When Emily Burke stepped into her room just before Christmas, she knew someone had been there, and it wasn’t Santa Claus. Cellophane wrappers from caramels littered the floor. The family dogs, Toto and Scrappy, looked innocent, except Scrappy was still chewing on one piece of candy, his tail wagging. Toto, looking as if he had nothing to do with it-he was, after all, just lying on his bed–had caramel stuck in his whiskers. The pair had found the Christmas-stocking stash. Luckily, there was nothing toxic in the stash, but the anecdote reminds us to make sure we keep potentially harmful things out of our pets’ reach.
Toto, 12, had needed a buddy for some time, but every dog the Burke family thought about adopting growled at him, and that wouldn’t do at all. And then they introduced him to Scrappy, who was listed on Petfinder by Washington County/Johnson City Animal Control Center in Tennessee.
Scrappy, who was about two, had come from an abusive background and was so scared that he huddled in the back of his cage. “He looked like a little matted fox,” Emily says. When she went to meet him, she sat with him in his pen and eventually got a leash on him so she could take him to the playroom. The next hurdle was to meet Toto.
“Though Scrappy was terrified of us, he loved Toto,” Emily says, “and since then he has tried to copy everything Toto does. He even lets Toto take his bones after he chews the hard parts that Toto can’t manage anymore.”
Scrappy has gradually overcome his shyness with the family. He loves to run around which inspires Toto to get a little exercise, too. Scrappy also enjoys cuddling, and “he likes to sit at the foot of my dad’s recliner and get petted,” Emily says. He’s still wary of strangers and loud noises scare him, but he has come a long way.
Scrappy has gone from “bedraggled scaredy cat” to happy member of the family. It’s a beautiful journey for a once neglected dog.