Last Lick: How I Met My Dog

Last Lick: How I Met My Dog
Georgie Girl


She was possibly one of the least attractive looking dogs I had ever seen. Shorthaired bristly black, medium height, with a long, thin tail (balding), and one ear that perked upward, the other bent in half. A sad looking mutt, I thought, with few obvious redeeming features.

I noticed her while walking through the foyer of the shelter in Connecticut where I volunteered a few hours each week. She was being brought in from the car park, urged gently toward the door of the dog section, from which the thunderous noise of barking and whimpering issued. In my time at the shelter I had tried to stay well clear of the dog kennels because the collective, desperate clamoring for attention broke my heart.

Something about this dog, however, made me reconsider. My cat duties completed, I took a deep breath and stepped into the pandemonium of the kennels. Busy volunteers hurried about; it was feeding and fresh water time, and some dogs were coming in from a final evening walk. I walked slowly up and down the rows of kennels, looking for the mutt. Tails waved and wagged; the little ones leapt in the air, trying to be noticed; others yapped and twirled about. The bigger dogs stood on their hind legs, some holding their kennel toys in their mouths. “Look at me!” they all seemed to be saying. “Pick me!”

But there she was—curled into the farthest corner of her kennel, quivering from the tip of her long nose to the end of that ridiculous tail. Her eyes were squeezed shut, her lashes trembling. My heart somersaulted in my chest with pity. I put out a hand, stretching through the bars to try and tempt her forward, but she wouldn’t move. I had never seen a dog look more desperate.

Abruptly, I turned and went to find a volunteer. Did she know anything about the dog? Not very much, she told me. It was the policy of the shelter to keep their kennels filled. Whenever there was an empty space they would visit other shelters and offer to take any single dog they were having real difficulty in finding a home for. This mutt, named Georgie Girl, had spent the past six years in Yonkers in a no-kill facility, sharing a kennel with seven other medium-sized, all black mutts. It must have been a rare lucky day for Georgie Girl when she was selected to come to Connecticut.

In a matter of hours, the shelter released Georgie Girl into my care. I signed the papers, paid the money, and we went home. She was weary and dispirited; it seemed she was absolutely broken. Her tail curled tight between her legs, she shook and shivered with fright. Indoors, released at long last from the restriction of a leash and metal bars, she went crazy. She leapt up at the windows, pawing to escape, terror in her sad brown eyes. The only way I could calm her was to put her back into my minivan. There, in the back section of the Odyssey, surrounded by quilts and cushions, food and water, she spent her first night.

Georgie Girl spent a full three weeks living in my Honda minivan. Each day, she grew a little less afraid of the big world outdoors. We ventured out—on a leash—into the yard for brief walks, but she always tugged me back towards her place of safety, the car, her replacement kennel.

One day, just after the first snow had carpeted the ground and flakes were spinning in the air, I slipped the leash from Georgie’s collar. She stood looking at me, her tail, as usual, tight between her legs. She looked slowly around the garden and lifted her nose to the air, then met my eyes once again, fear written all over her. It was now or never, I thought. “Go on,” I told her. “You’re quite safe now. Live a little!”

Snow had begun to settle on her black coat. Suddenly, her funny looking tail shot up into the air and she began to run. She ran in circles, twirling around and around until I thought she must surely fall over with dizziness. She tore around, weaving in and out, leaping and jumping for joy. I burst into tears of relief.

Georgie Girl lived in our house for eight years. She never fully recovered her sense of trust in human beings, but she was a loving, happy dog who brought us much happiness. Every day, we went on long walks to remote places where she could wander off-leash to her heart’s content, making up for the many years of enforced incarceration in a place where dogs, for the most part, are forgotten.

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Comments (15)

That was a wonderful description, thank you, I'm a little teary eyed right now. She was a lucky dog!
Tue, 10/30/2012 - 12:14
Beautiful! Thnak You!!
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 04:07
I can say with absolute authority that an average dog is a much better person than an average person. I have 2 boyz (Rocco the LAB and Mojo the GSD) and I can't imagine being without them. Thanks for nice articulation of thoughts.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 04:14
Thank you for writing this story! Brought tears to my eyes! My family and I volunteered for a local animal shelter and after several and I mean several animals loved in our home, we successfully found them wonderful forever homes. Fostering stopped for us when we adopted our Chloe a pit border collie mixed blue eyed beauty and jack our black lab retriever mix. Both had rough beginnings however have now become one of our kids( along with our human kids) The love taking in a dog or any animal for that matter brings oneself is so amazing and unconditional! I'm so glad Gracie had you to give her love and show her bliss! You are a fur angel and I love you for it! Wonderful writing- your descriptions were gorgeous and you have filled my heart this morning with love and reminded me why we do what we do! Hugs!
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 04:41
You are an angel who had an angel!
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 05:40
Georgie girl was a lucky girl. Thanks to u. What. A beautiful story.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 06:31
Georgie girl was a lucky girl. Thanks to u. What. A beautiful story.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 06:34
Thankyou for that inspiring story!
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 07:10
I don't know why but black dogs are always overlooked. Bless this woman for giving an obviously hopeless distressed dog a happily ever after.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 07:42
Loved this story. Your commitment to her was so inspiring and warmed my heart this morning. I go home each night to my rescued dogs and am thankful that I have them in our family. A warm home and lots of love are the right combination for any rescue. Thank you for sharing your story. Such an amazing example of giving a dog a second chance.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 07:42
I love my 2 rescued pitbulls and sometimes wonder if we hadn't rescued them, what would have been their fate? Perhaps like the above, or probably death with Gas as that is how they put down the animals in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. You are a good soul... You didn't even have to think about it, you acted! Wish more people would do that when it came to a poor animal. You deserved to be the winner of "how i met my dog"! Congrats.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 08:51
Thanks for the wonderful story, so sad she did not live longer, what we do to animals is sad, we are the worst creatures on earth!
Fri, 11/02/2012 - 00:43
I love reading stories like this. About brave people taking a chance on saving a sad dog's life. I am involved in dog rescue- and this is truly a fine example of what we hope for- for some of our looked-over pups!!
Fri, 11/02/2012 - 04:28
we should all be so lucky to be loved and cared for like you cared for this poor lovely girl. (sniff...) xo
Fri, 11/02/2012 - 18:57
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