Adopted on February 2, 2008
It is true what they say about “love at first sight.” My husband David and I have now experienced it and we know it exists. Love at first sight was what we felt that Saturday morning when we first laid eyes on Delilah at the home of her foster father Danny Thompson. Watching her skip around Danny’s kitchen, nudging and chasing her foster brother Rocky, it was obvious that she was smart and curious and playful, but that she was also shy and timid and frightened, and that there was so much more to her. We were later told that Delilah had been surrendered when her family moved from their home and could not take her with them; they gave her to a family friend. A year later that family friend surrendered her as well, only this time to a shelter. Thus, Delilah was coping with two major losses in her life in a very short time, as well as struggling with having lived in a shelter.
Although she came to us healthy and strong, having been nurtured by Danny and Rocky, she frequently begged for attention and physical affection from David and me. She didn’t play with any other toys except the old tennis ball she came with, and she never barked. I mean, Delilah never barked. Not in the house, not outside in the yard, not when strangers came to the door or when the UPS man delivered a package, and not even when she got excited and chased the neighbor’s GSD in fun around our front yard. For the next few weeks after the adoption, the only occasions we saw Delilah excited and happy was when we took her for long walks on the many trails in the wooded areas behind our home in Marion. She would run ahead of us at the farthest extension of her leash and frequently stop and sniff the ground, reading it and taking it all in like a newspaper, learning about her new surroundings.
Even my efforts to entice her to play with toys often failed. In preparation of Delilah’s arrival, I had purchased a wide array of dog toys for her and arranged them all in a basket on the hearth of our fireplace. There were stuffy toys that squeaked, stuffy toys that didn’t squeak, numerous types and flavors of chew sticks, an assortment of bones, balls that squeaked, balls that bounced, and balls that rolled in a crooked line across the floor. But the only toy Delilah insisted on carrying around with her was her old tennis ball.
Happily though, over the course of the next several months, with our consistent love and attention, David and I slowly watched Delilah change. We saw her change her attachment from the tennis ball to “Green Bear,” which became her new favorite stuffed toy, and we listened as the house changed from a setting of tranquility to one of doggy chaos as Delilah confidently and joyfully found her voice (a very deep voice!) and began to increasingly alert and defend her new home.
The biggest moment came three months later, however, when we brought Delilah to the Sharon dog park to visit with Danny and Rocky again, and we watched with delight as she ran around the park with the other dogs, unafraid, chasing balls and sticks, and bumping and “hip checking” Rocky as they played together! She was no longer the shy, timid girl she once was; Delilah had come into her own, and it was clear that she was now a self-assured and secure GSD. All three of us stood there like proud parents. Proud to see Delilah’s true spirit and personality shine through, proud of her ability to transcend a past she never deserved, and proud that we had all been allowed to play a role in a journey that provided her with a real opportunity for a happy and contented life.
Yes, David and I believe in love at first sight. There’s absolutely no doubt in our minds. We fell in love with Delilah, and she in turn brought us love and made our home, now her forever home, complete.