Emma first came to Bob’s House for Dog in the fall of 2012. She was one of 20 animals that were taken into protective custody in one of the most horrendous cases of abuse and neglect that our area has witnessed. The news reported of homemade wire kennels, three dogs to a kennel with feces accumulating inside and one dog was found dead. Many of these dogs had open wounds and broken bones. Bob’s House was fortunate enough to accept two of these dogs from the local shelter that rescued many of the animals. One was a Basenji named Emma.
Emma had no idea how to be a dog. She preferred to hide in the corner of the feeding kennel and when forced to the big play yard she would hug the fence line terrified of the open space. She ducked and avoided any human touch, so volunteers were instructed to move very slowly with her. Emma had clearly been through extreme neglect and trauma. We decided to encourage socialization by locking her out of the feeding kennels. On one occasion when a staff member was vacuuming, Emma tried to climb into a kennel by climbing up the side and jumping in. It became obvious to us that the kennel was all she had ever known.
Emma could not be adopted out until the court case with the woman who abused her came to an end. This was just fine with us as she had a long way to go before she could tolerate the environment of a typical home. With the love and patience at Bob’s House for Dogs, Emma very slowly came out of her shell, began to trust her human caregivers and after a little over a year she was adopted to a woman who could dedicate the time and patience Emma would require.
Emma went on to live with her owner enjoying her new life and really loved being with her person. She no longer wanted to be in a kennel and preferred the comfort of the couch and bed. After four years of living with her new Mom, Emma was returned to the shelter at no fault of her own. The shelter immediately contacted Bob’s House and asked us if we’d take her back and we emphatically said “YES!”
Emma came back into Bob’s House the summer of 2018 and was a total different dog than when she left. She was no different than any of the other dogs and behaved just like a “dog.” It was so exciting to see what the stability of a good home can do for a dog that has suffered through trauma. After a month or two with us we noticed something wasn’t quite right with Emma. All dogs entering Bob’s House receive a thorough vet exam. Upon Emma’s veterinarian work-up it was discovered that she had a mass on her bile duct and liver. Since Emma had already been through so much in her life, we decided that she would stay with us and was put in our “Dying With Dignity” program here at Bob’s House. Dogs in the program are given all necessary comfort measures until their time comes. Little did we know Emma had a lot of life to live yet.
Emma enjoyed all things Bob’s House has to offer, such as the play yard, nutritious food, loving attention of our staff and volunteers, etc.. Emma even grew to be quite sassy at times and would sometimes get into altercations with another dog over a favorite bed. Emma was quite flirtatious and was often seen hanging with Eli in his corner at Bob’s House. A few short weeks ago we noticed Emma not eating as much, not wanting to play and we just knew what she was telling us. Late October we were fortunate enough to give Emma a very dignified and gentle good-bye. She was a dog we will not soon forget. She taught us the importance of never giving up hope and we were honored to be a part of her journey.
Danica Lowry, Bob’s House for Dogs Board of Directors