Beautiful Story of One Man’s Life with Dogs

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The tale of Honey (and Buddy!), by Warren Andrew Chang.

It was early 2011, when winter was still in the air in Wise County in Virginia, when Honey was found. A friend had made her way to work like any other cold winter’s day. That morning, however, as she rushed from her car to the office, she stopped. Something was different; something disturbed the cold crisp winter morning air. From the garbage bin outside her office, came this rustling noise which startled her, yet aroused her curiosity. Venturing to take a look, she found a black garbage bag all tied up with something squirming inside. Fear, but more than that, her curiosity, made her reach and open the garbage bag and in it she found a little puppy, shivering, cold and most of all afraid. Someone had abandoned this little puppy in such a heartless manner, discarded like trash and in all reality assumed that the cold winter would finish off the task that he started when he tied the knot on that bag. But faith always throws a curved ball every now and then, and this was one of those times.

She took the little shivering pup in and looked after it the best she could. She named her Honey, for the color of her fur was like that of honey in the sunlight. Honey spent several weeks at the office, but time was running out to find her a decent home. That’s when Honey came into my life. My girlfriend suggested I see if Honey would be good company for my other rescued dog, Buddy. It wasn’t easy at first, and I almost gave up trying to adopt her, as my life was already so complicated and the last thing I needed was an unfriendly dog. You see, I had gotten Buddy several months earlier. He was found by my girlfriend, running down the middle of the road one rainy evening with cars swerving around to miss hitting him. She could not leave him out there in the rain and brought him back home. I took Buddy in and his owners never could be traced and it wasn’t until his seizures began that I realized why he was probably let go. His seizures were bad, and several trips to the vet’s office, including a vet neurologist, led to the diagnosis of uncontrolled epilepsy. It was a frustrating time for me; I knew I could not leave Buddy at the animal shelter, as without treatment his seizures would kill him if he was not put to sleep before that. So I kept Buddy and dealt with his seizures as best as I could. It was not easy, as when he had his seizures, he lost control of his bodily functions, and following his seizures he would go blind for several minutes, a “postictal” phase, as it’s called. During that time he would run into things and was at high risk of injuring himself, so I had to be by his side every minute til he returned to normal. His seizures occurred every 7- 10 days and he would have 5-6 cluster seizures. Fortunately, after multiple visits to the vet and then eventually taking him to Virginia Tech to see the neurologist. His seizures have improved with all of the 20 pills that he has to take a day. However, that in itself is another story.

It was during this time, when he was having seizures really bad, Honey needed a new home and thinking that it might help Buddy, she came back with me. From the onset, it was obvious that whoever mistreated her was a man. Honey would go to any woman, but never to a man. She always kept a safe distance from any male. At first, I did not worry too much about this, as I felt she would get used to me like dogs always do when they settle in a new home. But I was so wrong. I could never get Honey to come to me. No matter how much I coaxed her, she always stayed away from me and when I would try to pet her she would always position herself such that Buddy was always between her and me, like a barrier in case I should try to do anything to her. I tried and tried for several weeks, and my patience was running its end. I felt I would have to return her; I did not see any hope of her being friendly. No matter what I did, she would never come to me. Since she was still being potty trained, I used to keep her in her crate during the day, and when I returned from work and opened her crate, she would not come out til I disappeared from the scene, and even then she would creep out and run straight to the bedroom to hide. Even meal times were tedious, because she would not eat the food I left out for her til I was out of sight, and then she would cautiously make her way to her dish.  She often had one eye on her food and one eye looking around for any signs of danger.  Buddy, oblivious to everything else, chomped his food down.

I realized certain things scared her more than anything else. Sudden movements, loud noises and above all else, anything that was big and black. When I took the trash out, I used black trash bags and she would scurry away like the wind when she saw me carry a black trash bag. I guess her fear was that she was going to end up in one every time she saw me carry it, so much so that I had to start buying the white trash bags which still scared her, but not as much. I realized that she had post traumatic stress, and little things would trigger a wave of panic in her. A black garbage bag meant fear untold. Any sudden movements, any loud noises made her jump out of her skin. So I had to be very gentle and soft around her. One day, I was taking her out on the leash and accidentally dropped the handle. The banging of the leash on the floor startled her and she took off running in fear, with the leash banging the ground behind her, which scared her even more. I ran after her, and finally caught up with her only because she was trembling, shaking like a leaf, having messed all over herself from fear. It was heartbreaking to see her so afraid, so helpless. She would just seem to stand stationary in a single spot forever without moving.  It was as if her fear was so heavy it rooted her to the floor. I would go about my chores and come back 30 minutes later to find her standing in the same spot, salivating from fear. I tried to be patient with her, tried to give her more attention and love. A lot of hugs and kisses but I could not get her to be comfortable in my presence. She was always wary, always guarded and always kept Buddy as a buffer between her and me. At times, I felt it was not working and I had to find her another home. So I literally withdrew and let her be on her own. It was just a matter of time before I took her back. But as we know life does throw a curved ball every now and then, and again, this was another one of those times. As I let her be, as I stopped fussing over her, she slowly started sitting in the same room with me. Not on the same couch with Buddy and me, but at least in the same room. When I left for work in the morning, she would make her way to her crate and I didn’t have to go looking for her and carry her to her crate with her tail between her legs and shaking like a leaf. It was almost 6 months before she first licked me in the face, her sign that she was getting comfortable with me. It was a lot longer before she first rolled on her back and let me stroke her belly. I never imagined what a thrill that was, it was like a parent seeing their child take its first steps.

We have come a long way since then, Honey and me. She is still cautious but when I come home now, her unconditional love bursts through and she is leaping around, her tail wagging at a 100 mph. It’s pure joy being expressed. Honey is now so well-behaved, and is the smartest dog I have ever had. Her talent for learning new tricks is amazing.  The only trick I have not been able to get her to do is roll over or anything to do which involves her on her back…it still scares the heebee-jeebees out of her. She is as swift as the wind and deft as a wide receiver. When she is out in the open she races like the wind, carefree, unlike the very first time she came home, too scared to even move. She shares her love and affection unabashed, unconditionally. To think that had I not waited, I would have missed out on all the love this wonderful dog has brought to my life.

It breaks my heart every time I pass a garbage bin, to think and wonder how many more “Honeys” ended up that way and probably were never lucky enough to be found. It also makes me wonder how much more evil exists that tries to snuff the life of a helpless puppy.

At difficult times in my life, I think about moments I’ve been so close to giving up, and then I think about Honey. I almost gave up on her, and would never have known her simple unadulterated love, and so I keep going because I know change is just around the corner.

I love you Honey, and you’re one garbage item I would never trade for a million bucks.

 

 

8 thoughts on “Beautiful Story of One Man’s Life with Dogs”

  1. What a wonderful story, this had me in tears, I have five dogs I have taken in and I love them dearly. There is so much cruelty and evil in this world that it is heartbreaking. Not just cruelty to dogs but all animals. Best wishes to you and your dogs.

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  2. Your story is so heart warming and close to home. We adopted a dog from our local animal shelter. We named him Boudreaux. When we got to the shelter, we described the type of dog we were looking for, a small indoor fluffy, loving, and family friendly. The man at the shelter said I have a dog that was just brought in that fits your description. The man brought Boudreaux out and said he’s very friendly and I think he’s house trained. Boudreaux is a shih-Tzu. He had not had a bath or trimmed in a long time. You couldn’t even see his eyes. He stunk terribly, was extremely matted everywhere, and it looked like he had ear infections. But through all of this, something drew me to him. We immediately stopped by the vet, but we had to wait 3 hours until we could see the Dr. My husband said we have to take him to get a bath cause he couldn’t stand 3 hours of the horrible smell. It took the groomer 5 bathes until you could bear to be around him and he still smelt some. The vet Dr checked him out and found that he is almost blind due to improper care, ulcers, and scars on his eyes. He has to have eye medicine in his eyes every day and the medicine is very expensive. The Dr told us to start saving money cause he expects his eyes to rupture soon. He had ear infections in his ears so bad that he had to have multiple meds. He’s missing several teeth and he’s only 6 years old. Most people would have taken back to the shelter, but I know that he would have been put to sleep soon. I immediately was attached to him and after the first night with us, my husband and son became attached too. You see, I have PTSD, anxiety, and severe depression. That was the reason for going to the shelter and adopting a pet. Boudreaux has filled the areas of sadness with happiness. He calms my anxiety. He is right there licking my face when I am having flashback and panic nightmares. Since he begins to lick my face when I start having the nightmare, he is actually shortening my nightmares due to waking me up from licking my face. He runs into things every day and his eyes require constant cleaning throughout the day. We live on a tight budget and really couldn’t afford all the medical attention he needs, but we make it work and we just pick up his meds when we pick up mine. He helps me to deal with my issues because I’m helping him. He depends on me and I depend on him. He is an important part in my family’s life and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope my story can reach someone just like honey and yours has touched me.

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  3. Thank you – this story really made it a wonderful Mother’s Day for me…bless you Honey, bless you Warren, and bless the lady who rescued a little lost pup.

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  4. I wonder if the gentlemen who wrote this story sees our reply’s, I hope he does. This story has brighten my Mother’s Day. Warren your heart is as big as your love shown on the faces and spirit of your dogs. There are no words to express pure gratitude and unconditional love when looking into the eyes of Honey and Buddy, You have embraced each other by kindness and patience, you are truly blessed with each others companionship <3

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  5. To the women who had rescued the little pup from the shelter, I commend you on saving a life.. God put this little guy in your life, as to hear, he needed you as much as you needed him 🙂 We are all God’s little miracles <3 thank you both for sharing heart felt stories with us …….

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  6. Thank you for being there for Honey. Several years ago we had a dog with the mange so bad that he looked like a prune take up with us more or less. He would not come near us and let us near him but would eat what we put out for him. Once I accidentally cornered him in a fence corner and he let out an unearthly yell and ran over me to get out. We called him Bubba and said he was a good old redneck dog for after we got our hands on him and treated him for mange his hair grew back a beautiful brindle and he looked like a bullmastiff- might have been some kinds pitt cross but we will never know. Just one day my husband was mowing the pasture and he was following him ever row up and down and my husband got off to work on the mower- he was kneeling down when Bubba came up and put his front paw on his shoulder- he looked around and was looking the bare, ugly dog right in the face- I came out and tried to put a leash on him (he looked about 9 months old) and he went balistic so I backed off and led him in the yard by the skin of his neck and he put up with me washing him with medicated shampoo and applying dip all over him even in the cracks- within a few days fuzz began showing- took him to work and had him neutered and vaccinated and my vet told me not to be disappointed if he never grew hair his skin was so messed up but he did and it was beautiful. He made a great dog even if he did chew up everything- even the 220 wire to the pump once- do not know why that did not kill him. But suddenly when he was about 6 years for no known reason( he was in a fenced yard and not exposed to poisons)(antifreeze, etc) he went into kidney failure and we had to put him down to keep him from suffering a painful death. It took us from Feb to Nov to get our hands on him even though he lived on our property all that time and just in one day he suddenly decided we were OK. RIP Bubba you at least had a few happy years after being thrown away.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your story and for having that loving and generous heart with animals. I love dogs and I have had the opportunity to adopt some dogs and cats in my life. To help Honey in her process of letting go fears and the trauma she experienced when she was a puppy I would recommend you to give her some Bach Flower Remedies. I am a Consultant and I have seen very good results. You can find more information online (Bach Flower Remedies). They are safe to use for humans, pets and plants and have no side effects. Rescue Remedy can help her when she is in a state of a lot of stress or fear (4 drops of the remedy in her water). As a longer treatment I would recommend Star of Bethlehem (for past trauma) and Mimulus (for fears). You add 2 drops of each remedy in her water. I have given my dog Jackie some remedies and they work very well on her.

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