By Leah Cygielman
Client Care Coordinator
Georgia Veterinary Specialists
My mom was scared of dogs the whole time my sister and I were growing up. We never had a dog growing up nor could we go anywhere that had dogs around. If we were in a public place, like a park, my mom would hide behind one of us, grabbing our arms in fear. That all changed when my mom turned 50. A couple of years before her big birthday, her sister (my aunt), had gotten a bichon frise. To our family’s surprise, my mom fell in love with this dog and started thinking about overcoming her fear. While we looked for our perfect family addition, my aunt put herself on a waiting list at the Atlanta Humane Society for another bichon for her family, but ended up getting another dog since bichons were a rare dog to be brought in.
One Saturday morning, my mom and I got a call from my aunt. “The Humane Society just called me and they have a bichon-poodle mix that came in last night up for adoption. If you want it, we have to go now. They said there are already people looking to adopt it. It’s now or never,” my aunt said. Immediately, without even changing from our pajamas, my mom and I jumped in her car, picked up my aunt, and drove to the Atlanta Humane Society.
My mom hadn’t been around this many dogs before and froze up, as usual; but my aunt and I slowly calmed her down to go look at my future baby brother. As we approached the kennel Dunkin was in, he was ragged, shy, and didn’t seem to know what to think. We took him out, held him, played with him, and socialized with him in a private hallway to see how he would react with us. He was perfect! My mom was in love and you could see it in her eyes that this dog immediately brought her happiness. We signed the papers to bring him home and picked him up a week later after he had been neutered and vaccinated.
When we adopted Dunkin he was about one year old. As you can see from the picture, he was malnourished and was nothing but skin and bones. When we took him home, we had to pick him up to get him inside the house, as he was too scared to go inside himself. He wouldn’t let us walk behind him for fear of being kicked. We soon found out he had hip dysplasia from being kicked at such an early age. It took a couple days for him to get used to us, put his tail up, and start smiling. It took weeks and a lot of medication and caring to get him to be healthy, but he was loved no matter what.
He is now eight years old. He’s a great dog, very happy and has a very funny personality. The second picture shows him about a year after we got him. He’s a bit chubbier now, but still healthy! My mom and I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like if he wasn’t in it. We love him so much and he is definitely our little Cinderella story.
My mom is no longer afraid of dogs and can be in a dog park with dogs as big as mastiffs licking all over her and she just can’t get enough. We even got another dog a year later! We like to think of Dunkin not only as a great addition to our family, but a blessing in disguise (even though he’s one with some serious doggy breath!).