We are often sent pictures of dogs that are waiting to be rescued. Floyd sends them from Attawapiskat and we asked the Nishnawbe-Aski police in Kashechewan for photos when they recently asked us to take some dogs through them. If people are surrendering or we are partnering with other rescues we also receive pictures ahead of time. The photos give us some idea of what to expect and are the beginning of each dog’s story with us. Lately though, I came to appreciate their true worth.  

In March of 2015, we rescued a lovely dog I named Adaire. She came down from Attawapiskat and was approximately three years old. She was unsure, wary, slightly beaten down and terrified of going through doors. She didn’t understand living in a house or how to accept care and affection. It is quite likely that her first tender touch came when she was in rescue care.

It is easy to have your heart broken by dogs like Adaire but that is not what they need. They are unable to move forward themselves so they need us to be strong while guiding them to the life they were meant to have.

Adaire had all she needed with her foster family. She went from a fear of stairs and not wanting to move far from the front door to eagerly following her person from room to room. She learned to be brave because her people believed in her and she came to trust and love. Adaire was open to possibilities.

As is always the case, the foster family can only take the healing process so far. It takes a forever family to finish the journey. We pride ourselves in the matches we make and we never rush. I believe people are sent the dogs they need so when a recently divorced woman applied to adopt Adaire I thought they might just rescue one another. I spent several hours speaking with the woman about her life, her expectations and all she had to offer Adaire. The foster mom also spoke with the woman and did the home visit. We all felt we had found Adaire a home in which she would flourish. Sadly, it took over a year to discover we were wrong. All I will say is that Adaire did her part but the woman did little more than bask in the light of her dog without offering her much at all.

The tale of Adaire’s return is a long and winding one but she is now back with her foster family and beginning again. I let this dog down terribly and I now must make it up to her.  

I knew all Adaire had gone through in her life but it was only when I went back to her picture, and the beginning of her story with us, that I truly appreciated all she had been through. When I put her past picture next to her present one, I felt sad, proud, hopeful, guilty, happy and determined. This girl has come so far and continues to recover from the damage done to her. She learns quickly and wants so much to be whole. It will take time and a forever family to take her the rest of the way but there is no truer rescue than this girl.