Henrie’s Second Lease On Life
In this installment of Barkzy’s Stories, a series devoted to the stories of dogs who’ve been rescued by the Barkzy community, we’re putting the spotlight on Henrie, a Border Collie, who was abandoned twice. Luckily, he was given a second lease on life when he was rescued by Hennim and Urie. Like most dogs with a traumatic past, it took a long time for Henrie to develop a sense of security. But over time and with lots of love, he’s found plenty of happiness with his new family. Read more about Henrie’s tale, as told by Hennim and Urie, below.
Henrie was 1-years-old when he came into our life. He was one of three puppies plucked from a farm in San Bernardino, California and had long been abandoned before he and his siblings were found. Their mother, unfortunately, passed from an accident, and one of his previous owners had fallen ill and could no longer care for the pups. But even before we learned about Henrie and his predicament, he was adopted by a family in Irvine, who gave him up soon after having adopted him. It was only then that my mother received a call from the rescuer, who was scrambling to place Henrie in a home, hoping it would be permanent this time.
After our mom told us about Henrie’s situation, we couldn’t help wondering why Henrie was given up by the family in Irvine. We filled in the blanks with possible reasons why: Was he aggressive? Needy to a fault? It could have been anything, but in spite of all that, my sister and I always wanted a dog. Plus, our yard was the perfect size for a Border Collie to romp in. Mostly, we wanted to give Henrie a second lease on life, which outweighed any reservations we had about adopting a dog we didn’t know much about. Still, we decided right then and there to take Henrie in, and soon after the rescuer called, we picked up Henrie to take him home.
When we first took Henrie in, he wasn’t anything like we expected. He wasn’t aggressive, but he wasn’t looking for attention either. Henrie was afraid. So afraid that when we tried approaching him, he ran away. He wouldn’t respond when we called his name. And he didn’t even use the bathroom on the first day of moving in. While it came as no surprise, it was clear that Henrie was neglected in his past. Having been given up by his first owner, and then by his second, had been traumatic. And, apparently, Henrie knew enough to understand the implications of being abandoned. Since he had undergone so much, and in such a short period of time, we knew it would take time for Henrie to understand that this time was different.
Since all of our attempts to make Henrie comfortable weren’t working, we figured it might be best to step back, and hard as it was, wait for Henrie to warm up to us. In the first few days, we didn’t try approaching Henrie, or asking for his attention. Instead, we focused on making our home feel like a safe space for him. We made sure he was fed, had access to fresh water, and carved out a little place where he could hide whenever he became afraid. And though it seemed like all our efforts would go unnoticed, Henrie finally started to warm up to us. He no longer ran away, his ear would perk up when we called after him, and he started to follow after us throughout the house, even if at a distance.
While it was sad to think that Henrie was once a dog with all odds stacked against him, I’m happy he managed to make his way into our lives. Building Henrie’s confidence back up again was no easy feat. It took a long time and lots of effort on my part to figure out how to best care for a dog that was still recovering from a bad past. If anything, we were lucky that Henrie wasn’t difficult by any other definition. We’ve never had to train him to use the bathroom, and he hasn’t had a single potty accident since we adopted him. We never had to tell him off either—Henrie has been well-behaved from day one.
The hardest part, really, was helping teach Henrie that he no longer had to be afraid. It was a process that involved feeling my way through the dark. There is no one clear-cut way to prove to your dog that you love them, so it took plenty of patience on my part, too. Well, it seems like all the effort paid off—not so much that I helped “undo” some of Henrie’s trauma, but because he now knows that he’s in a safe place with people he can trust. Or at least my family and I like to think so. It’s hard to believe otherwise when we see Henrie now.
His face lights up when he sees, and he’s taken a liking to toys, which has helped bring out his playful disposition. While he likes his stuffed animals and chasing after tennis balls, he has a particular affinity for squeaky toys. When we first introduced him to one, he had no idea what it was. But, since then, squeaky toys have become a staple in his everyday routine. It’s also a real treat for Henrie to run off-leash, something we allow him to do whenever I go on a hike. To see him run, and so freely, is a delight for my family and I, too.
Although Henrie is revealing more of his personality each day, he’s just as gentle as the day we picked him up. He treats his loved ones with so much tenderness, which even extends to the tiniest of creatures. Every time he sees squirrels in a tree, for example, and they mock him from the branches, he just observes them calmly. No barking. No growling. He just sits and stares at them. It’s something he could do all day, and it’s the cutest sight! If anything, I’m still trying to convince him to use his orthopedic dog bed. He prefers to sleep on the hard floor, which isn’t good for his joints, but like most things with Henrie, it might just be a matter of time.
With Henrie, it was well worth the wait. While being a dog parent is challenging, the love, trust, and respect that you receive in return is priceless. Life is so much sweeter with Henrie, and I hope he feels the same way about us, too.
Want to share your dog’s adoption story? Email us at email@example.com and tell us all about your four-legged family member and the impact they’ve made on you and your loved ones’ lives.