Glorianne Lagnese was the woman who met Rose, the dog, just when she needed someone to believe in her the most. Lagnese adopted Rose in January 2013 from some friends who had rescued her from a shelter in Connecticut.
“They were worried that she was going to get put down due to lack of training and because she is a black dog,” Lagnese said. “So they took her out, hoping they could make it work with their other dogs. But it was a bit much, and they asked me to babysit for her. We had her at our house a lot, then a few overnights. She fit in so well … so they asked if we wanted to keep her.”
For Lagnese, Rose is a “good dog” and gets along with other dogs or cats or even small children. However, she is fearful.
“She’s a scared dog,” Lagnese said. “She had no confidence in herself. Sometimes she’d hear a noise in the house and she’d run away and hide.”
Lagnese had been training Rose for a year and watching her making slow but steady progress until something unexpected happened.
Someone broke into Lagnese’s house in April 2014 and let all the dogs, including Rose, out of the house. Neighbours saw this and tried to catch the dogs, which triggered fear in Rose and she ended up nipping two people.
“It was in a condo complex, and they’d cornered her to try and contain her, and she got scared,” Lagnese said. “People that she didn’t know were surrounding her, and she had nowhere to go.”
Nevertheless, nobody was seriously hurt. The neighbours then called the police and animal control officers and Lagnese was ordered to send Rose back to the shelter for a 10-day hold.
“I said, ‘OK, here’s the dog,’ because I didn’t realize that I could have said something else,” Lagnese said. “I handed her over, following directions, and they said, ‘Ten days.’”
But, even after 10 days, instead of returning Rose to Lagnese, the pound said that they needed to euthanize Rose for being a “vicious dog.”
Shocked and upset, Lagnese asked Thom Page for help. Thom Page is an attorney at the Lexus Project who helps dogs on death row on a daily basis. Page started working for Rose on a pro-bano basis. However, the case ended up being transferred to the federal court.
“She’s a sweet dog, and I didn’t see why she should get killed because she nipped somebody,” Lagnese said. “I decided that I wanted to fight for her, and that’s what we did.”
In the meantime, Rose was at the shelter, suffering and spending all days and nights being locked up in her kennel with no any soft bed or toy. Moreover, she didn’t get any sort of medical assistance, said Page. Rose would pick her metal food bowl up and hold it in her mouth to comfort herself.
On trying to visit Rose, Lagnese and her husband were forced to see her only in her kennel behind a fence.
“All we could do was talk to her from a distance … and it was really hard on us and it was really hard on her,” Lagnese said. “She didn’t understand why we kept leaving and why I could never pet her or get close to her or give her a treat. It was horrible.”
Rose ended up staying at the shelter for 4 and a half years! Then, the pound finally released her.
To negotiate her freedom, Lagnese relinquished her ownership of Rose. But Furry Friends Foster and Rescue agreed to take Rose into their care since Lagnese’s friend Leslie Rich ran the rescue. To satisfy the court, Page also arranged a professional dog trainer Allen Szykula as Rose’s foster parent.
“I can’t believe she’s finally out,” Lagnese said. “Four years and eight months have just been torture.”
Page says he was “elated” to finally see Rose free after working for it tirelessly.
“I save one dog at a time,” Page said. “That’s my philosophy.”
Now, Rose is around 7 years old and adjusting amazingly in her new free life.
“I thought that she was going to be really, really scared of everything, not wanting to go near her trainer or anything for a while, but that’s not what happened,” Lagnese said. “The other night at 2 o’clock in the morning, I woke up and Allen had sent me a video of her. It was the same day she got out, and he was petting her head gently, and she came up and dropped her head on his lap. I was in tears. It was the best thing I’d ever woken up to.”
“This dog is very resilient,” Lagnese added. “She bounces back like no one thought that she would.”
Although Rose has months more of training and rehabilitation to go through, Lagnese is sure she will be up for adoption and will find the perfect home.
“I want a home that is going to take her out for walks and love her and give her treats and let her sleep on the bed … and just let her be a dog because that’s what she should have had all along,” Lagnese said.
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