By Connie Goedecke

Veteran HSS Rescuer and Foster Mom

Dodger, a 'special needs' Sheltie: at rescue, in foster care, and adopted into his forever home.

All dogs come into rescue bearing some mark of their former lives. For some, it's as simple as a matted coat, or a disease they've picked up. For others, it's an emotional response: fear, wariness, neediness, aloofness, withdrawal. For yet others, it's a limp from the buckshot in his flank, or a snaggle-toothed grin.

Dodger
Dodger
Dodger

So often, the key to receiving all they have to give is in being able to get past the mark they bring. If you've ever brought one into rescue, and watched carefully as you give him that first bath -- as the dirt is washed away, and you gently brush out mats -- you see the dog's esteem rise, the eyes get just that much less fearful, and perhaps the tail wags just a bit. It's as if they say, "You see what I can be! Thank you for looking past the dirt and dejection, and for seeing what I can be. I haven't felt this way in a long, long time."

So it is with the rest of their baggage. And so often the abundance of their love seems in direct relationship
to the baggage they brought with them. "You see what I can be! Thank you for looking past my obvious flaws, and for seeing what I can be. I haven't felt this way in a long, long time." Oh, and the rewards of the dog who knows he is loved BECAUSE of all that he is!

This isn't a 'special needs dog'! This is a 'special gifts dog'!

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