At times I forget how we must look to our pets. Do they think we are insane people who are constantly watching them go to the bathroom? All joking aside I feel like when animals come into a shelter setting we forget how scary it can be. New place. New smells. New people. And tons of other animals. It must be incredibly unnerving.
Recently we got in a dog. Well, a puppy to be exact. She was only 6 months old and because she was so young we assumed she would be a happy, bouncing pup. We were wrong. A coworker of mine informed me that when she tried to enter her kennel, Lily charged her and tried to bite her shoe. It didn’t take long for most people to become weary of her. I couldn’t understand how everyone could be so put off by this dog so I decided I would look for myself. As I approached her kennel Lily started growling and showing me every sign she didn’t want me there. It soon progressed to barking and lunging. That’s when I realized she was shaking, almost uncontrollably. She was terrified. And I was this looming person she didn’t know standing in front of her kennel. To add to it on the inside of her kennel she faced an enormous barking dog. So what did I do? I got down on the floor. I made myself small and vulnerable and let her sniff me. It took about two minutes before I turned around and saw her tail wagging. I decided to cover the inside of her kennel as well so she didn’t have to be face to face with an unknown dog. Before I knew it we were friends.
A situation like that put it all in perspective for me. We have to think like a dog. We have to put ourselves in their shoes and truly try to understand how overwhelming entering a shelter can be. I think that is the least we can do for these animals that end up homeless through no fault of their own.