Monday, January 2, 2012

A Special New Year's Anniversary

A special "Josh Turner" story, by Shirley Milligan:
Today marks the one year anniversary of my favorite New year's gift ever. Last year on New Year's day I was blessed with the adoption of "Josh Turner" now named Otis Milligan. I had searched many months to find the perfect rescue dog for our family. Since my husband and I were recent retirees and travel extensively, we needed a small, easy tempered little guy that enjoyed long rides and lots of love. One day in December 2010, I was searching through Petfinder online and saw a picture of little Josh Turner. I knew immediately that I was his human. I told my husband that he was the one. We immediately started the application process through Carolina Poodle Rescue.
I anxiously awaited the ok to come and see him. We got the news that we had been approved on December 30th and that Josh was still available for adoption. We made arrangements to meet him on Saturday, January 1st. Josh had not had the best of lives, and really didn't trust humans. He was a surly little guy who growled at almost everyone.....except me. When Donna Ezzell brought him to us, he jumped from her arms into mine; he found his human and his forever home. We had an immediate bond; he seldom leaves my side, (or lap). Otis was part of a group of dogs that were found abandoned somewhere outside Nashville by a breeder. Carolina Poodle Rescue took in the 4 smallest of the group. Since they were found near Nashville, each was given a country music star's name. We changed Josh Turner's name to Otis in honor of Otis Redding - somehow it seemed appropriate....our little Otis had been living the blues his whole life; setting on the dock of the bay wasting time......
When we brought him home, he would not bond with anyone except me. He was so afraid that everyone would be mean to him. He didn't want me to even sit him down. His teeth were in bad shape due to years of neglect and it was obvious that it hurt for him to eat. I took him to see our vet, Dr Causey, (a wonderful man who loves all animals as his own). He pulled all the decayed teeth and repaired his gums......leaving Otis with only his canines, 8 teeth in all. Ironically, it only enhanced little Otis' appearance. His little tongue sticks out almost all the time, making him even cuter, (we refer to his tongue as his "happy meter" - the more it sticks out, the happier he is). As Otis starting healing, it was amazing how much more he wanted to play; he developed a spring in his step and a wag in his tail!

Since Otis had apparently always lived in a cage, he didn't understand that he could actually walk in a straight line. He would always circle left, round and around........he even got the nickname "Nascar" from our local "dog whisperer". It took a couple of months before he was comfortable walking beside me in a straight line on his leash......slowly, everyday he became more and more the dog he was meant to be. One of our biggest milestones was the first time he actually walked around the block on his leash without begging me to pick him up...when we got home, it was like he realized he had made it without any help and it was fun! From that day, he has always looked forward to his morning stroll.
Trust was an issue that didn't come as easily. He has never growled or snapped at me but everyone else seemed to be fair game. For months, he would have bad dreams at night, (I can't and don't want to imagine what his life was like to make him so afraid of humans). At first, he tolerated my husband, Patrick, (letting him sit next to us on the couch and allowing him to pet him but not pick him up). Slowly he let him into our circle and now, he loves Patrick almost as much as me. Other humans took much longer. It has only been in the last few months that he has opened up and actually seeks out other humans. He isn't afraid anymore; he only sees goodness in humans.
Otis has become the neighborhood "giggle" dog. You can't look at his sweet little face with his "happy meter" hanging out without a smile and a giggle. Everyone loves him and ask about him. He has brought me such joy and love. I am so fortunate that the good people of Carolina Poodle Rescue were the angels that took in my little boy. Our one year anniversary has been made even sweeter with the news that little Porter Wagner - the first dog of the 12 dogs of Christmas has been placed. Porter was the leader and protector of the small pack of 4 that made their way to the sanctuary of Carolina Poodle Rescue. All the angels along the way for Otis: Porter who helped to protect him in the wild; the forest rangers who captured him; the rescue group who worked to find him a shelter; the beautiful and wonderful staff of Carolina Poodle Rescue whose hearts are larger than life; and our dear vet, Dr. Causey - we thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.....there aren't words enough to express our sincere gratitude for all your efforts.

Thank you , thank you , thank you, Carolina Poodle Rescue!

Shirley and Otis Milligan

note from Melanie...thank you so much Shirley, for sharing Otis' journey with our readers, and most importantly, for accepting this hurt little boy and loving him and helping him blossom into the treasure he was meant to be. We encourage all Poodle lovers to support the efforts of Poodle rescue groups. You can learn more about CPR by clicking here: Carolina Poodle Rescue

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