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When You’re Not Looking, Love Creeps In

SUBMITTED BY Sue Grundfest, Coco the Love Dog and Kirby

I never imagined I would adopt another dog just weeks after losing Coco. But sometimes when you’re not looking, that’s when you are found.

Bear was born in March 2009. He was first owned by a woman who thought it would be nice to have a puppy.  She did not realize how much hard work goes into raising a puppy, so when Bear was about six months old he was brought to Heaven Can Wait — and given to them.

Bear when Sue first met him at PetSmart – very wary and nervous

Bear spent a few months in Heaven Can Wait’s Pups on Parole program and one day a young man came in and wanted to adopt Bear. He seemed like a nice young man and Bear went home with him. Just a few months later Bear was again returned to Pups on Parole. No one was really sure what happened but it just didn’t work out. He was very cute but did not respond to people very well. When brought out for Adoption Days he stayed in his kennel, coiled in the fetal position in the back and didn’t look at anyone.

Lots of people saw his beautiful face online and expressed an interest in adopting him, until they met. Then he would retreat into his shell and be lethargic, closed down and not at all social.

Heaven Can Wait asked me to visit with him and see if I could figure out why he was doing this and bring him out of his shell. I went to an Adoption Day and saw Bear right away as a very shy, insecure dog that had a lot of change and disruption in his life. He had several owners in a year, new homes, new voices, new smells, not a lot of time to bond and trust anyone before moving on. Shy dogs need patience, lots of it. I had Kirby with me and they seemed to like one another right away. I took Bear for a walk and saw how difficult he was on leash. He just wanted to bolt out of there. But with Kirby by his side and my silence and guidance, he soon walked with us and even stopped to pee.

I brought him back inside and did not speak with him, but I did start clicking with a clicker his good behaviors. He sat for me (Pups on Parole taught him basic obedience) and even let me pet him. Then came the real breakthrough. He did not respond to his name at all so I tried a different one – and I got the slightest look up. I finally saw his beautiful eyes. We now connected and I could see how distressed he was – why were all these people taking me home and bringing me back? Why were all these people reaching out to touch me when I clearly tell them I am uncomfortable with that? Why are all these people staring at me and making loud noises?

I spent about two hours with Bear and went home. But I could not forget his soulful eyes. I could not leave him to once again go to a new home that did not understand the shy, fearful dog and would not know how to continue the little bit of success we had in our first meeting.

So I decided to foster Bear and teach him enough trust to be ready for the right Forever Home.

After five days with Kirby and me, I knew that his Forever Home was ours.

Sharing the buggy with Kirby at events – happy & smiling more like Coco every day

So Bear, now named Benny, a name he loves and responds to, is officially ours.

His training has begun and we will continue to share his successes and challenges as he begins his path to becoming a much loved, hard working Love Dog!

Sue, Benny and Kirby


3 Responses

  1. Oh, Sue. What a wonderful story! You really CAN see the change in his little face. It’s amazing. Thank you for having the patience and heart that you have for the animals.

  2. What a wonderful story of how a dog and his owner found each and how a new family was formed! Bless Benny, Kirby and Sue!

  3. this is what i see in all pets they are like us just wanting a safe home and lots of love. i know because i too adopted a cat and he is a blessing to me. thank you for what you’ve done.

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