Achieving Balance and Harmony

COMMUNITY

Kathie Enser

Quincy, a German Shepherd, had been tied outside on the banks of the Mississippi River 24/7. She had been beaten, was positive for heartworm, and her ears bitten raw by flies. Finally a concerned neighbor called Animal Control and she was taken away. From there she went from shelter to pound to shelter. The internet ad said URGENT - no space available - only 24 hours until she is put down! I looked at those brown eyes and the sweet, happy expression on her face and knew I had to save her. How could an animal have been so abused and still be so trusting?

She was rescued on August 5, 2006 and renamed Lady Kate. Although I did make the drive to bring her home, the first steps in Kate’s new walk weren’t just with me. She moved in with Georgia - my neighbor, 83 years young - and the bond and the healing began for both of them. Georgia was house bound and unable to drive, go for a walk, or even step out onto her deck or see her flowers. But along came Kate, and all of sudden the inside was a much bigger place. There was Kate at her new person’s bedside while winter ice storms threw branches against the house; Kate with her head on Georgia’s lap while she told her stories about her childhood and sang her songs and read her poetry. I am sure Kate didn’t understand the words, but she did understand that she was finally with someone who cared about her. They needed each other and this new relationship was magical for both of them. Now when Georgia woke up in the morning or went to sleep at night it was to a wet nose and a kiss on the face. When Kate fell asleep it was inside the house on her very own doggy bed at her owner's bedside. They had each other and that brought such peace and contentment into their lives. 

It is very hard to be the "pack leader" with a dog that has been abused, because you just want to make them happy and you want to make up for their past. I had to keep reminding myself that Cesar always says that dogs live in the moment. I worked every day with Kate; making sure I went out the door first, keeping her at my side while we walked, and remaining calm and assertive through her new training experiences. She was a very "out of control" dog when we first brought her home, especially in the house, but it didn't take her long to settle down once she knew her boundaries and her important role in her new pack! Every night after work I would drive down my street and Lady Kate would be waiting at the fence looking over toward my driveway. Our training took us on walks all over town where we would meet people and other dogs. Mostly, she loved the people.  Every passing site was a new experience for Kate and she loved it. She learned how to walk on the leash and quickly picked up commands to "leave it" when confronted by other dogs. We would go back and tell Georgia stories about our walk and she would tell us stories about her youth. We were a threesome that made the perfect team. Each one of us had something different and unique to offer to the other, and it all started by rescuing Kate.

How sad it was that one day in January when the ambulance came to take Georgia away and she never returned home. I did talk with her on the phone and she said the last thing she remembered when she left was that her sweet Kate was at the door crying while the EMT support team took her away. However, as sad as that was, Georgia knew that her Lady Kate was with me and would be safe and loved. Every night I called the hospital and told her the Kate story of the day, but eventually the illness took over and we were not able to talk. I do know that she fell asleep knowing that she did not have to worry about her Lady Kate.

Several months have gone by since Georgia passed and Lady Kate is doing well. She loves her backyard and has access to it through a doggy door.  She and her new best friend Emma (my original GSD) chase bunnies and squirrels and run the fence with their neighbors. She and Emma sleep peacefully at my bedside every night, healthy, happy and exhausted from the day's great adventures. 

Kathie Enser
O'Fallon, Illinois

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