Sometimes I forget that what may seem like a simple snapshot to me, may hold a greater meaning for someone else. I snapped these shots of Calvin simply because he is adorable, and after all he has dealt with and overcome, when he looks me in the eye and wags, it melts my heart. As I was snapping, he smiled. His huge, adorable, goofy smile. My heart melted.
I didn’t give the pics much more thought when I uploaded them to the A Howlin’ Good Time Facebook page. A few days later, his mom told me that the photo of his smile made her melt. I thought it was funny because that was the term I had used. She said that photo was the first time she had seen him smile. That simple photo had a deeper meaning for her. It was another example of how far her sweet boy had come in his journey. He is happy and he can show it.
When we met Calvin he was experiencing a new life facing and overcoming fears instilled in him by years of neglect. He hadn’t known love until his mom saved him:
Calvin’s eyes captured my attention first. The Humane Society of Missouri picture of him showed his copper eyes. In reading his info, he had been there since November, and this was March. We went to St. Louis to see him. We were told he was the last of 100 black dogs rescued from a Texas over crowded shelter. He had to have his canine teeth surgically removed, as they were all broken off at the gum line, probably from chewing on wire crate. They didn’t know what happened to his cut on ears and tail, he was dropped off by a family at Texas shelter like that and had spent over three yrs at that shelter.He was so scared on way home. Like wild. I sat in back seat and held him. At home, he ran from the TV and ceiling fan when turned on. He ran from me if I opened a cabinet or drawer. He would stay in the corner with head down and wouldn’t look at me. On walks he peed and pooped on driveway or street, like he didn’t know grass too much. I kept petting him under the chin so he would raise his head, and pet his tail up and away from his legs. He wouldn’t eat if we were in the room and he only drank water if I put his dish outside. The car rides have really changed. He loves them! The majority of changes you see now came from being at A Howlin’ Good Time.-Calvin’s Mom
Calvin has blossomed at daycare. Everyone adores him. It is impossible not to unless there is something horribly wrong with you. I can’t even be annoyed when he pees in the water bowls. Or when he sticks so close to you that you have to make sure you won’t step on him when you move. The fact that he wants to be so close to us and follows us is a privilege.
We have watched him blossom from a scared, shy boy afraid of so much, to a loving, curious, brave, happy part of our pack. He no longer hides, he asks for affection, and he can be a little bossy. He has has developed an affinity for birthday cake, and essentially anything anyone is eating at any moment.
Calvin is an excellent example of how adopting a senior dog, and giving them a chance to experience kindness, patience, and love truly changes and ultimately saves their life. Don’t pass up the old, scarred, shy, scared dogs. There is a loving soul that just needs to be loved and given a chance to shine.
I had been planning this post for a while. Life drama and technical issues delayed me for too long.
Sadly, Calvin passed away July 18. He had been having health issues, and ultimately a mass around his heart and lungs took him from us. Our hearts are broken and we’re sure going to miss this sweet boy. It has been such an honor and so very rewarding to know and care for Calvin, and to watch him blossom.
Calvin’s smile will live in our hearts forever. He left a deep imprint on our hearts.
We will never forget him.