Today marks one year since Scarlett came home with us!! On March 23, 2011, we went to Miami-Dade Animal Services in the midst of a shelter-wide Distemper outbreak. A highly contagious disease, they needed to clear the shelter to disinfect it; to do this, all dogs needed to be adopted out or they would be put to sleep.
When we brought Scarlett home, she was severely malnourished and starved, terrified of everything and fear aggressive towards animals. She tried to kill Harley and almost succeeded. At the vet, she was tested and diagnosed with Distemper. No one was sure if she would survive, let alone ever learn to function as a well-adjusted dog. We also didn’t know she had an old injury that went untreated: a broken, dislocated leg.
Things we considered normal were all new and frightening to her. She would lash out, run away or plaster herself to the floor. Once I yelled during a football game on TV and she freaked out, crying and darting around the room. At the time, we knew she had been abused but had to learn all of her triggers.
Though it is amazing to see how far she’s come, training with Scarlett continues every single day. She is still frightened of things like loud noises, cars and new people. Her aggression has subsided considerably but it’s something we work on daily. She amazingly survived Distemper; only 20% of infected puppies live through it. Her leg is improving with medicine and we continue to pray that FHO surgery is months or years away.
Scarlett is our big mama, our tough survivor and our proof that all dogs can change. After all, dogs are only reflections of their caregivers.
Happy 1st Coming Home Day, Scarlett! I am so lucky to call you “mine” 🙂