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Email Terri Steuben or call 714-875-7194.

 

 

 

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About these stories…

My stories here are all true—and some contain messages from the animal world that we humans need to know. There is something special about each story, whether it happened in my neighborhood, with a client or during one of my disaster-response deployments.  I hope you find them heartwarming and enriching.

Stories

Teddy at the Shelter

Teddy was a little brown ball of fur.

When I met Teddy, I was walking Amanda, a Labrador mix, and Rambo, a chow mix, at the local shelter where I liked to spend time. I was getting ready to take them for their evening walk when I spotted in the corner of the yard this brown fur-ball that had just been dropped off. His kennel wasn’t totally latched, so he had gotten out and was in the corner by the exit gate.

When Rambo saw Teddy, he went to check on him, which caused Teddy to back further into the corner. I asked another volunteer to come help me as I pulled Amanda and Rambo away from Teddy. The volunteer said Teddy growls at everyone and she wasn’t sure whether or not he would bite. I asked her just to keep him in the corner so I could get Rambo and Amanda out of the way and out the gate for our nightly walk.

When we returned, Teddy had worked himself further back around the fence and was still growling. After putting Amanda and Rambo into their night kennels, I went to see what I could do to help. By that time, one of the other volunteers had picked up Teddy and was carrying him out of all the debris he’d gotten himself into. She decided to take him directly to the office so we could feed him in quieter surroundings.

He was still growling. But, he was also starving. He ate two bowls of food. When that was gone, his growling began afresh. He weighed about 12 pounds and the volunteer who had been holding him while he ate decided it was time to put her growling friend back in his kennel before he did more than just growl.

Teddy Learns How to Pick a New Home

The next day when I visited the shelter, I decided I would check on this little guy and see how he was doing. Everyone said he was very shy and still growling. I decided to take Teddy out for a walk. For some reason, Teddy was happy to see me. His head was up and his tail was wagging—he recognized me from the day before and was definitely ready to go for his walk.

While we were walking, I stopped along the way several times and invited Teddy to come over for a hug. I knew no one really touched him. From what I could pick up from him, he had been a backyard dog and his former owners had only come out to feed him occasionally, and his water bowl was empty a lot. During our hugs, I told him all humans aren’t like that. I told him to look into the mind’s eye of the people coming into the shelter and pick a new person to take care of him. I explained, “Look into the people’s minds when they come and see if it’s a place you would like to live. If so, then let the people know you like them. If not, then just ignore them.” Teddy said, “I can do that?” I said, “Yes, of course you can.” He seemed so relieved. “Wow! I can do that,” Teddy said again. I replied, “Yes, I know you can—and it would also help if you were nice to people, growling can scare them.”

Teddy Gets His Wish

The next time I came to the shelter, the staff was waiting for Teddy’s new mom to come pick him up. So, I got a chance to say goodbye to my little Teddy. Often, shelter volunteers don’t get to see who takes home our little wonders. Teddy was waiting for me when I rounded the corner. He was so happy and described a woman who was short, about 5’4”, and had brown hair. I entered his kennel and knelt down. Teddy put a paw on each shoulder and kissed both of my cheeks! Then he just laid his head on my shoulder and kind of tucked it in. A tear left my eyes. Teddy had definitely touched my heart.

Later, I saw him leaving the shelter in a beautiful brand-new blue Mustang with a woman who looked as though she might be short and had brown hair. I smiled and waved as all of us volunteers were shouting, “Bye, Teddy!” Teddy just kept saying, “See I picked a good home. See I picked a good home.” And I replied, “Yes, my friend, you have found a very good home. Bye Teddy!”

(P.S. Amanda and Rambo were both adopted together later that year and now live in Laguna Beach, California.)

Copyright 2016 Terri Steuben • Site credits