Rufus the Shy Dog

Next up in our series of less adoptable pets is Rufus.  He found his loving home with Sara.  Here is his story in her words:

“Three years ago, I went to adopt a dog out of a high-kill Los Angeles county shelter, thinking that a dog there would be in most need of a home.  I ended up getting charmed by a Chihuahua mix who was in a small pen with about six other dogs.  He sniffed my fingers through the fence, but when they took him out of the pen, he didn’t react to me at all.  That didn’t bother me because I adopted a female Chow mix who acted the same way when I first met her.  I figured the Chihuahua mix would have time to bond with me later. 

Rufus had been in the shelter for a month.  I think they had forgotten about him.  He had been a stray who was hit by a car, and they had never taken him off of a medical hold, even though his injury had faded to a scar on his side.  I got them to release the medical hold and adopted him that day.

Two days later, I picked him up after he was neutered and brought him home.  He was quiet and unresponsive in the car.  I got him home, took him out of the car, set him down in the backyard, and that was the last time I touched him for two weeks.  It turned out that he was incredibly shy of people.  He was great with my other dogs, respectful of my cats, but didn’t see the purpose of me at all.  I don’t know if he was born shy or if he was mistreated, but he certainly wasn’t like any other dog I had ever lived with.

It took a while before he would come in the house, and he would only do that if he was following my other dogs and if I wasn’t anywhere near the doorway.  He had definite issues with doorways, and even now, three years later, he will revert to having doorway fears again.  Even now, he will run if I reach toward him. 

Rufus has become a happy dog in his own way.  He never leaves the house and yard.  If I want him to come in the house, I have to be patient, because there’s no catching him if he doesn’t want to come in.  But he sleeps on my bed and has a favorite spot (on a cat tree) in the living room, and he even jumps up on me when I come home from work.  If I sit down outside, he will come over and let me pet him.  I think still doesn’t see the point of being touched, but he wants to do what the other dogs do. 

I have to accept that Rufus will never be a “normal” dog.  No one but me can ever touch him.  I can’t walk him or take him places. I adopted another Chihuahua earlier this year to be Rufus’ buddy, and they are the best of friends, running and playing all day long.  Rufus also loves to wrestle with my six-month-old kitten and is surprisingly gentle with her.

I have learned more about patience and kindness from Rufus than I think I have learned from any other dog.  Life with him is frustrating at times, but when I see him get over things that once scared him, or I watch him running happy laps around the yard, I’m glad that I was able to give him another chance at life.”

Remember, Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day is August 12th!


One response to “Rufus the Shy Dog

  1. wow this is a great story. Rufus is very lucky.
    Both our dogs are rescues and so is one of my cats and my bunny. The cat was a hard to adopt pet from the local cats protection shelter as he was 8 years old and just plain old white with a couple of black splodges.He had been there 7 months. he has been with us nearly 4 years now, what a character he is.

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