In February of 2016, Dubby was only 10 months old. He is a male Spitz breed who was living at Bandar Abbas in Iran at the time. Unfortunately, he was being physically abused by his owner. A kind traveler from Mehr-Shahr took notice of Dubby’s plight when traveling to Bandar Abbas, and took pity on him. He took Dubby with him, putting him in the luggage area of the bus he was traveling with and brought Dubby back home with him.
At first, this dog was very tormented and scared. As the new owner’s wife would later recall “He was pretty useless as far as a dog was concerned. He wouldn’t bark, he wouldn’t even pee in the yard. He wouldn’t play, and the only time you knew that there was a dog in the house was when he would go for a walk when my husband at night.”
By the time new years had rolled around, they were done with Dubby. They came to Vafa Shelter, unceremoniously opened the trunk of their car, took the dog and shoved it into my hands and said: “He is your problem now”.
Dubby was stressed and scared as he was looking back at the car that had abandoned him till it disappeared from view, perhaps thinking that his latest semi-stable family had also given up on him now!
Instead of letting him stay at the shelter, I decided to take him home since I felt that he was way too scared to be brought into a big group of dogs at once.
Dubby began a new life with me as his caretaker. Still, he was scared, without any self-esteem and many behavioral problems. The sight of other friendly dogs who were living at my residence would terrify him. Even innocuous noises like a fly buzzing around, or a wind rustling the trees would frighten him. His eyes always bulging and his body ridged.
Days went by, and slowly he began to see the difference between us and his previous owners. With experiencing love and patience, his demeanor changed. He learned to trust and come around. His tail wasn’t always down, his body was more relaxed, and his face looked happy and energetic. It looked like he was finally happy with his life for once. When he went outside in the mornings, he would roam around as if he was inspecting his property, and would happily mark his territory. He would patrol the yard, making sure the mischievous kitties were not around and everything was as it should be. He even began playing with the other dogs and began causing his own version of mayhem with them.
Upon living here for about 6 months, his full confidence was back and this meant that he had no problem vocalizing his issues by the way of barking. Unfortunately, this was problematic for us as our neighbors complained about the noise. I had no choice but to take Dubby back to the shelter.
This time, however, with his newfound confidence and less fearful demeanor, he took to his new surroundings much easier and fit right in. It has been 3 years now since Dubby began living here, always with a raised tail and a happy face. Whenever a group of rowdy puppies are planning a mischievous activity, Dubby, the now confident dog, runs in and takes charge of the gang. There are no signs of fear in his eye anymore. Perhaps he now has forgotten about the past.
Farah Azari- Vafa Shelter’s co-manager