We adopted Summer a month ago. She was the last of a litter of seven Chihuahua Terrier pups, and unfortunately, no one wanted her.
When we brought her home, we understood why.
At first, it was endearing to have this melancholy nine-month-old puppy in our home. “Oh she looks so sad,” we’d say. “Look, she won’t even come out from under the table. How cute!”
But the novelty quickly wore off.
Something wasn’t right about this dog.
It wasn’t just the housebreaking and the potty training, it was trying to love her.
She wouldn’t be loved.
She didn’t want anyone to touch her – no one. We’d reach out to pet her ears, and she’d cower away in fear.
We tried to take her out, but this made things worse. She’d growl at anyone who even tried to approach her.
I felt horrible, but I wanted nothing more than to find her another home.
“Your dog really looks like she has the world on her shoulders,” someone remarked.
I wanted to give up.
Then someone told me to give it more time and give her more love.
But then I lost her.
She escaped out of the house one afternoon, and her small but surprisingly swift legs were no match for me. I went after her, searching up and down our block, yelling as loud as I could, “Summer! SUMMER!”
No answer. No trace of her anywhere. My heart sunk.
I began to think of how I was going to break this to the kids. Maybe she’d come back? Maybe.
Well, she didn’t just come back. She had never left. She had darted out, but quickly circled right back, finding a spot underneath our car on our driveway. When I discovered her, she was shaking like a leaf. I gathered her in my arms and gave her tense body a tight hug.
That was when I realized, she had all the freedom in the world to run away.
But dog gone it, she stayed.
Maybe when we’ve never felt wanted, we don’t know how to act like we are.
In any case, she stayed, hidden and scared, but still within my reach- fully unleashed, yet tethered there by a faint thread of hope.
Last night, I watched Summer’s small furry head rise and fall with my daughter’s sleeping chest.
She is ours now. It wasn’t instant. It wasn’t easy.
But learning to be known and learning to be loved never is.
I’m pretty sure our Summer is thankful she stayed.
I know we’re so glad she did.