From Skinny Shelter Dog to Playful Family Pet – The Empowering Tale of Daffodil’s Transformation

Many people assume that the dogs who spend months—or even years—in shelters are aggressive or reactive towards strangers. In truth, most of the dogs that become long-term residents of animal shelters are exactly the opposite, they’re timid. 

For this beautiful Pitty, the sights, sounds, smells, and daily stress of life in a shelter almost completely masked her personality. It was only thanks to some very attentive humans that Daffodil ever got the chance to open up, and not all timid dogs are quite as lucky. 

Dog rescue: Emaciated Pitbull Was So Terrified The Shelter Had To Sedate Her

Thanks to her new mom, Renee Hull, Daffodil is now a happy, playful pup, but she wasn’t always like that. Daffodil’s story starts with a painful and long stay in the shelter, followed by a long journey to come out of her shell in a foster home before finally getting her happy ending.

On The Brink of Euthanasia 

Found in Phoenix, Arizona, Daffodil’s early life was tough, to say the least. Emaciated and starving when she was found, things didn’t look good for poor Daffodil. In the county where she was found, a dog in her condition would typically be euthanized. Thankfully, Miss Daffodil’s rescuers saw her potential and decided to sponsor her health journey. 

Dog rescue: Emaciated Pitbull Was So Terrified The Shelter Had To Sedate Her

Daffodil was transferred to the rescue where she was kept in a kennel while she started to regain her strength. A naturally nervous pup, the loud and often hectic environment of the kennel only made Daffodil retreat further into her shell. She was healing physically, but emotionally she wasn’t doing well. 

Daffodil’s nervousness was so pronounced that the rescue staff began sedating her to keep her calm and relatively comfortable. Up to three times a day for more than a year, Daffodil was sedated, giving her almost no time to be socialized with her rescuers or other dogs. No potential adopters seemed interested in Daffodil, either, and her future was starting to look uncertain. 

New Beginnings: From Shelter To Foster Home

Dog rescue: Emaciated Pitbull Was So Terrified The Shelter Had To Sedate Her

Renee Hull of Peoria, Arizona discovered Daffodil when the pup was around two years old. An experienced foster who had also owned timid dogs in her past, Renee was actually visiting the shelter in search of a different breed to foster. Renee had raised Boxers (a bully breed like the Pitbull) in the past, but she wasn’t thinking of bringing a Pitbull home anytime soon. Then, Renee met Daffodil. 

“I’ve had a timid dog, so I immediately recognized her fear,” says Renee of that first encounter. “I sat down on the ground and she eased her way over to me. When she crawled over and laid her head in my lap, it was love.”

A few moments of patience and quiet had helped Renee win over the very nervous Daffodil, but there was still plenty of work to be done. After over a year in the shelter, Daffodil was completely shut down, and she needed a big change if she had a chance of thriving. 

Tackling Training & Timidness 

Once Daffodil was no longer in a loud, constantly overstimulating environment, her progress began to show little by little. Just two years old when she first came home with Renee, Daffodil took nearly nine months to fully come out of her shell and show off her personality. Of course, there were also lots of things Daffodil needed to learn, never having been in a home before. 

Dog rescue: Emaciated Pitbull Was So Terrified The Shelter Had To Sedate Her

“She’s strong and has a high prey drive,” says Renee. Once some timidness wore off, Daffodil also had to learn some manners—like not pulling the leash, recall, and basic commands. For Renee, it was also important to get Daffodil properly trained to protect her against breed prejudice. Pitbull owners are often unfairly held to higher standards than owners of other breeds, something foster families have to consider when training Pitties and other bully breeds. 

At first, Daffodil was meant to be a temporary foster, a dog for Renee to train and work with until she was ready for a forever home. But, like so many fosters before her, Renee quickly became a “foster fail” and decided to keep Miss Daffodil. 

Daffodil Today—Happy, Healthy, & Playful

Not the same nervous dog she was just a year ago, Daffodil now loves life and never needs a sedative to take a good nap. Instead, she just needs to hear the sound of her mom’s heartbeat. 

“If I lay down to nap on the couch, she oh-so-carefully climbs up and stretches out long between me and the cushions, then puts her head on my chest, and she’s out!” says Renee. If her mom isn’t available to sleep on, Daffodil will also settle for a comfy bed.

Dog rescue: Emaciated Pitbull Was So Terrified The Shelter Had To Sedate Her

Daffodil also has a playful side and is making the most of her baskets full of toys. While she loves to romp, play, chew, and tug on her toys, she’s very respectful of everything else in Renee’s home and never messes with anything else. 

Dog rescue: Emaciated Pitbull Was So Terrified The Shelter Had To Sedate Her

“This girl is the best-behaved and most affectionate dog I’ve ever had. I get big tail wags and “whoos” as a greeting now, and her tail is nonstop if I’m near,” says Renee of the now three-year-old Daffodil. “I’m so glad I gave her a chance—she seems so grateful to have a home and be loved.” 

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