It was a Wednesday, and I had just finished photographing the dogs that would be going up for adoption at Winnipeg Animal Services. The kennel attendant asked if I had time to do one more. She had a five-month-old pup in the back that had recently come in from a northern community, he was not ready for adoption but would I mind taking some photos.
Of course I didn’t mind, so I headed to the back outdoor enclosure, camera in hand.
This is how, where and when I first met Odin… a scared, sad-eyed pup, too big to be carried but nonetheless, held safe and secure in the arms of the attendant.
It was March 5th, a wintery, snowy morning. Our hope was that Odin would feel more comfortable once outdoors… but that simply wasn’t going to happen. This poor pup had completely shut down, he stayed exactly where he was placed, too fearful to move a muscle. Even my bouncy balls and yummy treats failed to entice.
I snapped some photos and headed for home… my heart hurting.
I had been tossing about the idea of fostering for Animal Services, but my thoughts were more on the senior dogs. Not once had I consider taking in a pup, let alone a pup with problems… but when I got home, the first thing I did was show Roland Odin’s photos.
“Go get him,” was all he said. And that is what we did.
Odin was terrified of humans but he loved our dog, Lacie. He followed her everywhere. It was through her that we were eventually able to connect with him. To this day I believe that it was Lacie who truly saved Odin.
After two weeks he started to approach us, sometimes with a hint of a tail wag.
By three weeks he was wearing a harness and, with many treats and much coaxing, was able to venture out as far as the end of our driveway.
At four weeks it was decided that Odin could be officially placed up for adoption. My heart did a little flip-flop but we remained firm in our decision to foster only.
The world was still very scary but soon our backyard and Lacie came to be Odin’s safe place. Here he came to know life as a happy, bouncy puppy. He learned to play with toys, run with dogs and maybe, just maybe, that some humans were not so bad after all.
Odin did so well, I thought it best to start widening his horizons. His fear response in new situations was to shut down, but I felt that it was time to start pushing his boundaries. I pondered on the best way to go about this.
After much thought, I decided a puppy socialization class might be a good idea, so I contacted Ashley of Tess’s Dog Training. Ashley was amazing and offered to take Odin into her class at no charge to help in his socialization and hopefully his adoption. We were so grateful! I was excited!
A puppy class was a huge step for Odin. Through his eyes, everything about it was terrifying… the car ride, the new location, the strange people. I ended up having to carry him into his first few classes, not an easy feat with him being 45 pounds and growing.
But… what was not scary were the other pups. Odin LOVED them! Playtime at the end of class was simply THE BEST! So we continued on.
By the end of our second session of classes, he was actively participating and at times even proving to be the class clown. I was so proud of him!
Eventually, what was bound to happen, did happen… a man from out of town was interested in adopting Odin. Could he come and get him and take him home the same day?
My response was immediate… “sorry he’s been adopted”. And that is when and how, on April 23, Odin became an official member of our family.
June brought warmer days and the opening of our summer seasonal site at St. Malo… another new milestone for Odin. We were very pleased with how quickly he adapted to a new location. Truth be told… as long as Lacie is there, Odin is happy.
July was filled with summer activities. Odin experienced his first beach and did amazing… that is until he spotted this tiny little girl carrying this very big floatie. That kind of freaked him… but his recovery was quick.
Odin’s a funny pup… it’s like he has two personalities. At home, he is a normal, goofy, slightly annoying, rambunctious pup. Away from home he remains very unsure, very quiet and will “shut down” if he feels threatened.
Family and friends that know Odin in his home are surprised when I tell them how frightened he still can be.
And new people that meet him in new situations and surroundings are surprised and relieved when I explain that at home he is a happy playful boy.
My hope is to widen what he considers to be his safe place so that it includes more of the outside world. Baby steps are needed, so that is what we will do.
September has brought new experiences. We have joined a positive reinforcement obedience class and are excited about the opportunities this will bring for Odin. So far he is doing well… he remains cautious but is responsive in class.
Odin was approximately 5 months old when he was rescued from his lone existence at the garbage dump. His true birth date is unknown but Animal Services had assigned him a “maybe” birth date, October 3rd, 2018. We have decided to go with that.
So HAPPY NEWS!!… TODAY is Odin’s birthday!!
Happy Birthday, my brave boy. We love you!
“Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.” ~ Bear Grylls