A few months ago we featured Fortune, a sweet, soulful Mastiff pup who spent the first three years of her life living outside in a cage unprotected from the elements. She was over-bred and abused by a backyard breeder, and never shown true love and human kindness. Mutts Matter rescued Fortune and two other dogs from that horrible place and the owner was prosecuted for animal cruelty. These pups were some of the most severe abuse cases we’ve taken in, but all three have had happy endings.
When Fortune first came into her foster home, she had shut down. She wouldn’t make eye contact, and was so frightened by her experience at the breeder that just the presence of humans, especially men, would cause her to panic and shake all over. Her foster mom, Lisa, would put a blanket around her and try to console her, but it took Fortune some time to begin to trust and settle in. For the first few months, Fortune stayed on their steps, always watching, but would never engage. She only responded to food and potty breaks, and then returned to her spot on the steps to watch life from afar.
Then one day, everything changed... Fortune walked down the steps and joined her foster family watching TV in their den, hopped up on the couch, and promptly rolled over for a belly rub. After months of waiting, the family celebrated and, from that day forward, Fortune was a different dog. She began to follow them around everywhere and was now ready to experience her new world. A special thank you to Lisa and Armstead, who, as first-time fosters, took Fortune into their hearts and home and worked with her for over ten months to provide her the love and stability that she so desperately needed.
Now that Fortune had started coming out of her shell, it was time to find her new family. For many months, there was little interest in her. As a large, 100+ pound dog who was four years old and came from abusive circumstances, this was already a tough spot for a rescue dog. Because Fortune still had fear around meeting new people and new situations, she was not a pup who would run up and greet prospective adopters with enthusiasm and kisses. We knew we were looking for a very special family.
In January, we featured Fortune as our Patch Pup of the Week hoping to draw some interest in this very deserving girl. Within two days, her mom-to-be, Julie, saw her featured in the Woodbridge Patch and was drawn to her sweet face, big brown eyes, and her story. Julie had been looking for a companion for her sweet Pit Bull pup, Harley, and had a feeling that Fortune might be the right match. Their first meeting took place at the dog park, and Fortune and Harley were instant friends. Fortune responded well to Julie too, and things were looking up.
Initially, Julie took Fortune in for a trial period to see how she would react in their home. The first few days, Fortune was very quiet and reserved, once again retreating to her safe spot on the steps to observe. Julie was patient and didn’t force any interaction with this very large pup who was now a permanent fixture on her steps. A few days later, when Julie’s teenage daughter, Taylor, returned home, Fortune suddenly lit up and connected with her. Fortune responded to her energy, and promptly followed Taylor up the steps into her bedroom and rolled over for a belly rub, and within hours they were playing tug. Fortune knew she had found her new family. To this day, she rarely leaves Taylor’s side and sleeps outside of her room at night to make sure that she is safe and sound.
After only a few weeks in her new home, Fortune (now named Delilah) is a pampered pup with a newfound confidence. She is joined at the hip with her pup brother, Harley, and learns from him every day. They play in the back yard, take daily walks together, and go on frequent weekend outings to the dog park, groomer and the local pet spa for a swim. Fortune has turned out to be quite the swimmer. At first she was a little fearful of the water, but as soon as she saw Harley swimming his laps, she jumped in and embraced it. She loves her new family and recently joined in their birthday cookout on the back deck, enjoying a big juicy steak all to herself, a long way away from life in a cage.
I checked in with Julie to see how Fortune was settling in and asked her how her presence had impacted the family. “She has brought new laughter into our home. We love to watch the antics between the two dogs, or laugh at Fortune’s excitement and flaring nostrils when she gets around meat. Our daughter Taylor has a new friend and protector, and Harley now has a soul mate.” Julie describes Fortune as one big, loveable, happy-go-lucky dog, who has learned to use her beautiful big brown eyes to get what she wants. She’s learned what it means to be part of a family.
Seeing Fortune’s amazing turnaround and happiness in her new life brings us all great joy. Her story is one that demonstrates the true resilience of dogs, and shows that a little love, stability and patience goes a long way towards their rehabilitation.
Our hope in telling Fortune’s story is that potential adopters will take a second look at a dog that has come from an abusive situation, or an older dog who has seen some tough times and know that the dog is not broken and can become a loyal, loving, member of their family. It’s an enriching experience to give back and help those in need, and that goes for our four-legged friends as well as our neighbor.
Not only did Fortune recently find her new family, but now she's famous too – check out her spread in FIDO Friendly Magazine!
A special THANKS to our Patch readers and the MMR community for your support. By recommending and sharing our pups’ stories with your friends and family on Facebook, you have made a real, tangible difference in the lives of these dogs who just need a little extra help finding the right home.
If you are looking to add a new pup to your family, click here to learn more about all our wonderful Mutts Matter dogs - http://www.muttsmatterrescue.com/available_dogs.html