Blue, the 4-month-old German Shepherd, was very skinny and had barely any fur on his body when he was brought to a Texas shelter last May. He was in a rough state and would be terrified if anyone tried to get closer to him.
However, the rescuers at Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue knew that both him and his sister, Roxanne, could make it a healthier and happier life. They were committed to find them both new homes in Virginia.
The rescuers took both the dogs for a vet checkup before they transferred them across the country and that was when the vet revealed the devastating news. Blue had parvovirus, which is a deadly disease that attacks and breaks down a dog’s intestinal linings.
“There was a point in time when he was definitely very sick, and we weren’t 100 per cent sure that he’d make it,” Kaitlin Vazquez, co-founder of Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue, said.
Thankfully, Roxanne had not caught the virus even though she stayed in the same kennel with Blue. Therefore, she was immediately placed in a foster home in Virginia, while Blue remained at the hospital for more than a month. Eventually, Blue also recovered and moved to Virginia, where a dog lover named Julia Downer immediately stepped in to foster him.
“I was kind of drawn to his cute little face,” Downer said. “Roxanne already had a foster, so I pretty much begged them to let me foster Blue.”
However, she soon realised that Blue was not going to be easy to handle.
“When he first got here, he was completely shut down,” Downer said. “It was like he really didn’t know how to be a dog.”
Blue didn’t like anyone touching him and always cowered in one spot of the house for most of the day.
“He found one spot in front of our dishwasher, and he wouldn’t leave it for anything,” Downer said. “If I’d walk toward him, he’d run in a circle until I was gone, and he’d go right back to his spot and sit there and stare at me. It was kind of upsetting, and broke your heart to see a dog who was scared and so unsure like that.”
Downer also had her own dog named Simba and another foster named Koda, who seemed to be helping Blue break down his wall. Gradually, he started exploring more parts of the house and eventually, Downer realised that Blue liked playing with Tennis balls a lot.
“We have a couple of old tennis balls that we throw around, and I just kind of kicked one day to see how he’d respond, and he loved it,” Downer said. “He’s not super good at bringing the ball back, but this kind of brought out his playfulness.”
And then, only after a few weeks with Downer, Blue was a completely different dog.
“He’d jump up on the bed and snuggle with us, and he’d hang out on the couch,” Downer said. “He was so vocal and had personality for days.”
Downer almost made up her mind to keep Blue herself, but the perfect person offered to adopt him right on time. Not long after, Blue was with his new mom.
“She was so excited,” Downer said. “She sent me a photo of Blue in front of the ocean on the very first week that she had him, and you could just see how happy he was.”
“She’s also an avid walker, and she told me about the walks she takes every morning, and she goes on a longer one every weekend, and that’s just what Blue needs — he needs a very energetic household,” Downer added.
The staffers at Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue couldn’t be more thrilled at Blue’s transformation. “He ended up being a very friendly, happy-go-lucky guy,” Vazquez said.
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