As Ralph Waldo Emerson so brilliantly said, "Life is a journey, not a Destination." For Henrietta, a rescue dog that has traveled an already storied road in her young life, her rescue journey was driven by a strong desire to reach the ultimate destination for a rescue dog – a loving forever home.
The first leg of Henrietta’s journey began when You Lucky Dog Rescue was contacted by volunteers at an Atlanta area animal control shelter seeking rescue assistance for a beautiful, young boxer that had been viciously attacked by two dogs and left to die. Henrietta was brought to the animal control facility, and due to the extent of her injuries, the shelter volunteers did not know if she would make it through the night. Henrietta’s determination to survive helped her to beat the odds, and she awoke the next morning to the sounds of rescue.
We transported Henrietta to one of our partner vets where she was stabilized and, thanks to financial donations from our wonderful supporters and the surgical talents of Dr. Dodson of Forsyth Animal Hospital, she underwent major, life-saving surgery. During the attack, she was bitten so deeply that several of her organs suffered severe trauma. The hospital staff showered her with loving care during her extended hospitalization. It is the physical injuries that are obvious. The deep scars of emotional trauma cannot be seen with the eyes; these injuries are experienced by the soul and revealed by the heart. Healing Henrietta’s spirit would be the next paw steps in her rescue journey.
Henrietta was placed in foster care with one of You Lucky Dog Rescue’s trusted volunteers, Emily Long -
I'll never forget the day I met Henrietta. You could literally see the pain and sadness in her eyes. When I put her in the car that afternoon, she just held her head down and stared at the floor all the way home. I was told she had been a stray and was brutally attacked by two other dogs. She came home to me with what looked like hundreds of stitches, scratches, bruises and a broken spirit. She seemed to love and trust me instantly, and all humans for that matter. All day, every day she wanted love...to be held, to be snuggled and to give hugs!” – Emily Long
Emily, a doggie mom to two wonderful rescue dogs, would soon observe that while Henrietta’s love and need of humans was strong, it was masking her complete and debilitating fear of other dogs. Henrietta could not be around other dogs without going into extreme defense mode. Imagine the emotional trauma she suffered from the vicious attack she endured. It became clear that in order for Henrietta to enjoy an emotionally balanced life in an adoptive home, professional support was critical. We knew exactly where to turn to keep Henrietta’s journey on the right path.
Our friends at Argos Dogworks have worked with several of our rescue dogs that needed to regain confidence after suffering emotional trauma. Henrietta would prove to be one of their most challenging rehabilitation cases:
“When Henrietta first came to us, two things were very clear: she loved, loved, LOVED people, but hated dogs. After having gone through such a dramatic experience, she had what could be best described as post -traumatic stress disorder, but in dog form. She trusted humans, but she didn't trust dogs. Harder still, her aggression was actually justified. This made her rehab process all the more difficult.” – Josh Donahue, Argos Dogworks
Typically, a dog in training spends two-three weeks with the Argos Dogworks team. In Henrietta’s case, a longer-term rehabilitation was merited.
“Then came the waiting game. Often people think dog training should be magic wand waving, you snap your fingers, and everything is better. Unfortunately, sometimes it's more about time, and such was the case with Henrietta. We laid a foundation, built a solid relationship with her, gave her as much guidance as possible, and then began bringing her into the socialization yard with our balanced pack daily. At first, she would shut down, try to hide, even lunge occasionally... but over time, the tide turned. The changes were almost unnoticeable, infinitesimal at first, but they started to happen and that's when things really got exciting!” - Josh Donahue, Argos Dogworks
Eventually, Henrietta began to show her playful side. The side of her that was willing to demonstrate she was actually enjoying not only her rescue journey, but celebrating the pure joy of being a dog! The team at Argos Dogworks fell in love with Henrietta and started campaigning to find the perfect home for her; one that would continue her rehabilitation training structure in a forever home environment while providing her with love and safety. The final leg of Henrietta’s rescue journey was coming to a close. A family member of the Argos team had, from a distance, followed Henrietta’s journey. They would be her destination – her forever family.
Henrietta is but one example that RESCUE WORKS. When compassionate and committed organizations, individuals, and businesses come together to provide support to an animal in need, miracles can and do happen. Cases that appear to be a lost cause become opportunities for not only the dogs, but also the humans, to embrace that we are all interconnected and here to help each other. Our journeys are to be traveled together – every step of the way.
Argos Dogworks – www.argosdogworks.com