She's unmistakeable. Those eyes. That tongue. Once she left the shelter, I honestly never expected to think about Lilli Bear again, let alone see her. It's not that I didn't like her -- in her months with GADAB I did develop a fondness for her. But we see so many dogs and not every one becomes the sort that embeds himself in your consciousness and never fades away. When her owner redeemed her, I wished the best for Lilli Bear; I hoped her time after her stint in the shelter would be better than her time prior to it, but my focus turned to the dogs still in custody.
When I saw her on the street, it was like running into a friend from a past life. "Lilli Bear!" I cried. But she and her owner hurried along, and I was left standing there, stunned and unnerved. "I know that dog!" I shouted to no one in particular. People began to give themselves an unnecessarily wide berth as they passed me. After a moment, I continued toward home.
Sometimes at the shelter I get sloppy with my handling. I'll let a dog jump on me more than he should or I won't ask for eye contact before bestowing a treat. Corinne reminds me that the greatest gifts we can give these dogs (in addition to comfort and affection) are the tools to help them when they leave our care. We can teach them manners. We can show them tricks. We can equip them with behaviors that perhaps will endear them to the people they ultimately go home to. Just maybe those behaviors will prevent people from mistreating them. Maybe. As for Lilli Bear, I don't know if our work with her has any affect on the way she's treated now. I do know that her coat appeared shiny and her demeanor seemed relaxed. I can only hope she's living the life she deserves.