Leah’s Story

The Short Version:

I was a rescue-baby who recovered from a (nearly fatal) rough start to become a happy, healthy puppy.  I was super-duper happy and popular and loved everyone and everything for the first part of my life.  Sadly, I became noise sensitive and generally anxious then, when my big brother left me, I became scared of everything, including other dogs.  Since then, Mama has tried to help me in many, many ways, the best of which have been TTouch and getting me a job.*  My job is to track lost pets, I love it, and I’m told I’m really good at it.  I can’t wait to meet you and I look forward to trying to help you get your furry baby back!

*TTouch is the single most effective method mama has found for helping any dog who needs it!  For more on TTouch, see the Resources and Links page.

the short version

The Long Version:

Mama’s Miracle Baby

I had a rough start in life.  By the time I was 3 days old, my canine mama had died; someone (probably trying to hydrate me) forced fluid down my throat, and it aspirated to my lungs, giving me aspiration pneumonia; then my littermates and I were left outside the rescue in the cold in late November.  I was the littlest one, and I almost died of hypothermia.  In fact, the veterinarian on-site suggested that the most humane course of action would be to find a warm, dark place and let me die naturally.

Instead, my wonderful rescue-mama, Jaymeey Hatfield of the rescue organization The Other Side of the Fence, chose another option:  she picked me up and held me for over 2 weeks, afraid that I might still die without her body heat.  When she listed my littermates on Petfinder to find forever-homes, she didn’t even include me because she still wasn’t sure I would live.  Thanks to her care, though, I made a remarkable recovery.  I got antibiotics for the pneumonia and eventually became an active, happy, healthy puppy.

Finding a Forever-Home

When my mama searched for a puppy to adopt, she went on Petfinder, looking to adopt a big, lazy Bullmastiff and found my littermates.  Mama applied to adopt one of them and, as part of the process, she spoke with my rescue-mama.  They totally hit it off, talked several times for hours, and my rescue-mama told Mama about me and Mama knew right away that I was the one for her!  My rescue-mama drove 12 hours and Mama drove 6 in a huge snowstorm to meet so Mama could take me to my new home.  Ever since that day, Mama and I have developed an incredibly strong bond – we don’t ever really want to spend time away from each other – and a very strong mutual attachment and adoration.

Joyful Puppy

For the first two years of my life, I was the happiest, most social dog anyone could imagine.  I had loads of friends and lived to play with them.  I loved all people and all dogs I met, and I would cry if I didn’t get to meet a dog I saw.

I had a best friend named Naya.  We had lots of good times but, like most of my other friends, one day she went away and never came back.

leah and naya - collage

My Boyfriend

I also have a boyfriend named Johnny.  (He’s the only dog I still love and who still lives near me now.)  We love to play with each other – full speed, full contact, fully exhausting, and never often enough – take walks, play with toys, eat each other’s food, take naps, and just hang out.  Unlike most of my other friends, he has never left me.  In fact, I left him when Mama and I moved, but we still have playdates and overnights all the time so I’ll still have at least one doggie-friend.

My Big Brother

More important in my life than any of my other friends, though, was my big brother Noah.  From the time I was a baby, he taught me how to be a big kid, such as how to walk straight and at an even pace.  We spent time together every day and we absolutely adored one another.  He was my true companion and my soul mate.  Unfortunately, one day he disappeared.  Mama says he “moved to Texas,” but I don’t know what that means; I just know he was suddenly gone and I never saw him again and don’t know why.  I’ve never been the same since.

leah and noah collage - 2

Some Bad Stuff

With my big boy gone, I became scared of nearly everything, especially other dogs.  Mama guesses that I feel like I lost my bodyguard, but she’s not sure.  She just knows that, ever since my big brother left, I have been even more anxious than I was before and started yelling at, even biting, other dogs (especially my cousin Sadie, whom I used to let lick my face).  Mama says I’m “selectively dog-reactive, kid-reactive, and just generally very anxious!”  I don’t know what any of that means, but I know that the world is a really loud, scary place.  Being a scaredy-dog is really stressful, but Mama has found a few things that help me deal with it:  Dog-Appeasing Pheromone, TTouch, and my job.  Mama and I moved from downtown DC to Alexandria, Virginia, and that has lowered both of our stress levels.  Mama says that, when I’m not busy being scared, I’m just about the happiest girl you could ever meet.  I still LOVE meeting adults, any of them, anywhere, anytime, I’m just thrilled to greet, be greeted, and get a little extra lovin’!

The Good Stuff

My favorite things are my mama, playing with my friends (the few I have left), and, maybe most of all, kitties!  My rescue-mama socialized me to them when I was just a baby and I have absolutely adored them ever since.  I follow them around and beg them to be friends with me.  They usually hiss and swat at me, but I never give up, even when they slash my nose with their claws and make it bleed.  Then I just start barking ‘cause I think that might finally convince them.  Oddly enough, it never seems to work.  Alas, they tend to run away instead.

My other favorite thing is doing my job.  Mama introduced me to Sam, who (with Mama) trained me as a tracking dog.  I can track people, dogs, or just about any scent they ask me to match.  Here are a few pictures of me doing practice tracks Mama laid out for me, before I earned my special “Tracking Dog” vest.

Every time I do what they ask, they pay me with the coolest thing ever:  a game of fetch with a squeaky tennis ball!

I think it’s just a fun game, but everybody else calls it a “job”.  Whatever it is, I love it and everybody says I’m really, really good at it.  Mama and Sam agree that they have yet to discover my full potential but that I could end up being extraordinary.  For example, I have tracked scents 5 weeks old and the only reason I haven’t yet done older ones is that I haven’t yet been asked to try them.  Mama says I’m much better at my job than she will ever be at any of hers!

It also helps me be less scared of things.  Mama says it’s because I can focus on something constructive instead of the triggers that scare me and because it gives me an outlet for my anxiety.  She says all of the calming aids and special treats I need for my behavior modification are expensive, so she also likes it ‘cause I now earn my own money.  I don’t really understand any of that – I just know I love my job and Mama (and others) get really happy when I do it.  It seems to please everyone, humans and dogs alike, so I figure it’s a good thing all around.


Much love and face-licking,