I saw his mug shot online. Those big liquid brown eyes, furrowed brow and thin little legs. His official name was ‘Stewart’ and he stole my heart. I’d been searching for over a year, tearing up at the sad tales of dogs who have been abandoned, mistreated, forgotten and abused. But I knew that I needed to find the right match – a wee creature who could fit into my hectic life, travel when necessary, and who needed warm cuddles more than spirited exercise.
I believed that adopting a rescue dog, one who desperately needed a home, would be a demonstration of my values of compassion and caring – that I’d be doing the dog a favor. I was wrong.
Our little guy, a mix of Chihuahua and Jack Russell Terrier, whom we promptly renamed Sparky, comes from a disturbing background. He was rescued when he was about one, from a severe hoarding situation in which dozens and dozens of dogs were kept in filthy little cages, under-fed and under-socialized. He had been alternately mistreated and profoundly ignored. Food must have been used as a cruel taunt because he both desperately wants it and irrationally fears it. Any noise, no matter how innocent, will make him jump and quiver. A rough tone of voice sends his tail between his legs and his ears flat back on his head. His little brow creases in a dozen folds of terror. His eyes grow huge and his little frame tries to curve into a small, inconspicuous ball.