Sometimes, all it takes is love and patience for someone to open up and show their true self. As it turns out, the same goes for our animal friends.
Clementine is a shelter dog who was found by animal control roaming the streets of Southern California. The homeless dog was in a terrible condition when she was rescued.
She only weighed 45 pounds, half of her fur was gone, and she had five concurrent infections.
Because of her many health issues, she was set to be put down at the shelter. Luckily, someone saw her before that could happen.
Chelsea Elizabeth Cossairt came across Clementine’s photo online, and her heart was instantly captured. She sent an application to the shelter and immediately received a call from them.
“The person at Ginger’s Pet Rescue was floored and in tears that we were interested in her,” she told The Dodo.
“She told us that of the hundreds of applications they’d received for dogs in the previous few weeks, not one had been for Clementine.”
The worker explained that Clementine had a long and unpredictable road ahead of her due to her poor health condition, but Elizabeth didn’t mind. She knew she would do everything she could to help the abandoned dog recover.
Elizabeth remembers meeting Clementine and instantly knowing that she had never known the love of a human. When she took her home in January, the dog had a hard time adjusting.
“Clementine was absolutely terrified of people and wouldn’t look anyone in the eyes,” she said. “She shook all the time, hid behind furniture and sat facing the wall for months.”
Elizabeth said she had “defeated, empty eyes.” Clementine never looked at their faces and bowed her head whenever they walked over to her or near her. The dog was perpetually afraid, even if there was no threat present.
But there were family members that Clementine immediately trusted—her two new furry siblings, Moose and Maple. It was then that Elizabeth saw Clementine’s potential to grow into a happy dog. All she needs is time and, of course, more love.
After many appointments with the vet and months of treatment for allergies and infections, Clementine finally started feeling better. She stopped shaking, and what’s more, she gained the courage to look her owners in the eyes.
And seven months later, that became Clementine’s favorite thing to do.
“She loves to look deeply into our eyes while we pet her, and she’s very attentive when we’re talking to her,” Elizabeth said. “She’s still wary of new people and sometimes even gets spooked by us if we move too quickly or come up behind her, but she’s come so far.
From being the sickly and scared dog in the animal shelter, Clementine has now grown into a dog full of playfulness and curiosity. It’s as if she’s experiencing puppyhood for the first time.
Most importantly, she finally feels safe enough to hold her head up and look into her human parents’ eyes.
“She lays at our feet when we work from home and loves belly rubs after finally exposing her belly to us for pets last month,” Elizabeth said.
“She’ boops’ everything in sight — we think it’s her way of exploring and figuring out what things are. She’s so puppy-like that sometimes we wonder if she got to be a puppy at all. She’ll nudge your hand if you’re not petting her or if you stop and she’s not done yet.”
It was all that Elizabeth had been waiting for—to see Clementine come out of her shell. Now that it’s finally happening, she couldn’t be happier and prouder of how much she has changed.
“She’s so sweet and such a gentle girl,” Elizabeth said. “We could tell very early on that she just wants to love and be loved in return. She’s loyal and protective of us, and she follows us around everywhere.”
Clementine is now 70 pounds, and all her infections have been resolved. She eats special food and is undergoing immunotherapy for her 60+ allergies. The process has been and will be long, but Elizabeth is glad to see her thriving.
Clementine has definitely made a stunning transformation, both inside and outside, since her adoption. If it weren’t for her parents’ love and patience, this dog wouldn’t have been able to recover from her lonely past. Kudos to them!