This story starts with a 2017 Thanksgiving APS adoption … actually, it starts much earlier.
Where It Starts
Mary and Judd had dogs for as long as they can remember: 40+ years. Most of that time, Boxers were their thing. Their last two were adults from a rescue—ailments already treated and behavior evaluated. In 2013, however, a surprise showed up at the door of their rural Durham home … literally. Early that morning, Judd looked out and saw a pit bull standing with its nose firmly pressed against the back door. Mary was wary of a large, unknown dog and a breed they had no experience with. But they quickly saw the recent mom was in desperate need of medical care. What were they to do? With an open mind and heart, they opened their home to this dog, who—not long after—became a part of the family. They named her Cheddar Ann after the first food she’d eat and Ann at New Hope Animal Hospital, who inspired them to keep her. If Cheddar Ann showing up on their doorstep wasn’t fate, we don’t know what is. To say goodbye four years later from what turned out to be Lupus seemed much too soon, but Cheddar Ann was a strong soul who brought joy, love, and happiness (and a newfound love for pit bulls) into Mary and Judd’s life.
When Mary and Judd were ready to bring another dog into their home, they learned that the APS had a vet devoted to medical care and an on-staff trainer evaluating dogs’ temperaments. Confident they could find a good fit, the duo planned their trip to the shelter to see another dog. But upon arrival it was small pit Giblet who captured their attention, intensely but calmly focused on them as they locked eyes.
And here we come to the two-time loser part of the story: Giblet had been turned into the shelter not one but two times. Her original family was, ultimately, unable to provide for her. The care from the APS gave her enough health and confidence that she was chosen for adoption. Sadly, the second family really wasn’t ready for a new dog. Giblet returned to APS, still destined to find her furever home. But when Mary and Judd saw Giblet that day, her losing streak was over.
Not All Sunshine and Roses
The challenges many of us face in adoption were certainly true for Giblet. Mary and Judd overcame them with time and some help. Their vet soon resolved remaining health issues. They then eased into leaving Giblet alone through short trial runs that turned into hours of great behavior in the house where she now has free run.
With positive training and lots of treats, Giblet mastered waiting before eating, before going in and out of doors, before going up and down the stairs—and even waiting to eat the cheerios Mary and Judd would place on her paws and forehead to help her learn self-control. Come, sit, down, stay, shake and leash-walking became second nature. Giblet also became used to being touched (especially ears, paws and tail)—even while eating. A dog who can handle nail-trimming at the vet, too?—we are impressed.
It was clear from the start that Giblet LOVES people, but a daycare evaluation at the Green Beagle Lodge’s by trainer Bru Hill revealed she didn’t trust other dogs and didn’t know what was considered play. Now, thanks to an experienced staff and patient steps, Giblet has been transformed from an anxious wallflower into a happy playmate with dozens of all sizes and breeds of active dogs each week.
Home Is Where the Giblet Is
So why the name Giblet, the parts often discarded before baking the Thanksgiving turkey? Because, for Mary and Judd, that’s Giblet in this story: a dog, perhaps misunderstood, with a tough past that they approached through different eyes. If you’re a cook, you may know this: If you’re wise enough to save the Thanksgiving giblets, you can use them to make the most delicious gravy for a truly remarkable meal. Mary and Judd’s own Giblet makes their lives happier, fuller and sweeter every single day.
That’s what we call a Happy Tail!