She didn’t want to be an outcast……



Even her name was negative.  Outlaw.  A dog no one wanted and no one loved.   She was frightened and withdrawn, huddling in the back of the kennel, growling at anyone who went by.  The kennels echoed with the cries and howls of dogs, like her, with nowhere to go.  She had given birth to four puppies within the first week of being picked up and they lay on the cold, damp concrete floor, shivering.  She curled herself around them, licking them with affection, showing them the love she had never received.  She did not know that she and her little family were due to be euthanized.  They would never get the chance to grow up.      When the Center got the frantic e-mail from a volunteer at that shelter, we immediately said we would help.  She and her puppies were driven down and soon were installed in a kennel, this one with fluffy blankets, toys and food.  We named her outlaw puppies Billy, Jesse, Bonnie and Clyde, but changed her name to Darlene, meaning “little darling”.  It suited her better than Outlaw.

Billy-one of Darlene's puppies

Billy-one of Darlene’s puppies

The family went into a foster home to grow and the foster family loved them.  They sent us plenty of pictures of the puppies playing, learning new things and toddling around.  Weeks went by and they were ready to be altered and go into their new homes.  For Darlene, though, her story was still not finished.

Jesse-one of Darlene's puppies

Jesse-one of Darlene’s puppies

We will never know what made her so distrustful of strangers.  Maybe she had an owner who didn’t like her, maybe she had been shuttled from home to home, maybe she had been abused; the end result was that it took her awhile to warm up to new people.  Once she knew you, she was very loving and playful, sometimes even being silly like one of her puppies.  Our trainer worked with her in all kinds of situations to build up her confidence.  She was in play groups with other dogs, she sat with staff in their offices, she was walked around the cubicles.

Soon she had improved enough to make her available for adoption.  Many people asked about her, but no one was really interested.  Thirty days later, she was still waiting.  And then her family found her.  This family had dogs previously and they were willing to take the time to make her comfortable in her new home.  Within a few weeks, they had contacted us to let us she was doing well and they thought she was the right dog for them.  Every dog is special, but dogs like Darlene and her puppies will always hold a special place in our hearts.

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