Phoebe had a rough start to life. Her mom was brought into a shelter as a stray in Georgia, where she would deliver both Phoebe and her five other littermates.
After living with a foster until they were at the right adoption age, Phoebe and her family were moved to the Northeast Animal Shelter, located in Salem, Massachusetts.
No one knew why, but from the time she was born, Phoebe was a highly anxious little pup. She was constantly frightened of basically everything, which meant she wasn’t getting adopted – at least, not until one couple in particular arrived at the shelter.
Jillian Kuehn came to the shelter with her girlfriend in order to adopt a puppy. Most of the ones they met appeared quite nervous, but amazingly, 6-month-old Phoebe strolled up and began to sniff at them. So Jillian and her partner went to meet the border collie and Labrador mix in the visitation room, but Phoebe was so frightened that she spent a full 30 minutes frozen and refusing to walk on the leash. She would shake whenever the couple came closer.
Finally, Jillian’s girlfriend placed her cap on the floor. Phoebe curiously went over the pick it up and started playing the hat, and the couple fell in love with her. They knew she was the dog they wanted. They left and came back to spend time with Phoebe twice more, and they met with an adoption counselor at the shelter. Staff seemed unconvinced of Phoebe’s future, and the adoption counselor even said that Phoebe would likely be a fearful dog forever and that they would need to be very patient and understand that she would be a lot of work to deal with.
Jillian and her girlfriend didn’t care. There was something special about Phoebe that they couldn’t help being drawn to, so they adopted her officially. At first, the staff’s words were accurate. Phoebe was a complete nervous wreck and was scared of every single thing. She wouldn’t go outside, she had accidents, she hated the car, refused to go through doors, and loathed being left by herself. On top of all that, Phoebe didn’t get along with her cat brother very well.
But her new Moms didn’t give up. They provided her with treats whenever she got over an obstacle or showed bravery, and they helped her develop coping mechanisms. Slowly but surely, Phoebe began to learn. She realized strangers weren’t scary. She learned to understand her cat brother’s language and played with him. With the TV on, she could be left alone.
In just two months, Phoebe completely transformed. She loves meeting new people and other pups, has fun at doggy day care, and loves visiting the beach. She even enjoys trying new things! Jillian and her girlfriend worked so hard to get her here, but now, Phoebe becomes braver every single day – all thanks to her Moms who refused to give up!
Images & Feature Image Source: Jillian Kuehn