Emaciated Pittie shows me she has the Strength and Will to Live 💪

Walking into Animal Friends of the Valley’s, I locked eyes with a skinny fighter we later named Valerie. Surrounded by stuffed animals in her cozy corner of the shelter, it struck me how out of place she seemed—an emaciated dog amidst all that fluff. She’d just gotten there, fresh from the vet check, looking like she carried the weight of the world on her thin shoulders.

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

A Warm Setup for a Chilly Beginning

Valerie’s setup was touching, really. The team had gone all out, surrounding her with all these cuddly toys, creating a bit of a soft landing for her rough journey. There she was, in a room of her own, away from prying eyes, probably wondering what the heck was going on. And her empty food bowl? A good sign she hadn’t given up on chow time.

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

Treats and Zs: The First Bond

So there I am with Valerie, trying to figure out the best way to say “Hey, I’m a friend.” Figured I’d start simple: a treat. It’s kind of like the universal peace offering between humans and dogs, right? Valerie’s watching me, probably sizing me up, wondering if I’m another curveball life’s thrown her way. I pull out a treat, keeping it low-key, no big movements. You know, don’t want to spook her or anything.

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

She gives me this look, a mix of curiosity and “Do I have the energy for this?” It’s eye-opening. Here’s this tiny dog, been through who knows what, and she’s contemplating whether she’s up for the colossal effort of eating a treat. Makes you think. Anyway, she decides I’m alright and goes for it, nibbling on the treat with this careful, almost grateful manner. It’s like I passed the first test.

I keep it chill, tossing her another treat, trying to make sure she knows it’s all good between us. It’s funny how something as simple as giving a dog a treat can feel like you’re laying down the first brick on the road to recovery. It’s not about the snack, really. It’s about showing her that from here on out, she can expect kindness, a steady hand, and yeah, plenty more where that came from.

The Tough Shape She’s In

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

Getting a closer look, the signs of her rough journey were impossible to miss. Her nails were like they hadn’t seen a clipper in ages, overgrown to the point of discomfort. You’d think something as simple as trimming nails wouldn’t be a big deal, but here it was, a stark reminder of neglect. And her nose? Something going on there for sure. It’s those little details that hit you hard, painting a picture of just how long she’s been fending for herself without anyone to care for her needs.

Optimism in the Face of Gloom

Seeing a dog like Valerie can really test your spirit. It’s a rollercoaster of sadness and frustration, and part of you wants to look away. But here’s the thing—I like to think about where she’ll be a few months down the line. Imagine her, healthy, snagging snacks off someone’s plate, living the good life. That’s the goal.

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

It’s the Little Things

In tough spots, it’s the small victories that keep you going. Like Valerie getting excited over a treat—it’s a start. Reminds me of times I had to remind myself to keep pushing forward, focusing on the basics to get through another day. For Valerie, it’s about celebrating the small stuff, like enjoying a treat or two.

Easy Does It with the Grub

Now, you might wonder why not just let her feast like there’s no tomorrow. Well, it’s tricky. Dogs in her state can’t handle too much, too fast—it’s all about avoiding the dreaded bloat and getting her back on track with baby steps. So, we’re taking it slow, which is tough when all you want is to see her happy and full.

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

Digging Into Valerie’s Backstory

A good Samaritan had found her and made use of the shelter’s night drop. That’s basically a no-questions-asked kind of deal, a safe place where someone can leave a found pet after hours. It’s a neat setup for when folks stumble upon a lost soul like Valerie late at night and don’t know what to do with them.

Now, the collar—this was something that caught my eye. You’d expect, given Valerie’s rough state, that any collar she had on would be worn out, maybe even falling apart. But nope, this collar was in surprisingly good shape, almost new. It was a regular, nondescript collar, yet its condition seemed oddly at odds with everything else about her. It was as if this one piece of her didn’t match the story her body told of neglect and hard times.

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

This got me thinking. How did a dog who clearly had been through the wringer end up with a collar that looked like it barely spent a day around her neck? Was she lost and found, only recently falling on hard times? Or was there someone out there who cared about her but somehow let her end up in this state? The collar, rather than shedding light on her past, only added layers to the mystery of Valerie. It made me even more determined to figure out her story, to fill in the blanks that this little piece of fabric around her neck had left wide open.

Feeding Time and Future Plans

We’re on a careful feeding plan with Valerie, small portions more often, to help her gain strength without overwhelming her. The shelter’s already working on getting her health back on track, but she’s going to need a lot more help going forward.

A Little Help From Our Friends

This is where the power of sharing comes into play. Getting Valerie’s story out there could be the lifeline she needs. A rescue group with the resources for her long-term care would be ideal. I even pledged a chunk of change to help with her medical bills, hoping it encourages a rescue to step up.

The Art of “The Scoop”

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

Alright, let’s talk about “The Scoop.” It’s this move I tried with Valerie, aiming to scoop her up for a cuddle. But man, was it a reality check. She was so weak, she couldn’t even keep her head up. It hit me hard, seeing her struggle to hold onto that little bit of comfort.

Naming Valerie: A Fresh Start

We landed on the name Valerie—strong, healthy, a nod to the future we see for her. It’s all about that first step toward recovery, and with each treat and gentle pat, we’re seeing glimpses of the dog she’s meant to be.

Why Adoption is on Hold for Valerie

You might be wondering, with Valerie capturing hearts left and right, why isn’t she up for adoption yet? The thing is her journey’s been a bit more complicated, with her health and trust issues requiring a level of care that goes beyond what the average adopter can offer. That’s why the shelter’s leaning towards finding a specialized rescue group for her. These groups are set up to handle cases like Valerie’s—dogs who need extra medical attention, rehabilitation, and a gentle touch to get them ready for the life they deserve. It’s about making sure Valerie gets all the support she needs to heal, physically and emotionally, before she makes that big leap to a forever home. This approach ensures she won’t just survive but will thrive in her new life, surrounded by love and care tailored just for her.

sitting with dogs #33: Valerie

My Pledge and a Call for Community Support

I’ve seen firsthand what a difference the right care can make for dogs like Valerie, and it’s something I feel strongly about supporting. That’s why I’ve decided to kick things off by pledging a donation specifically earmarked for her care and rehabilitation. But here’s the thing—I know I’m not alone in wanting to see Valerie succeed. This is a call to our incredible community, to anyone touched by Valerie’s story, to consider chipping in. Whether it’s a few dollars, sharing her story, or sending good vibes her way, every little bit contributes to her journey towards a happier, healthier life. It’s about pooling our resources, energy, and love to create a wave of support that carries Valerie and others like her towards brighter days. Let’s show Valerie what it means to be part of a community that cares.


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