And like our own stories, sometimes they reach out further than their lives and teach us something new. Sometimes the animals come here without stories, they come here as mostly blank sheets and tracing back their lives past a month or two just never happens. But animals tell us their stories if we listen and don't try to fabricate a story that fits our needs for them.
Everyone thinks their rescued dog was abused. We imagine this horrific life of beatings and violence. Really, truly violently abused dogs are rare. Don't get me wrong, it happens, but not to most of the homeless dogs wasting away in shelters. What most dogs do suffer from is a life long pattern of physical and emotional neglect. Which is abuse too, but is different.
Lexie came to SAINTS just over two years ago, without much of a history. I knew she had recently been adopted from the pound and I knew that her family took her into the vets for euthanization within a few weeks for destructive separation anxiety. I also was able to find out that she had arrived at the pound three months prior to her adoption as a stray. And that was the entire story available on Lexie. I figured out some more about Lexie as the weeks flew by. She was telling me her own story which was richer and fuller and in many respects sadder, than what i had pieced together when she arrived.
Lexie was a chained dog, I know this is true by the atrophy and profound shortening of her back end muscles. It was not an injury that crippled her so, it was simply the inability to freely move for a very, very long time. I know she does not have separation anxiety but she suffers greatly from a terror of storms. I am willing to bet she develped that terror while chained helplessly outside alone with her fear. At some point in her long life, Lexie loved someone deeply. I will never know who that person was. But I know that she loved and I know that she lost because I know how hard she tries to love and not lose me. Lexie's complete dedication in her loyalty to me is humbling.
I have watched her in the dark sitting motionless at the fence of the dog area in the pouring down rain, sitting and watching the little kitchen window, just to catch a glimpse of me. Now that the kitchen is once again less full. Lexie and Tyra are back in with me so I no longer suffer with them their longing to be close to the person they need. And that is how it should be. Lexie tells the story of the truth of a dogs heart. It is patient and forgiving and true. And once it is given, the gift is forever even if the recipient doesn't deserve. Lexie is a truly great dog and a life long greatness brought her only to here.
How sad is that?