The 3-year-old dog was so badly abused that everything scared her to the point that she didn’t even know how to be a dog.
Dogs penned up at puppy mills or collected like objects by animal hoarders have an incredibly difficult time adjusting to a normal life once they’re rescued.
They cringe at the feel of a human’s touch. They can’t tolerate bright lights or the sun. They’re petrified of noise and sudden movements.
It’s heartbreaking to see how badly they’ve been harmed when stuck in such a hopeless situation.
The sweetest little dog named Blossom was kept in a house with 160 other dogs. Her living situation was unfathomable. The filth. The stench. The unsanitary conditions.
Rescuers swept in and removed Blossom and her housemates from a home in California. The owner was charged with animal cruelty. The dogs were distributed among three different county animal shelters for care and assessments.
Rocky Kanaka, an Emmy nominated TV host for the Netflix show Save Our Shelter, pet chef and pet rescue advocate, heard about the animals’ plight and offered to help however he could.
“We went to the animal shelter to get these dogs into foster care. I decided to foster Blossom. But her name wasn’t Blossom when we found her. In fact, she didn’t have a name, which just broke my heart. So we asked our Dog’s Day Out community what name they thought best suited her and put it up for a vote. Blossom was the winner and she’s been Blossoming ever since.”
Blossom trembled endlessly, kept her tail tucked between her legs and couldn’t make eye contact with a human.
“She was just terrified. She had those big, loving cartoon eyes that just say, ‘Help me!’ I scooped her up and put her in a crate and took her home. We just sat in the garage and she had violent shaking. She hid under the table and wouldn’t even drink out of a water bowl. Mentally, she just shut down. For days, she couldn’t seem to function.”
Rocky has fostered dogs for years and thought it might take a couple of weeks for Blossom to turn her life around. But those couple of weeks turned into a couple more weeks and then months.
“Blossom didn’t know how to be a dog. Everything was a first for her. She’d never felt grass before, so when she’s putting her little paws on it, she’s just terrified. Even the sunlight scared her. Everything scared her. If you looked at her or made eye contact, she would run.”
Instead of forcing her to leave her hiding spot, Rocky moved the table and built her a little teepee that made her feel safe and secure. He began hand-feeding her in order to build trust. He also cooked all of her meals and packed them with extra moisture since she wouldn’t drink water.
It took six weeks before she tried to drink out of a water bowl. Two months after Blossom arrived, she felt comfortable enough to jump on the couch and sit next to Rocky, which both startled him and thrilled him.
Blossom became friendlier and more confident. She began greeting the other rescue dogs when they arrived. When she went out on a potty break one day, it was the first time she wagged her tail. She started running around, full of joy and happiness – finally!
“It was one of the happiest moments of my life and absolutely hers. She was almost a three-year-old dog. Getting to be a part of that made the three-month journey worth it.”
Watch Blossom come out of her shell and become a happy, frisky pooch. The good news: she eventually was adopted by a sweet woman to start her new life full of love and hope.
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