Sunday, August 03, 2014

A little spark of joy - The Brandy and Cheetah Story

I've been threatening my friends for months that I was going to write this story. It's been hard for me to get started because I can't say or even think "Brandy and Cheetah" without crying.

Cheetah and Brandy

I originally met Brandy and Cheetah months ago in February.

These two girls were dumped by their owner. I don't remember why but I do remember that they had spent their entire life outside. Cheetah (on the left) is younger than Brandy. I think they're about a year apart. Neither girls were spayed.

If you came into PACC alone, you made friends quickly looking for a buddy to walk either Brandy or Cheetah with you. They were so bonded to each other that they had to be taken out at the same time because the other would cry and fuss if left behind in the kennel.

The two girls would walk side by side and occasionally Cheetah, the younger one, would just jump on Brandy's back trying to initiate play. Brandy would either try jumping back on her or would jump up and spin around. It was like they were so used to the kennel and not being able to move around too much and they would suddenly realize, "HEY! We're outside! WOOHOO!" I would call it "their little spark of joy".

To be honest, these two were kind of a pain to walk. They had to be corrected and made to sit because they're very strong dogs and too much jumping around and spinning is really not good leash walking. And who's going to adopt two large dogs if they can't even be controlled on a leash?

The annoyance was worth it because you could tell how much they loved each other and how important it was that they stay together.

They would sleep together, curled up in a little ball on the dog beds at PACC that are made for one dog. Somehow they could squish together enough that they both would fit.

A volunteer made a flyer for their kennel that stated they were a bonded pair and would like to be adopted together.

A few weeks into walking them, I asked someone if they thought Brandy was pregnant. She was getting kind of lumpy.

Yes, Brandy was pregnant. She was immediately spayed and her puppies aborted. She was put back in the kennel with Cheetah. Cheetah watched over her and kept her safe during her recovery time.

Months later in May, I came in one evening and I saw Cheetah outside with Tucson Ruff Runners. Ruff Runners is a volunteer group that runs the dogs. They felt that with the energy that both of these dogs had, that running them would help and maybe cut down on their jumping and spinning during leash time. It works great for so many dogs and it worked for these two.

I looked at Cheetah and noticed she wasn't her normal spunky self. Her head was down and she seemed nervous. Her tail was between her legs and all she wanted to do was sit on the bench or go back to her kennel. A runner was trying to get her to run but she wouldn't go anywhere. I was concerned she had hurt herself.

I asked a volunteer what was wrong and she said, "Cheetah is missing her sister. They were both adopted today but by different people."

and this is where I'm crying. I'm crying as I write this and it's already been months.

Because Brandy was already spayed, she got to go home with her new adoptive parents right away. Cheetah on the other hand, still had to be spayed and had to sit alone in her kennel for days until her spay surgery.

(I hate crying) I hate writing this story because it truly breaks my heart. While I was happy that both were adopted, I was still upset to see Cheetah so sad.

Cheetah simply could not function without her sister. I knew she'd probably get over it and I hoped that Brandy was fitting in well with her new family.

Pretty Brandy

If you're crying now, get another tissue because my story gets sadder.

A month later in June, I see Brandy sitting in a half kennel. She was sitting on the floor and her head was down. She wouldn't look up at anyone passing her kennel.

I immediately pulled the paperwork to see why she was dumped at PACC again.

"Dog is shy around men", was all it said. 

WHAT? I read it again.

"Dog is shy around men".

That's all it said. There was no other reason.

If it weren't for the kajillion people roaming around, I would have dropped to my knees right then and there and bawled my eyes out.

Instead, all I did was tell Brandy, "Hi, good girl!" and I gave her a few treats.

My only idea was to find out Cheetah's owners, call them to check on Cheetah and see if maybe they wanted another dog. My idea was stupid as that information is private and no one would give it to me anyway.

I didn't know what to do. I tried telling her story verbally but found it impossible because I would cry every time. Really, I would. So instead, I networked her on Facebook with a brief story. I knew one of these days I would get around to writing it all out.

Around the same time Brandy was returned, PACC started an enrichment program. Each Monday, volunteers take out certain dogs for training. I am part of that program so I chose Brandy.

The first time I put the leash on her, she was excited to see me but there was no happy spinning as we walked out to the training area. There was no spirit in her step and no spark of energy.

She was just kind of "there". She was sad and I felt it radiating from her.

A couple months have passed and Brandy is happier. She gets her walks, her runs and her weekly training sessions.

Last week she learned "down". I was so excited for her that I rolled her onto her back for a belly rub and noticed that she still had 9 staples in her belly from her spay surgery so many months ago. We worked a little more on her training but I wanted to take her up to the vet to get those staples removed.

Brandy staying "down" with Kat. See...she likes kids, too.

It hit me that the owners that had her for a month must not have paid much attention to her. They didn't even notice she had 9 staples in her belly.

As I was walking her to the vet, the volunteer trainer came with me. All of a sudden, Brandy jumped up and did a little spin. She did her little "spark of joy" spin that she used to do with Cheetah.

"Does she do that often?" the trainer asked.

I said, "She used to. I haven't seen her do it in a long time!"

Brandy pranced with happiness to the vet's office. I held her up and they very carefully pulled out the 9 staples. She didn't wince, she didn't whine or cry. Afterwards, she gave us all kisses and I took her back to the tent for the night.

The only reason I can write this story now is because I can mostly do it without crying. Brandy has her little "spark of joy" back which makes her story easier for me to tell.

However, she is still sitting in her kennel in the tent. Her story won't be completed until she finds a real forever home. She may have needed her sister in the past, but now she needs a soft place to rest and a back yard that she can fill with sparks of joy.

Brandy is about 2 years old. She is at Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, AZ. Her ID#A470595

Thank you for reading and sharing.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...