Doug and his dog, Rosie, were out on a walk when they bumped into his neighbor and her foster dog, Baltimore. Rosie and Baltimore immediately started sniffing each other, adopting play postures and wagging their tails. Doug grabbed his phone and called his partner, Greg, and told him he had found their new dog.
“Doug thought their comparable size and mutual interest in one another was a no-brainer, and I trusted his judgment, which I have never regretted,” says Greg.
Greg and Doug had been looking for a new friend for Rosie following the passing of their beloved dog Tito, so when they happened upon Baltimore, they knew it was fate.
“We wanted to adopt a shelter dog,” Greg tells us. “We wanted to welcome a dog that needed love and tenderness into our home and make our family complete.”
Greg, Doug and Rosie had an official meet-and-greet with Baltimore at her foster home and Greg and Doug watched as Baltimore and Rosie played and then wandered into the yard.
“Baltimore was a little shy and standoffish at first, and part of our decision to adopt was just a big leap of faith,” Greg remembers. “We could tell that underneath the skittish façade was a sweet and gentle girl with so much love to give, and boy were we right!”
Giving Baltimore a Chance
Baltimore had come into the ASPCA’s care after being rescued alongside 49 other dogs from a hoarding situation in Mississippi. Of the 50 dogs, 35 were transferred to the ASPCA Cruelty Recovery Center (CRC) in Columbus, Ohio, Baltimore included.
It was at the CRC that Baltimore first met Christine Young, a Behavior Rehabilitation Specialist from the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center (BRC) in Weaverville, North Carolina. Christine had voluntarily deployed to the CRC over the Thanksgiving holiday to lend an extra pair of hands.
“In Ohio, Baltimore was very fearful, kept about 20 feet of distance from new people at all times, and was difficult to leash without her fleeing from the handler,” explains Christine. “I made a little progress with her over the week I was deployed, and by the time I left, she was willing to lie next to me when I sat on the ground, accepting quick, gentle little neck scratches. But she was still very skittish with novel people.”
Though making great strides working with the Behavior Specialists at the CRC, Baltimore wasn’t quite ready to be placed into a home. Due to her ongoing fear of new people, Baltimore was transferred to the BRC, which specializes in rehabilitating extremely fearful dogs.
“I was so thrilled that she seemed to recognize me, and we picked up our friendship where we had left off in Ohio,” says Christine, who became Baltimore’s caseworker at the BRC. “Baltimore really blossomed at the BRC, expanding her circle of friends to the rest of the staff, then practicing her hardest thing, meeting new people. She thrived in treatment, and by the time she left she was a helper dog to less confident dogs still in treatment, showing them how to hop in the car, and walk in new places with new people, without worry.”
After seven weeks in treatment, Baltimore went off to her foster home, and soon that fateful day came when she met Doug, Greg and Rosie.
The Place Where She Belongs
After adopting Baltimore, Doug and Greg decided to give her a new name to signify this new exciting chapter in her life.
“When we were thinking of names for her, Doug suggested a kitchen-oriented name like Sugar or Cookie since I’m a baker,” says Greg. “My favorite item to use in the kitchen is my KitchenAid Stand Mixer so I shouted that out and refused to back down. We compromised with Kitty, hence a dog named Kitty!”
When first arriving at her new home, Kitty was skittish, easily startled and very anxious about change, travel and people. Greg and Doug needed to keep a thin leash on her at all times, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to put a leash on her to go outside. She also wasn’t potty-trained, so it was an adjustment period for all.
“Our vet helped us to understand that her origins in a hoarding situation made it very likely that she was used to just going to the bathroom wherever and whenever she needed, which is very sad,” Greg explains.
Her Dreams Coming True
Having had several months to adjust, Kitty’s accidents are much less frequent, and she has really started to blossom in Greg and Doug’s home.
“She is the sweetest girl who loves to play and cuddle in bed and on the couch,” says Greg. “Kitty comes when called, lets her guard down easily and can relax in the comfort of a warm blanket or beanbag. She loves meeting new people and other small dogs—though we’re still helping her adjust to bigger dogs—and she is so cheerful and happy, and we simply couldn’t be happier.”
Not only has Kitty gotten comfortable, but she’s even letting her quirks shine.
“When she goes pee, she often will do it in a full handstand with both hindlegs off the ground,” Greg tells us.
And it’s not just Greg and Doug who have fallen completely in love with Kitty, Rosie has too.
“They are already best friends,” says Greg. “Rosie loves having a new animal companion and has been an excellent role model for how to behave. Kitty dotes on Rosie all the time and constantly seeks her approval and affection, which Rosie is always happy to give. Rosie was never really one for toys, but Kitty’s got her playing with toys together now. They never fight, and they respect each other’s food dishes (mostly), and their favorite time of day is bedtime when all four of us can snuggle together!”
Greg tells us that life is beautiful as a family of four.
“She completed our family! She’s the perfect addition, the perfect companion for Rosie and the perfect second dog for our household. She brings so much light and energy and laughter and we are so happy we took the leap and adopted her.”
This Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, you can find your Kitty by adopting through the ASPCA or your local shelter.
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