We first met Callie over 2 years ago, in early 2021. She came in through our Diekman Regional Rescue Program from one of our shelter partners in the Central Valley. Callie had 7 puppies with her. She was sent to a foster home for a few weeks to finish nursing her puppies. Her foster family noted that Callie could sometimes be shy with new people, but warmed up when she was given patience, treats, and affection. She had a calm, gentle temperament and loved to spend time with her people. Once Callie finished nursing her puppies, they returned to our Oates/Detkin Animal Community Center and quickly found homes.
The next time we met Callie, her shy and nervous behaviors had increased dramatically. In her adopted home, she wasn’t given space and time to gradually adjust to visitors and new people, and her fear of strangers became worse and worse over time. Callie was brought back to us, and it became clear our staff would have to work hard to regain her trust and make her feel safe again.
Our Behavior staff, Darci and Gee, quickly made it their mission to help Callie open up again. She was given a quiet room away from major foot traffic, and Gee and Darci worked with her daily to gain her trust by giving her time to warm up at her pace. Over time, more staff and volunteers were introduced to Callie until she had a large circle of friends that loved and adored her.
Once someone was added to Callie’s ever-widening circle of friends, she showed them her true personality. A quiet dog, she preferred laying near her people. She would get small bursts of energy, running after toys in the park and bringing them back to her person. She loved her walks, and even made friends with a few dogs along the way. Thanks to the dedicated time of our staff and volunteers, Callie was improving and truly blossoming.
Time passed by, and Callie still had not found a new family to take her home. We did what we could to make our shelter as home-like as possible for her in the meantime. She went on day trips and outings with staff.
We celebrated her birthday.
And while Callie was happy getting tons of love and attention from her circle, we knew it was no replacement for a home and family of her own. We searched and searched for a family that would understand Callie’s need for patience when meeting new people and adjusting to new situations. She had lots of interest, but no one felt ready to take on the commitment that would be necessary to take Callie home.
Until, finally, Callie met with a potential family. She was nervous, just like she always was when meeting new people. But they understood it would take time, and came back to see her again and again. Each time, Callie warmed up more and more. Our Behavior team talked them through the logistics of how they could make Callie comfortable if they decided to take her home. It would take her time to adjust, but we would be there every step of the way. After meeting at our shelter a few times, our staff began bringing Callie to the family’s home for short visits to get her comfortable with their space and help her transition easier. The process was slow, but the family was patient and determined not to give up on her. Finally, they knew it was time. Callie was their dog, and they were ready to take her home forever.
Some of Callie’s friends loaded up the car with treats, toys, and comfort items from all the people who had loved her so much. At her send off, there were tears, both happy and sad.
Just a few days ago, Callie came back to HSSV – not to be returned, but to visit all her friends and show them how happy she was now that she had her forever people. Callie is thriving with the family who never gave up on her and who continued to see the big heart behind the nervous, scared dog. It’s a new chapter for her, and one that we know will be filled with the kind of love she’s always deserved.
Callie wouldn’t be where she is now without the incredible dedication, time, support, and pure love from a very special group of people. Callie’s circle of friends poured their hearts and souls into teaching Callie to trust the world again and finding a home for her where a bright future would be possible. Thank you to everyone who supported this special girl along her journey – from her circle of friends to those who watched and rooted for her from afar. So many of you helped make a difference in this sweet girl’s life and we are all so grateful for her happy ending!