|A portion of Willow's medical care was paid for by a generous grant from the Golden Retriever Foundation's April Fund |
April 1, 2012
03-24-2012: My number is 198. I do not have a name. I am a young female Golden Retriever. I live in a commercial breeding facility with several hundred other dogs of all ages and breeds. My home is a kennel run, I drink water from a drip pipe, not a bowl. My only purpose in life is to have puppies. Today many 2 leggers are here. Something is different. The two leggers are taking us out of our kennel runs and putting us in crates. I am scared. I hide in the back of my kennel run, I hope they do not see me. I am very scared. The two leggers have picked me up and put me in a crate. They have kind voices but sad faces. They say I will be ok, that my new life is starting, that I am safe now. I am terrified. I have never known anything other than the puppy mill I live at.
: I am at a new place with more 2 leggers. They talk to me as they move me in my crate, they have kind voices, some have water running from their eyes as they check me out. One tries to take me out of my crate, I won't come out as I'm terrified. She tells me I am beautiful and calls me Willow. She says I have a beautiful name and crawls into my crate with me. She removes the chain from my neck that has my number on it and says I don't need that anymore as I am a RAGOM dog now and I am safe. I have a name. It is Willow. I have a birth date. It is 08-16-2010. I am terrified and try to hide in my crate. A two legger with a kind voice and sad eyes talks to me and pets me when I am in my crate. He tells me it will be ok and that I am safe. I am too afraid to move, I just stand still and let him touch me. Human touch is new to me so I am very afraid. 03-26-2012
: I am now in a house with another dog named Bella and a 2 legger. I'm very scared but drink a little water and eat a little food, so I feel a little better. I go potty outside. Today I will go to my permanent foster home....I don't know what that means. I go for a ride to another scary place where I meet three new dogs. One is a girl dog named Jimmie, she looks like me but with short hair. She's ok, growled at me, but I know my place with her. The other two are boy dogs. They are big and kind of scary but they try to be nice to me. They do not look like me. I'm not sure about any of this. I am very scared. The two legger is being nice, I remember her from before but she is still scary. She says I am safe and no one will ever hurt me and only good things will happen now. I refuse to go into my crate, so the two legger tells me that I will have to sleep in her room tonight with the other dogs. I'm scared but try to sleep. Everything is new and scary. 03-27-2012
: The two legger feeds us and takes us outside to potty. She talks to me and says when I am ready she will touch me. The boy dogs try to play with me, I'd like to play but I don't know how and I am scared. I check out the trees and leaves, they are new to me. I taste them, some taste good, none taste like food. I sniff the two legger when she is not looking, if she moves I run away. I have three collars and two leashes on at all times. The two legger is worried I will run away and she will not catch me. I would run as fast and as far if I could get away. I am afraid of everything. I stay with one of the dogs who called Raven when the two legger goes someplace. Raven is nice to me. The two legger comes back. We eat again. I am very tired, I sleep a lot. 03-28-2012
: I sniff the two legger when she is asleep. I decide maybe she's not as scary as the other dogs are not afraid of her. I copy their behavior and follow them around. I will only eat if I can be next to one of them. I licked the two leggers feet and hand today. I let her touch under my chin a little. I run if she moves but not as fast. I chew on a rug and a chair. The two legger says "oh, honey we don't do that".....she says it nice. I don't know she is talking to me so I keep doing what I'm doing. She moves the rug and chair so I stop chewing on them. She looks in my ear and says "oh, you poor girl, you need to see the doctor". I am afraid but maybe not quite as much as before. I growl at the boy dogs, they scare me and I don't want them by me sometimes. I'm still scared. I found my voice and bark when the other dogs bark. 03-29-2012
: Today I took another trip to a scary place. The one they call Raven went with me. The two legger said it was the doctor. They touched me and looked at my ears. They put stuff in my ears and now they feel funny. The two leggers said it will make my ears feel better and that I will feel better too. I was very scared and just froze in the corner of the room so the doctor could do the stuff to me. I was happy to get back to the house and see Rocco and Jimmie. I was so happy, I let the human touch me and kiss me on top of the head. She had water running from her eyes when she kissed me and I did not run away, in fact I moved just a tiny bit closer for more. I even closed my eyes for just a second when she scratched me under the chin and on my chest. I found my safe spot on a soft rug only a foot or two away from the human here. That made water run from her eyes again. I am very tired and sleep a lot. I am still afraid but not everything is new now. 03-30-2012
: I love running around the back yard. I still have two leashes attached to me when I am outside but now I am used to running with them on. The other dogs wrestle and play with toys but I do not know how to do those things so I watch and sometimes I try to play but usually I get scared and run to the door so I can go inside. I am happy when I am in my safe spot, next to a wall and near the human. I growl at the boy dogs to keep them away when I am afraid. They are twice a big as me but they walk away when I growl. The human says they will not hurt me so I do not need to growl at them. I'm not sure about that. She says we will work on that so I am more comfortable. I'm still afraid and need to sleep a lot. 03-31-2012
: One week ago today my life changed. It has been a very scary week for me. Everything is new and I am still scared but I am getting more comfortable with humans (they are no longer just two leggers). Living in a house is ok, I have a lot to get used to. The human here feeds me, talks to me, touches me and is not mean to me. The dogs are ok, I am still afraid of the boy dogs sometimes and tell them to give me my space. They listen to me. My ears feel some better and my tummy is full. I have clean blankets and dogs beds to sleep on. There are three water dishes and they always have clean, cold water in them. I can drink anytime I want. The human said next week I will have a bath and some other humans may come to meet me. She says I will feel better when I am clean and that I will like other humans as they will be nice to me too. I'm not sure what any of that means. I'm still tired and sleep a lot. Foster mom here
: I had the honor and privilege to be in charge of the intake of the 29 Golden's who RAGOM saved from the liquidation auction. I witnessed first hand how terrified these 29 dogs were when they arrived in our care. It was heart breaking, heart wrenching and yet heart fulfilling to see these dogs as they began their new lives. I am also honored to be Willow's foster mom. Her journey will be full of baby steps as she learns what life as a companion dog is all about. Just like the Willow tree she was named after, Willow is proving to be very beautiful and resilient. She has a very kind soul. She is strong and able to rebound quicker than I could have ever imagined. I have no doubt she will continue to make progress and will be a wonderful family companion in a few months.
I would like to thank everyone who has donated their time, money and resources to help these 29 dogs so they can live the life they were intended to live. They are very lucky such kind hearted, generous people exist. Thank you for following Willow's journey and the journey of her other 28 friends as they embark on their new lives.