When my husband Jim and I moved to Northern California in 1997, we notified the various animals shelters and rescue organizations in the area of our interest in becoming foster parents for dogs. It didn’t take long until we had a house full of canines. Most of them came to us due to over crowded conditions in the shelters. We provided safe housing, lots of love and companionship and then one day, when the perfect forever family was found, off they would go to a new, happy life. But every once in awhile, one would come along that could never be put up for adoption. The sanctuary cases. The ones like Dewey.
He was turned in to the Nevada County Animal shelter at about 8 weeks of age, severely dehydrated, dying of starvation and terrified, truly terrified of being around people…being handled by people…being confined…being touched. Dewey was not just a frightened little pup, he was a frightened little “wild” pup and he was very, very sick. We’re not certain what became of his Mother, but from the looks of him, he had been on his own for quite some time. A kind hearted couple at a Northern California camp ground noticed this starving little pup hiding in the bushes. After a few days, they were able to capture him in a large box, lured in by a bit of left over cat food. The following morning, they kindly delivered him to The Nevada County Animal Shelter. Christened Dewey, he was immediately admitted into ICU. Sammie’s Friends, a 501©(3)non-profit organization located in Grass Valley, provided the funds for Dewey’s 3 day stay in ICU. His condition improved, but only slightly. He still suffered from chronic diarrhea, dehydration and his fear of people caused him to remain in a very anxious state. Emotionally, he had a really long road ahead of him. No way could a dog like Dewey survive the adoption process. One of the shelter administrators, aware of our work with “special needs” dogs, decided to give us a call. This special little pup, she explained, didn’t need a foster home…this special little pup needed sanctuary. The next day we drove to Grass Valley and brought him back to HartSong. He was only 9 weeks old.
Terrified of being in or anywhere near the house, he found safe haven, much to my dismay, in a large Juniper bush in the front yard. For the next 12 months, that’s where he lived…in the Juniper bush. Twice a day, we would put his food bowl near the opening of his den and only when the coast was clear of humans, would he inch out of his hiding place to gobble down his food. About a year went by and then one very special day, there he was, standing in the middle of the yard, away from the bushes. Slowly but surely, he started to trust.
2009 marks Dewey’s 4th year at HartSong.
He now spends his days romping and frolicking with the other dogs that live at the sanctuary. He has his favorite spot on the dog sofa and curls up with the rest of his buddies when it’s time for bed. Finally, he is one very happy dog. His major quirk? He is terrified of visitors. As soon as he spies a stranger, he immediately reverts to his old ways…back to the bushes. More than once I’ve been asked by concerned on-lookers, “what‘s wrong with that dog…is he OK?” So…just so you know, if you happen to visit the sanctuary and you notice a medium sized, brown-brindled dog, slinking from bush to bush, trembling, salivating and obviously very afraid, well that would be Dewey…the happiest little pup in the whole wide world.