Our reader rescue story this week is about a Jindo/German Shepherd mix named Sunny who was rescued from the streets of Northridge, Calif. We hope you enjoy reading Sunny’s story as much as we did.
If you are the pet parent of a rescued dog, we want to share your story, too! For information about submitting your story, click here.
Abandoned in the Streets, Sunny is Rescued and Adopted
By Katrin R. Harich
In late 2004, I started volunteering at Friends of Animals Foundation (FOAF), an animal shelter in Los Angeles. It was there that I met then 1-year-old Holiday, a Jindo/Shepherd mix.
Holiday was found roaming the streets of Northridge, and nothing was known about her past. I noticed her right away; she is a stunningly beautiful dog with a cheerful and sweet disposition. It did not take very long for me to decide that I wanted to adopt her.
On February 11, 2005, Holiday was delivered to my home, bathed and wearing a new green collar. I decided to change her name to Sunny, because she reminded me of a ray of sunshine. Since then, Sunny has lived up to what her name implies, but we sure have gone through some difficult times together.
Sunny suffered from severe separation anxiety, which manifested in some destructive behavior: chewing door knobs and door frames; barking incessantly when left alone at night; urinating indoors when left alone during the day and apprehension when meeting strangers – be they human, canine, feline or other. She also managed to escape several crates, much to my amazement.
I studied everything I could get my hands on about how to combat separation anxiety and tried them all, including medication. Our progress was slow, and at times, hardly noticeable.
If I had to give advice to someone facing a similar situation with a shelter dog, it would consist of three words: love, patience and time.
Today, after five years of togetherness, bonding and consistent training with the positive reinforcement approach and a clicker, Sunny is a changed dog. She works as a certified therapy dog. She stays home alone for up to seven hours with no accidents. She loves her crate and sleeps in it every night with the door wide open. No more barking, just snoring!
Sunny meets new people with curiosity and openness. She wants to sniff every dog we meet on our walks, and exhibits patience and playfulness with all of them – even the puppies who jump all over her. She is obedient, yet delightfully mischievous. Sunny is a wonderful companion.
Many shelter dogs can be adopted with ease, but in case a dog exhibits difficult behavior, or will not adjust quickly to its new life, there is still hope! Don’t give up and return the dog to the shelter; this will only make it worse and lessen the chances for a successful later adoption. Be patient and give it time.