One year ago today, my husband and I made a decision that changed the course of two lives. We went to the Lynnwood, Washington chapter of the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
We had been without a pet dog for two years, and it was time to welcome that special spirit back into our home – that spirit that only a dog can bring.
From the PAWS website we found Newan and Babies – a bonded pair of dogs who had been either taken from a neglectful environment, or surrendered to authorities. They were both listed as Australian Shepherd mixes; Newan, a male of six years old; and Babies, a female of seven years old. Both breed and age were guesses, since there was really no way to know their entire history.
We were told that Newan and Babies had been so neglected that their extremely matted fur contained nails and other construction materials stuck in the mats. We had to wait a few days to finalize the adoption because they had both suffered from bordetella pertussis (kennel cough), they were underweight, and their health would need to be cleared by a veterinarian on staff.
When the day came (one year ago) that they were ready to come home with us, we were very excited.
We didn’t know how long Newan and Babies had had their names. They had come to Washington from California. Had they been given these names from birth? Did the original California rescuers give them their names? Did PAWS give them these names? Our inquiries were not answered, so we decided to change their names to something that sounded close to Newan and Babies to avoid traumatizing their identity on top of everything else.
Newan became NEWMAN, and Babies became PAISLEY. My husband and I are big fans of Paul Newman and Brad Paisley, so it made sense.
From day one, we noticed evidence of abuse with Newman and Paisley. They did not know how to play. Let me repeat: THEY DID NOT KNOW HOW TO PLAY. In fact, both dogs seemed afraid of toys, as if balls and stuffed, squeaky objects had been used to hurt them.
Both Newman and Paisley disliked being touched on the behind. Pet his or her tail, and they would run away. It seemed as though their tails had been pulled often, and probably violently. Not to mention that Paisley would run with her rear-end down. This suggested that she’d been kicked often.
I also believe, as evidence would suggest, that Newman and Paisley had been trapped or tricked prior to an abusive human encounter. They would not, and still do not, go into a room that has no exit. It was even difficult for them to walk in front of us because I think they feared they’d be kicked.
It is sad to think about the past abuse they’ve experienced. On the other hand, it feels so good to know that we’ve given Newman and Paisley a better life.
The biggest test Newman and Paisley had to face was our grandchildren. We worried the dogs would be frightened or aggressive toward smaller humans (let face it, we’ve all been a little uneasy with smaller humans from time to time). Our fears were quickly forgotten, because Newman and Paisley are FABULOUS with our grandchildren!
“Paisley is just so sweet”, says Sam, our 6-year old grandson.
Sam is right. Both dogs are very sweet. Even though they don’t play with toys, and still haven’t overcome all of their trust issues, they are so much happier than they were on that day one year ago. I think they feel settled in our home, and are so happy to be cuddled, petted and loved.
I recommend adopting a rescue dog. We love the Australian Shepherd breed, and looked for one in our search to adopt. We didn’t get full-bred animals, but we see the best characteristics of the breed in Newman and Paisley. We are so happy with our choice.
Happy anniversary, Newman and Paisley!