An opportunity I waited 2 years to get.

You might be wondering, why bother reading this long story? Well, my journey will help you understand who I am and why I act the way I do, and that is important to me. Without this understanding, people have turned their backs on me in the past. The truth is no one will ever know all the details; but behind every dog, there is a story – a story worth telling.

My journey began in August 2017.

I was walking with my best friend in the whole wide world when we showed up at the doorstep of a guy named Oliver. He decided the right thing to do was to take us to a vet to scan us for microchips. Unfortunately, no human was looking for us, and so our next stop was a place called PAWS4you. The nice people there gave me the name “Shaggy,” and my friend was dubbed “Scooby.” We were inseparable: two dudes living the life and having each other’s backs. Though I had my own issues, I ALWAYS protected my best friend and especially our food and beds. After having nothing for such a long time, I wanted to make sure no one would ever take things away from us again.

Time went by, and we were kept together. For the most part, we enjoyed each other’s company: yard time, sleeping time, all the “times” I enjoyed by his side. 

But then I noticed things were not okay. Day after day, I saw my friend’s health deteriorate. He would leave my side and stay at the “Dogtor” far too often. He was skinny and weak; and though the humans were treating him, nothing worked, the cancer was winning. I knew my role then was to protect him more than ever. For a couple of months, we enjoyed each other, played, snuggled, and did everything together; but those days were numbered.

I will always remember the day I said goodbye to Scooby: we were both in the office with all the humans, and everyone kept coming in to say goodbye. I was a little confused… until my friend took his last breath. With him gone, so was my hope of ever finding happiness. He was all I knew, all I had.

I don’t mention him because I want to be dramatic or because I want you to feel sorry for me; I say it so you can understand what happened after.

I started becoming possessive of all my belongings: my bed, my toys, and sometimes people. After I lost MY everything, it just made sense to protect what I had left. It was extremely hard for anyone to handle me as my confidence was not easily gained. And even if I trusted you, I wasn’t always willing to share.

I was returned by an adopter, and so at that point my emotional healing came to a grinding halt. For the year I lived at the retreat, the volunteers spent their time just trying to gain my trust. I got special meals and went out on field trips, giving me every opportunity for socialization until they could finally get me the help I needed. The therapy that would work in a home environment was fairly useless if I lived at the retreat. So I kept waiting.

Ambar and Shaggy

On May 9, 2019, my journey to becoming my authentic self finally began. I went to a foster home! Can you believe, I waited two years to find a human willing to take a chance, a human to love me enough to want to train me and help me overcome my fears? Well, it happened.

From my foster mom:

“I knew I wanted to help Shaggy when I first saw his picture after Hurricane Irma back in 2017, something about him, just stuck to my heart. Shaggy is far from perfect, but hey, no one is perfect. Why do we punish dogs for their imperfections? Behind Shaggy’s imperfection there is a human who never taught him better. So, yes. It is our fault as humans, it is our responsibility to fix it!Lots of learning, lots of adjusting, but I love him, and I will do it as long as I can. My hope is, he will one day be “perfect” to other people’s standards, because to me, he is already perfect (even if he drives me crazy sometimes).”

On August 6, 2019, I finally got my appointment with the veterinary behaviorist. Since my appointment I began my treatment for severe anxiety, and other issues, all alongside the medications which I like because I get plenty of treats with them. The vet said my “issues” could be genetic or just a traumatic past.

Shaggy at The Veterinary Behaviorist