying, too. “It’s like he knows she is scared and hates to see her like that,” Kathryn says. “He nervously will walk around her, crying and whimpering, and bring her his toys to try and make her less scared.” Today they’re best friends, playing and sleeping together.

Gracie’s still frightened at times, but with lots of love showered upon her, she has come out of her shell.

“The thing that endeared Gracie to me at first was her sadness and scared demeanor,” Kathryn says. “Her transformation has taught me so much, and I catch myself with tears when I compare pictures of her from when she first came home to now.”

She points out that rescue dogs are every bit as good as those purchased for high prices. “Yes, some may take a bit of work at first or need more time to adjust, but once you commit and start seeing progress, the reward is so amazingly huge!”

Love is a powerful tool.