JULY 3, 2019BY TEACHINGANDSINGING
Sissy – From Tramp To Lady
Once upon a time, there was a gorgeous four-legged, black fur nose without a name in the same shelter, we were still working at.
They called her “Dam”, which is Thai for Black.
I had been so busy with trying to figure out how to get Loki out of there and thinking about how to convince my hubby, who was dead set on NOT adopting any more animals, that I did not realize, he had long set his eyes on another pup.
I was in Loki’s run when my hubby came to me and asked me to follow him since he wanted to show me something in area B, which was the back part of the shelter and mainly the rescued fur noses from the illegal dog meat trade were kept there.
I was in that area every day and could not imagine, what he wanted to show me, that I did not already know.
There were so many runs, and some of the personalities of the dogs did not match with each other. It was my job back there to observe and start pairing the dogs with more suitable friends.
My hubby lead me to a run, that was aside from the others and more hidden, but that was because of the way Area B was built, not to hide dogs.
And there she was – kept in check and pushed in the corner by the others, who were all very friendly dogs, but somehow did not like “Dam”.
We entered the run and very carefully sat on the bamboo table for a while and let the pack smell us and determine for themselves, that we were friends and meant no harm.
“Dam” was in an open cage way to small for her and started to sneak out, as the other dogs were busy with us. I felt a wet nose from behind on my arm and realized, it was “Dam” trying to see who we were.
When the other dogs realized she was near, they snarled and growled at her and chased her back into that small cage, where she just cowered and shook vividly with fear.
It is no wonder, I never noticed her before, if she was being intimidated like this and always hiding.
My hubby told me, he had spotted her a few days ago, as she was being chased by the others and did exactly the same thing.
As he was walking by, her eyes caught the eyes of my hubby and seemed to beg to get her out of there! He stopped dead in his tracks and she came to the front gate and looked deep into his eyes with a look that could have melted melt the heart of stone.
Needless to say, he fell in love instantly!
We started to spend time in that run every day after we finished our work and she very shyly observed us from her hiding place, but with curiosity in her eyes. Finally, we talked to the director of the shelter and asked if we could take her home.
With over 600 dogs around it is hard to know each one of them and we had to show her whom we meant, as some of them are really hard cases, especially coming from the dog meat trade.
She agreed and “Dam” was taken out of the run and taken to the clinic area, where she was bathed and put in a large cage to dry off and settle down, as well as to be observed for any sign of illnesses for a few days.
At that time, I did not want to ask about Loki and my tears started to fill my eyes, as I now saw zero chance for Loki to join our family.
The day had come, where we could take “Dam” home and we decided to change her name to Sissy, which she seemed to accept right away, because the first time we called her new name, her ears perked right up.
How would our pack react to a newcomer and more importantly, after the experiences Sissy made in the shelter for Lord knows how long, how would she react?
Sissy’s Arrival At Her New Home
Living in the boonies with nothing but jungle, rice fields, and neighbors who looked at the “Farangs”, (which expats are called here in Thailand), like we were from another planet, it is needless to say, that our house was an old warehouse and just fixed up to live in.
Being in animal rescue, there are no luxury items, other than a TV, that, if not too tired, is watched occasionally.
We did have computers and internet there and my husband was able to set up a fraction of our recording studio, which with the work we were doing, was hardly ever used anymore.
I had taken a break from teaching to give my entire time to animal rescue and it was a nonstop job.
The day we brought Sissy home, the neighbors were burning garbage in their garden and our house smelled of burned plastic among other fine poisoned fumes.
Opening the windows was useless, as more of those fumes would have entered.
Something about these smells seemed to frighten Sissy and when turned loose in the house, she instantly looked for a place to hide.
The first acquaintance she made was with Shadow, our old black cat we brought from Germany.
They looked at each other and Shadow hissed and Sissy snapped at her and nipped her in the behind.
That was enough saying hello for Shadow and she ran into another room.
Sissy was not seen for hours and she must have found a really good spot because we could not find her.
As dinner time rolled around, I was cooking for hubby and the clan and the smell of delicious chicken drove Sissy out of her hiding place.
I tried to get close to her, but she was not having any of that yet.
The surprising part was when she saw or heard my husband, she would run and hide instantly again – and that after flirting with him so shamelessly at the shelter.
When I served my hubby his dinner and then all the animals, she realized there was something for her as well. She slowly crawled towards her food in her bowl and shrugged with every noise she heard and looked around scared.
The Rimklong Gang, as we call our four-legged clan, seemed to know that Sissy still needed that time to adjust and did not even look at her.
We observed her without her knowing it and saw, that she would snag a piece of food and run with it. That is when we realized how repressed she must have been for such a long time by all the other dogs living with her in the past.
The days went by and we had given Sissy all the room she needed and wanted to adjust and she still would not come near us.
We had a big fenced yard with two huge water tanks in it and fenced in very high. We even put chain link fence over the top as a roof to ensure none of our gang would get out and nothing would come in, especially since there were a number of cats as well, that we took care of, other than our own and they loved to climb.
If you think, there is no difference between rural and domestic cats, you are dead wrong.
These guys are most creative in developing ways to escape and with all the cobras and scorpions among centipedes and other nice creatures around, that was something we did not want or need, since the next vet or civilized city was 45 minutes drive away, just like the next 711…lol.
Sissy discovered that yard and would not come in anymore for that day.
She was quite comfortable behind the tanks and among the hundreds of spiders that lived there.
Then she heard a Thai man yell at something and like speed lightning, she shot out from behind the water tanks and ran into the house cowering and shaking in the corner.
That was the first time I was able to pick her up and tried to calm her and told her, that everything was alright.
By the way, her body was reacting, I felt that she wanted to believe me, but had severe issues with trusting me.
She seemed not so frightened of women, but she panicked when she heard the Thai language spoken or yelled by men. She definitely had issues with all men. Furthermore, she only needed to see my husband and off she went into hiding.
My husband was a little confused, especially after she had flirted with him so shamelessly and he just said to her: “So you just used me to get out of there, huh?”
She just threw him that look as if she wanted to say: “Yeah and you were stupid enough to help me, and now you can kiss my Heini” … lol.
The days and months went by and Sissy adjusted quite well, even though she kept pacing, and pacing, and pacing without a break on a daily basis.
She never barked and we got to know her quite well, even though she still kept her distance.
When she thought we were not looking, she started to play with the others and rolled on the floor or her favorite red couch, but as soon as she realized she was being watched, she went right back into her old behavior.
We also noticed, that she was well trained in climbing and gracious show movements and started to try to find out her past. Of course, there was not much to find out and we realized since she came from the illegal dog meat trade, that she must have been someone’s pet at some time and was stolen, maybe. We also learned after quite a bit of research, that she survived a fire in a different shelter among 80 other dogs. All of the other animals living there, unfortunately, were killed and after that second horrible ordeal, she finally ended up at the shelter we were working at.
She always seemed to look for something, as she sniffed in the air constantly while on her pacing routine.
My husband still could not get near her and me? She occasionally treated me with her attention, but on her terms. We continued to give her all the space and time she seemed to still need.
Then the day came where Loki finally joined us. I was so thankful that my husband finally agreed, after seeing the special bond Loki and I had and still have.
THAT was the turning point for Sissy. A friend out of the same place, with similar experiences, was what she needed to open up.
Sissy and Loki became the best of friends and she even started to be silly with all the other animals.
It was love at first sight and a wonderful experience for us to see how an abused dog finally opens up.
Then she found her bark again and what a bark it was. That was not a ladylike bark, but more the roaring of a dog that was in the process of finding itself again.
That bark left no misunderstanding but an “I am a dog – just hear me roar”.
Our time at the shelter had come to an end and it was time to move on, so we packed up all of our belongings, which was not much other than the recording studio and all the animals and moved to a different part of Thailand.
Sissy seemed to sense that it was time to move on and voluntarily went into her big crate together with Loki. Her eyes had a look of anticipation and happiness much to our surprise.
After a very long and endless seeming ride across Thailand with two moving trucks, we finally arrived at our new destination about 18 hours later and all the animals were gems and very patient during that journey.
Of course, we had stopped for plenty of bathroom, food and water breaks and all of them behaved like the perfect children, knowing that this was the beginning of a new chapter.
Once turned loose at the new house with that huge yard, there was so much to discover and all of them ran around like silly children sniffing and exploring their new home.
We kept the cats inside for a few days to give them time to adjust, and they were quite thankful for that. After all, that gave them time to explore the house and think of all kind of silly stuff to do.
Now it came to another turning point for Sissy, and she started to show interest in my husband.
By now two years had gone by, and she started to sniff at him, when he was laying down, even to the point of snuggling next to him, when he was sleeping, maybe realizing he wasn’t so bad after all. She and I had developed a great relationship, and she no longer ducked when one of us moved.
Then the big day came and Sissy finally overcame her fear and came to my husband voluntarily, shyly licking his hand.
It took a few more months for her to fully trust him, but today she rewards him with hundreds of kisses and snuggles and flirts shamelessly with him when she wants something.
She had learned to trust and today she even comes near our friends and shows no more signs of fear.
She vividly defends this property against the mailman and delivery people and is all dog – finally. The tramp became a lady and what a lady she is !!!
And How Was Your Day?