On 2/27/2016 I was lucky enough to adopt Noah. I found out about Noah and his injuries as one of my close friends fosters for the rescue that saved Noah. I followed his recovery and drafted a letter to the rescue which I had been approved to adopt from. I highlighted what I felt I could offer Noah, as witness to his pain I wanted to throw my name in the hat of many people wanting to adopt him. I also have had my share of mental and physical pain as I was abused for many years. I felt that I could understand the difficulties Noah might face after his physical healing was over. I held out for the chance to adopt Noah and felt incredibly blessed when I was chosen to be his “forever” home.
I felt awful ripping him from the home he had finally experienced love and stability in. Noah was obviously incredibly attached to his foster mom. Immediately upon taking ownership of Noah he knew who his new family was. I was now his new “safe place” and had to work on his separation anxiety which was extreme. If I left Noah in a house full of people he would rip at the door, and bark in desperation. Upon someone trying to console him he became so afraid he screamed, urinated, and ran through the house. I immediately began steps to help Noah cope with his anxiety. After a lot of time and effort he no longer worries when I leave the house. He knows he has a home and that the people that love him will return for him. Since I was informed of his strong attachment to his foster mom I pushed hard for him to bond with the men in my life. My boyfriend and best friend both spend lots of time with Noah and along with his hyper younger GSD sibling he has made new attachments and friendships. Noah still cries and is so excited when his family returns he bounces in excitement. His unique personality speaks volume to a wonderful breed. Noah is incredibly protective and watchful of his family without undue aggression. He is the most patient creature I have ever known. He is open and willing to meet and give new people and animals a chance. Noah is playful with his family but also loves snuggling on the couch. Noah is such a loving soul. My heart sores and my eyes tear when I see him sprint, dig, play chase, or do just about anything he’d like when he has his prosthesis on. It amazes me that he’s capable of such forgiveness when I know he hasn’t forgotten the things that have happened to him.
Noah’s lasting trauma is apparent for me as I’m intimately familiar with the symptoms of PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD start in after the cause is gone from someone’s life. When you should feel safe and your day to day routine is normal again. Suddenly you find yourself feeling as though you are back in this awful place that has caused you so much pain. It can make a person feel crazy knowing they should be fine and safe and yet everything in their body is telling them they might be dying. It’s no different for animals that go through extreme trauma, it was only 2 weeks after I adopted Noah he had his first flashback. I was organizing a storage room with a pile of items 3 feet high in front of me. Suddenly Noah started screaming and groaning, he barreled over the pile without his prosthesis on. He pushed me over and sat in my lap. He continued to hyperventilate and whine while I did my best to console him. There were no sirens, no loud noises; nothing painful happened to him at that moment. During that moment he hurt from something else, something that occurred before he was rescued, before he had a loving home free from harm. Noah might have been rescued but his recovery is ongoing.
Noah will also be undergoing a painful and somewhat risky treatment for his extremely high heart worm load. Heartworms are easily preventable with a monthly dose of medication. Hopefully we can rid him of his heart worm infestation and can check one more thing off the list of lasting effects of his abuse and neglect.
Noah gives everyone he meets love and happiness and his dedication to his family is amazing. I’m not sure I’ll ever deserve the love and devotion he has shown us in 3 short months. I’ll never be able to express my gratitude to his rescue organization, foster family, VERGI, or all of the people who donated to his care. But we will continue to care and give Noah everything we can in hopes it begins to make up for the things that have happened to him.
Among the other lasting effects of his physical trauma Noah had such a significant injury to his paw he doesn’t want his paws touched even gently. We live in a very sandy area and our dogs have to have their feet wiped off every time they come in from our yard. They know the routine but Noah will “mouth” our hands, whine, and squirm the entire time we touch his paws. As soon as we are done he is fine and bounds away happily. Anyone with a chronic injury knows the feeling of not wanting anything to touch that area. I’m sure Noah will be sensitive about his paws for the rest of his life.