Adopted by Trish & Brian Schmidt – June 24, 2012 – Barrington, NJ, USA

On September 8th, 2011 our friend and companion of nearly 15 years, Harley passed away at home with us. When he first arrived in our home from an abandon litter he was so small he could sleep in my motorcycle helmet. But from that tiny bundle he would grow into a wonderful loving Sheppard mix. When he passed away, I swore I’d never get another dog. There was no way I could ever take the chance of feeling that sad again.

Time may not heal all things but it does soften the hurt and there are so many dogs and other pets in need of a forever home. Both Chloe and Sassy were willing to add a member to their pack. Plus my wife and I had the room and the means to welcome one more into our house and were once again hopeful that another dog would be willing to make this their forever home.

This time we wanted to do something different. While there are so many dogs in need of a home, there is also a group that most times is overlooked. Dogs and pets with special needs. While the most special need they require is merely a loving family to be a part of a home to call their own, they possess a disability or condition that makes many people overlook their ability and desire to provide a lovely and caring companion for life.

We began to submit applications for an older dog with special needs. The first one we were glad to hear about had already found their forever family. Another was called the other side of the Rainbow Bridge while in the care of their foster family. The next was an application for a medium sized Shepard we saw her name is Nanaz. She had come from Iran and was missing her ears and one of her front legs. But she had heard America was the land of opportunity and that she was more than willing to give a family the opportunity to be her forever home.It looked like she had both a tough time and a loving life in Iran. Because her ears are cropped it is believed she was at one time a working field dog. But at some point she became just another stray on the streets of the city. She also became the mother to a litter of puppies; sadly what became of them is unknown. She had to survive on the acts of kindness from numerous Iranian people during her life on the street. It was them who fed and cared for her for as best they could for about 2 years.

But she was just one of many strays and like in America; a stray may just fade into the background and become someone else’s problem to deal with. During an effort to rid the streets of stray dogs in Iran, Nanaz’s left front leg was badly injured. I was told one of the people who cared for her while she lived on the street found her and took her to Vafa Animal Shelter for help. It was here despite their best medical efforts, and it was decided her leg was too far gone to save. But now at Vafa she would receive not only protection from the street but the love and care from dozens of volunteers and supporters who maintain the shelter.

Sadly after nearly two years without being adopted and thought to be around 8 years old it was feared shelter life would become too hard for a disabled dog. Because disable dogs are hard to find adoptions for, it was decided she might have a better chance of finding a home in America. Through a generous sponsor and the efforts of many volunteers Nanaz and another tri-paw Shadi were chosen to make the trip to Toronto in March of 2012 and from there on to America. I’m not sure where Shadi went but Nanaz was fostered at Mutts Need Love Too this was a Dog Rescue run by Susan Reaver in Maryland. And it would be through Susan in June that we would finally get to meet Nanaz.

We had set up a big dog crate and since my Harley was already a senior dog, the house already had ramps built to accommodate his needs in his last couple of years. It was decided Nanaz would meet Sassy and Chloe in the back yard for their first introduction. She immediately began to explore both the yard and of course her new sister’s butts. They of course returned the favor. But, there was no fighting and no growling. They seemed to accept each other with no problems. We showed Nanaz the ramp to the dog door and she went straight in and out on the first try.

Inside the house it was much the same. Nanaz went straight to the living room and found the crate. She immediately claimed it as her own and made herself at home. A small grumbling growl let Sassy and Chloe know she had staked her claim to this spot. But she was perfectly willing to let Trish and I have access to the crate and to pet her as much as we wanted. We had already had our references checked. And our house and yard passed inspection. She’d pop out and visit and then run back in. But everyone looked happy and permission to adopt Nanaz was OK’d.

Her first night she spent pretty much in her crate. She looked so scared when Susan left. I guess to her; she must have wondered if her life and world would ever stop changing. It was not the only reason but an important one in why we didn’t change her name. So many things kept changing around her, we wanted her to at least keep beautiful name and make her understand that it was she that was being welcomed into her new forever home.

We covered her cage with a blanket on the sides so she could have some privacy. For the most part she stayed solidly in her cage. But she would pop out for a quick peek of her new surroundings from time to time. We put her food and water in the crate at first of which she was very possessive of with the other dogs, but had no problem with us moving it. In fact she welcomed us to come in her domain and pet her or rub her tummy.

But she was so well behaved and friendly we left the crate open the first night and never had a reason to ever close her in. But over the next few weeks she would rarely come out of it. I’d come home from work, she’d run out and bark her head off to go for a walk. Sadly she only had enough steam to make it around the small block. And I had learned she hates squirrels and will go through anything to get to them. Lucky for them she can’t run fast for long.

Once we are home from her walk she gets a drink and jumps right back in her crate. We even began to worry she would never come out except to get a quick pet or tummy rub. But slowly she began to immerge. She would lay out on the middle of the floor for a little bit and jump back in her crate for a while. Yet as each day passed, she spent more and more time out with her new sister’s. So one day when she went out back to spend some time with Sassy, Trish and I packed up the crate and just placed her bed there. She seemed a little upset when she saw her fortress was gone, but soon acted as if she didn’t notice. It is her spot though and doesn’t take kindly to others entering it. But has since stopped growling over her food bowl, I guess she knows now no one will take her food. And she willingly shares her personal water bowl with her sister’s.

Everyone that meets Nanaz falls in love with her. And her disposition shows regardless what happened to her leg and ears, the people who cared for her both on the streets of Iran and in the Vafa Shelter erased any memories of any harm people may have done to her. She has nothing but kindness for all those she meets and that is a testament to the generous hearts of the people of Iran and Vafa that cared for her for so many years and Susan of Mutts Need Love. They all put forth an incredible effort to not only help Nanaz and countless other dogs have a chance to find her forever home but also for Trish and me to fill a void in our hearts with one of these wonderful dogs.

Brian schmidt


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