When we first started visiting the shelter this fall, we were able to immediately recognize how stressful the shelter environment is on a dog. We also were able to quickly see how a dog’s demeanor could begin to negatively digress over time. One of the first dogs we met at the shelter, and the one who stole all of our hearts, was a spindly hound mix named Tripp. Tripp was on death row in South Carolina and was granted a second chance in Vermont. Tripp was afraid of his own shadow, and getting him outside for a walk was a 20 minute process involving treats, people carrying him, and a grace period in the grass where he would spend a few minutes shaking. Even after he was outside, walks were long due to him stopping and sitting in fear every few steps. He became my project, and every day when I visited the shelter I was able to bring him out of his shell a little bit more. When we received information on Tripp, we found out that he had been returned once after only a day because the new owner didn’t like that he “layed under the table” the entire (one) day he had him.
I immediately realized the strain the shelter put on Tripp, and saw how his anxiety increased as the noise in the shelter grew. He was incredibly reserved, timid, and anxious, often hiding the back of his kennel with his head turned away. I had been to the shelter enough that I knew we had to get him out as soon as possible. I went one day and sprung him out for an afternoon. Once he got to my house, he immediately found his place on a dog bed and became calm and relaxed. He was a completely different dog.
That day Tripp quickly turned into an overnight sleepover, and another full day after that. I was so disturbed at the thought of bringing him back to the shelter I even contemplated filling out foster papers to keep him long term. We immediately began to network to figure out who we could find to keep this sweet dog. He is under the age of two, but with his labeled anxiety and two adoption fails, Tripp wasn’t the most desirable candidate.
Luckily, my friend Kalin saw the photos of him, and immediately fell in love. When I brought Tripp to Kalin’s house for an impromptu meet up, Tripp was home. She has a beautiful fenced in backyard and Tripp fell in love with her dog; the two were inseparable within minutes. It was an unexpected match made in heaven.
Since Kalin has adopted Tripp, he has made incredible strides in his confidence and fear of the outside world. He goes to work at Burton and Outdoor Gear Exchange, and loves playing with his brother in their yard. Being in the shelter, we are sure Tripp’s demeanor would have deteriorated tremendously, and he didn’t have much time left. Tripp is living a seriously amazing life now with two loving parents and a best friend to adventure with. We can’t thank Kalin and Connor enough for dedicating their time and hearts to a dog who needed it.