Ryder, The Unchained Spirit
On June 20th, “Ryder” came to Val’s Pals. A few grim sentences on his intake chart summed up his life up until that moment:
“His coat is faded, his ears burned from a life outside. He was found roaming with this chain and padlock around his neck. The chain, embedded into his neck. He was not a pet nor a family member. He was a prisoner.”
Like most of the abused pups that come to Val’s Pals, Ryder’s future began with the kindness of strangers. We will never know how Ryder escaped his horrific life, but we do know he was found: wandering the streets, the chain and padlock embedded in his flesh, his chain dragging behind.
Ryder spent a few weeks with the people who found him, but unfortunately, he did not fit in with their pack. Life on a chain had made him uneasy around other dogs. It wasn’t fear or aggression, really. He had just never lived in a situation without pain and anxiety, and learning to be calm and happy around other dogs was going to be a process. Fortunately for Ryder, the wonderful people that found him did not give up on him. They kept him safe and well-cared for until they could find a permanent solution for him. They reached out to Val’s Pals for help, and of course, saying “no” was never an option.
While the wounds and hunger would heal without incident, it would take an experienced foster and careful socialization training to bring Ryder’s spirit back. He spent about 10 days in boarding before going to Maurice at Bully Rehab Crew. Put simply, Maurice taught him “how to be a dog” again. A smart and eager pup, he learned quickly, and his natural German Shepherd Dog traits began to shine through.
Rehabilitating an abused dog is just as much “training” as it is “showing”. Ryder was not only trained how to be a companion; he was shown that there was good in the world. The village of dog lovers, rescuers, fosters, and trainers that brought him back to life showed him that. Once Ryder learned what it meant to be loved and cared for, his spirit emerged again.
And not long after he completed his training, Ryder was adopted by the loving family he always deserved. They knew he belonged with them the moment they saw him, and they waited patiently for him to finish his training.
Now the only thing around Ryder’s neck is a collar and tag. His tongue lolls happily to the side, and his coat shines. And most importantly, now that he’s found his forever family, his real story has begun.