Thursday, April 26th, 2018

A A Vision of Youth by Breonna Loxley
Second Chances



SECOND CHANCES




With a notebook on my lap and my mud encrusted work boots stretched out before me, I sit on the humane society’s lounge room floor. Today I’m spending my lunch break with a dog called Stella. She is one of many animals who, after enduring a traumatic experience, has learned to fear humans. Though I speak softly, offering treats and praise, she cowers in the back of her carrier. I write for a while, letting her get used to my presence, then set my notebook aside and lean slowly into the carrier to offer her a treat. Her demeanor is tentative, but she moves closer and takes it from my hand. She immediately withdraws, but still, accepting food requires a degree of trust. It is a step in the right direction.



Many facilities lack the time, means, and space to care for and rehabilitate such fearful animals. Over the past few days, by keeping her in a quiet room and treating her gently, we’ve elicited positive responses that show what a fun and loving companion Stella will one day be. She ventures closer while I write, emerging slightly from the security of the kennel. I stay frozen to avoid spooking her. Her breaths are short and quick as she smells my clothes, arm, and face. Her nose hovers by my cheek, tickling my skin with puffs of breath. Her head blocks my paper as she sniffs my nose. After another moment, she retreats. Later, as I take a break from writing to talk to my mom on the phone, she emerges again, repeats the process, and then sticks her tongue into my mouth. Trying not to laugh and sputter, so as not to startle her, I thank her for the ‘kiss’.


We can only hope that by showing Stella love
and allowing her to trust at her own pace,
we can rebuild her faith in people.
It is a painstakingly slow process,
but the outcome will be worth it.



We can only hope that by showing Stella love and allowing her to trust at her own pace, we can rebuild her faith in people. It is a painstakingly slow process, but the outcome will be worth it. Perseverance means steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Delays simply mean we have to care a little more and work a little harder; those endeavors that require such commitment are usually the most worthwhile. Rehabilitating animals is one such endeavor. It’s inspiring to know that so many people are involved. There are a lot of things in our world that need to change; each tiny effort is one invaluable step towards that change. We cannot do it without the individuals who stop when they see an animal in need of help, the Good Samaritans who speak up when they see neglect, the adopters who accommodate animals that are less likely to get homes; the black dogs and cats, the animals with illnesses, injuries, or defects, the dogs that need some patience and training. We cannot do it without the people who give animals like Stella a second chance. Or, in my opinion...the people who let Stella give humans a second chance.

I am happy to report that, on the same day I sat with her while writing this article, Stella was adopted by a kindhearted individual and given the loving home she deserves.




Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.