Hi, my name is Leena. I am a two year young cattle dog mix. This week’s Second Chance Pet Column is devoted to me and my journey to recovery, because it is a special story and I am a special dog.

I arrived at Second Chance back in July. I won’t share the details of my life prior to receiving my second chance, but I was pretty broken on the inside. I was so afraid of people that I spent my first week cowering in the corner of my dog run, literally too fearful to move, just facing the wall.

Fortunately I arrived at the right place. The people that work and volunteer here have the biggest, most compassionate hearts and knew I needed to begin trusting again, but on my terms and pace. There is no rushing through the kind of damage that had been done to my soul.

In the beginning, staff and trained volunteers would just quietly sit with me. They didn’t try to touch me or hold me or force me to do anything. They just accepted me and of course fed me and cleaned up my messes, as I was too afraid to make them outside. And, when I was ready, they gently cleaned my body from the infestation of ticks I had arrived with).

After a week or so I started to feel courageous enough to go through my dog door to my outdoor yard at the shelter, where I spent more time healing, laying in the sun and watching everyone closely. I slowly started understanding that these people were good people. They were gentle and kind and were helping me.

One day, a staff member I was becoming familiar passed by and I felt a lightness in my heart I hadn’t felt for a long time. The feeling traveled from my heart all the way to my tail, which wiggled a little bit, not a lot, but the staff member noticed it and smiled big. It felt really good.

After a few weeks of getting stronger and lighter the staff introduced me to a small homeless dog who was very brave and friendly around people. She very sweet and unthreatening and we became friends right away. She taught me so many things about trusting people. My heart and mind started to shed the dark heaviness more quickly with her at my side.

My tail began doing all kinds of wagging and it felt so good that I soon wanted to play with my new friend and so games of chase ensued in the outdoor yard. I could tell the staff were very happy and very impressed with my running. Some would watch and laugh, one even cried. People are good but they are also very strange sometimes…

Eventually I was able to trust people enough that I was ready for a foster home where I could learn about being a family dog in a loving home. I am thriving here and everyone feels I am now ready to find my forever home!

This is where you come in. I would like my forever people to be like my shelter staff and volunteers, loving, gentle and patient. And, since dogs give me so much confidence and teach me so many important things, my new home should also have a nice doggie sibling for me. I have travelled a long way and am ready for this, so get yourselves ready for all I have to give back.

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for over 26 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.