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It has been almost a year since we got a telephone call saying our third dog was available.  We ran to the adoption agency to find a frightened, confused, yet hopeful little guy.  Love at first sight only scratches the surface!  He was our missing part.  He is our sweet Nicholas Edward Dannels.

At first, Nicholas was very frightened.  God only knows what all he had suffered on death row and in quarantine and at the hands of his former humans, but it left an emotional mark.  He would go from OK to feeling he must fight for his life at a moments notice.  I’m telling you, it broke our hearts to see him struggle so.  We knew we had to step up as parents and make it OK for Nicholas to let go and trust again.

Firstly, let me say in our home there is no yelling or hitting.  No one goes in a cage or is punished for bad behavior.  We reward and nurture the good.  We believe the bad lessens over time this way, and it has.

Nicholas didn’t even know how to play, but now he plays.  He didn’t know how to just relax and be loved.  Would you believe it if I told you now one of his favorite things is to get his back feet rubbed gently, especially between the pads?  Yes!  If you tried to wipe his face off, he was back to fighting for his life.  Now, he puts his face up and closes his eyes for me when I tell him he needs his face washed.

He is still very protective of me, but now he will let me protect him too.  He even came to me when something outside frightened him.  He puffs up like he is a Samuri warrior when he protects me.  I tend to “Mommy-out” and get in that “hold my purse” state of mind when I protect him.  He’s my baby!

He spends his time as one in a pack of 3 dogs.  I call them by big wolves.  He loves his bed.  All 3 share one dish, and Nicholas loves always being able to have kibble anytime he feels the need to munch.  He will put on his harness and walk with me.  He rides in the back of the Prius with the pack.  He has, thanks to Well Pets, gotten over his fear of the vet.

Here are 2 photos from last week.  Nicholas was posing for me.  I even told him which way to look and he did!

I wanted to share this with anyone who has ever taken in an animal or child with issues, you can’t undo what harm has been done, but you can reshape what they see as normal going forward.  I thought it would take 10 years to get Nicholas half this far, but love and kindness have brought him all this way.  He is happy.  He is loved.  He gives love.  He is wonderful.

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