A Blessing in Disguise

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You would think that the day after your birthday would be a happy day because you just got all these presents! Three years ago my day wasn’t so great, actually it was awful. We had to put my dog, Bella, down after she got hit by a car. She was a great dog and my best friend. She followed me around everywhere at my grandparents’ farm and was always there to cheer me up when I was down. When I got told that she had to be put down I felt devastated. It was one of the hardest things to hear. It still makes me sad when I go to the farm and she’s not there. We ended up finding this other dog wandering around the farm after we put Bella down. My mom told me that Bella brought the dog to me because we needed each other. I believe that because we did need each other!

A couple days after we put Bella down this dog showed up at her doghouse. My grandma went outside to get the paper that morning and looked up at the doghouse to see a dog there that looked black and white. All she saw was blur at first. She had to take a double take because the dog was colored just like Bella. Bella was a black and white Beagle/Border Collie mix, and we always said she looked like one of the cows. She was short and stocky built like a beagle but a little taller. She had an all-black head with

gorgeous brown eyes. She went to go see the dog, but the dog was too scared and ran away into the field. The next day my grandma told my dad about the dog when he came down for chores that morning. My dad decided to try and feed it something because it looked hungry and then maybe it would come to him. The little dog came up to eat the food but he couldn’t be standing anywhere near him when he did or he would take off. He acted like that for about two to three weeks.

After those two to three weeks he got a little better. He started coming into the yard and following my grandpa and dad everywhere they went. He would be following them at their heels all day. They couldn’t get close enough to him to touch him though. We think he got abused by someone who had him and he ran away or either got dropped off alongside the road somewhere. He had scars all over his face and his ears. He always had his stubby tail down between his legs and his ears were back if you tried to touch him. He had his ears back I fear though not anger. I felt bad for him because he just had this terrified look in his eyes like he didn’t want to trust people again and felt scared to go near them.

After about two and a half months, he finally came around to at least hanging out by me and my grandma. We still couldn’t touch him but at least he was making some progress. He would follow us around on the farm but he would have to be at least ten feet away, otherwise he’d run away. He’d play with toys a lot, and when he did he looked like a deer prancing through the long grass to get the toy. He didn’t like to be confined at all. When we tried to bring him in the entryway he would act scared with his tail between his legs. I think it was because he felt he had no place to hide or run to if he felt the need to.

Somewhere around two months after that he finally started to let us touch him a little, if we could catch him that is! He would still have that terrified look in his eyes though. We decided to name him Bandit because of his all black head. My grandma wanted to name him Buster but she got over ruled! We think he was only about a year old, no older than two for sure. He was terrible when my grandma had to take him to the vet to get him checked out and to find out how old he was. She put him in the dog cage, which he hated a lot. We didn’t want him on a leash because if he would get out of his collar in Dyersville he would be gone. He went absolutely ballistic in the cage while driving there. He just didn’t like to be confined at all. He even got himself out of the cage while driving there. He was a terrified little dog!

Within another two months he decided he could trust me a little more. He followed me around more than usual. He jumped on me and nipped at my shirt and hands but that was normal. If I bent down to try and touch him when he jumped up he would back away. There were nights that I stayed at my grandma’s house when it would be really cold outside. On those nights Bandit would decide he could trust me enough to come in the entryway with me. If I would pet him he would have his tail between his legs and ears back all scared. I normally just let him sleep and not torment him because otherwise he wouldn’t ever come to trust me and he’d be scared of me. That was as much as he was willing to do for a while.

After a few more weeks, he became a totally different dog from the first time we found him. He ended up letting me pet him as long as I pet his butt first all the time. I don’t know why he made me do that but he always did. I was about the only one that could pet him without having to catch him. My grandma and brother could do the same every once in a while. He had to come to you, he didn’t like being caught or being held back. All the extra time I spent with him and love I gave him helped a lot, and dogs really notice those people. He would follow me in the house without me even noticing because he would sneak in right behind me. When he did get to go in I slept with him and he laid with me and sat on my lap on his own. Grandma used to tell me that he would whine when I left the farm wondering where I went. When I had to leave I missed him too!

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Mom was right when she said we needed each other. Bandit needed someone to love him and I needed him to comfort me. At first I didn’t think I was ready for another dog yet because only about a week had past, after we put Bella down. Having him around helped me get through the grief and loneliness I was feeling there without Bella. Bandit and I bonded right away, from the moment I saw him I knew I wanted to keep him. Bella knew I needed him and that’s why she sent him to me. “Because of his traumatic past, he will think that you are angry or will hit him violently. Often you can tell if a dog has been abused if he is afraid of sounds that normal dogs don’t react to, like ambulance sirens, loud noises and

fireworks”(The Doggington Post-Miller, Ron). Bandit was definitely scared anytime you went to touch him at first or he heard a loud noise. But, no matter what a dog has been through as long as you give it love, attention, and good care they will love you back and begin to trust humans again. Bandit is a good example of that, he used to be terrified of me and with the love, care, and attention I gave him, he came around to trusting me. He got hit by a car about a two years ago, and that was a very sad day! He was my best friend and we were always happy to see each other though! He was truly my blessing in disguise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Hess

Works Cited

Miler, Ron. N.p.. Web. 25 Sep 2013. <http://dogingtonpost.com/tips-for-handling-previously-abused-dogs/