A Quick Background
On August 12, 2015 I received a phone call about a little girl who needed some special attention. She was a 7 month old Chihuahua mix who had been living in a kennel with four other small dogs. She didn’t know human contact, she didn’t have any understanding of the world. She ate in that cage, she slept in that cage, she used the bathroom in that cage. It was all she knew.
I’ve always known about puppy mills and unethical home breeders but this one perplexed me. These dogs weren’t purebreds. Some were dogs the people had taken from the shelter. They bred them to sell puppies other people were willing to pay money for. It was an easy way to make extra money.
The First Week
When I picked her up, she was in bad shape both physically and emotionally. She had dermatic mange over the majority of her body. She also had no use or desire for human interaction. I let Kirby take charge which was ok with her. She stayed close to him and avoided me at all cost. She wore a collar with a leash attached which she drug behind her. The only way I could touch her was to get close enough to step on the leash which stopped her in her tracks. This went on for a little over a week. I fed her but Kirby was the one she trusted. She was very quick and very jumpy hence we decided Jilly Bean was the perfect name as she reminded me of a Mexican jumping bean.
Slowly she warmed up to me. Whenever I was sitting on the ground she would get just close enough for me to pet her jumping out of reach if I tried to pick her up. The only times she relaxed was during the night when she would actually snuggle close under the covers.
What a turnaround! Jilly Bean has become a carefree, happy, loving dog again. I think my favorite memory will always be the first time she discovered what a dog toy was. She flipped it in the air a gazillion times. It was her favorite toy - a small stuffed giraffe - that she carried everywhere. She would let Kirby play with it but not for very long. She didn't care for the squeaky ones but very much enjoyed pulling just about every toy from the playroom to the living room each night. Watching her deal with the ones bigger than her was hilarious.
She now came to me when I called her. She looked forward to meal times with very nice manners. She still followed Kirby but now easily came to me for attention. At night she snuggled under the covers next to my body, sometimes her little head resting on my arm. Yes, Jilly slept in the middle! She really learned from Kirby watching him and copying. Treats meant tricks. Kirby sat, Jilly looked at him and sat. Kirby stood up on his back legs, Jilly looked at him and stood up on her legs. She learned "outside potty" by watching him and copying. She especially liked when I said "good girl" with every fiber of her body wiggling with her tail. The only game she didn't like was when I had to leave for work. Kirby knows to go in his playroom for his breakfast so I can leave. Jilly figured out very quickly she didn't want to play this game so I would simply scoop her up every morning to carry her into the room.
Once she lost her fears, she learned very quickly - tricks, house training, games. She even became easier to photograph. Over time she became quite the curious little girl. A little love bug.
Our Goodbye Day
December 11, 2015 was the day we took her to the vet school to travel north with the Homeward Bound transport to her forever family. I keep thinking it will get easier saying goodbye but each time feels worst than the last. I pretty much held Jilly the entire time until I had to hand her over to be placed in the van. At that moment she peed on me so I know she was terrified. My heart breaking Kirby and I headed home with prayers for her safety. She would be missed.
Jilly Bean found her forever family! Not only does she have a human family who will lover her and keep her safe, she has a canine brother to play with. I received these pictures from Homeward Bound so I don't know who her new family is by name or the exact date she was adopted but it didn't take very long. I was told she was with her new family in time for Christmas. Merry Christmas Jilly Bean - we will always love you!!