Gia – Our Third Rescued Dog

Mollie and Sebastian, the first two of our three rescued dogs, had been together for 1 month now. Sebastian was hyper and loved to run in big circles with something in his mouth. Mollie was mute and did not know what a toy was for. Very quiet she was that sometimes we would not realize she was in the room. Both were suffering from the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Gia’s story:

This is Gia when she first got here
This is Gia when she first got here - she hates any camera since it is like the gun that shot her.

While I was walking with Mollie in the dog-caged area of the SPCA, I looked up and saw directly in front of me a cage. I wondered where the dog was. Then I saw this beautiful German shepherd curled up, shaking so badly t’as enough to break her bones. This poor dog was trying to slip through the cement blocks if she just could and disappear. It shocked me to realize what I was seeing; a dog without any ego or self-confidence leaving a ghost of what she was when born.

Thinking I could calm her, I went over to her but realized it made her worse, so I backed off. How does one calm a terrorized dog? I whispered to her that I am coming back to get her. I told Tina at the SPCA that I wanted Princess when she was ready to come home with me. Tina told me about how Princess was beaten almost to death many times, shot in the hip with a pellet gun (with the pellet still in her upper hind leg) and thrown off a bridge – all since she was 2 months old.

Six weeks later the SPCA realized Princess that was not adoptable because she was so badly traumatized. It was hard for them to watch this beautiful dog go into massive shakes with nowhere to hide with the slightest noise or seeing any person. They made the decision they should put her to sleep.

Our Gia
Our Gia

However, Tina did not want Princess to die. So she called the night before on the last hope that we still wanted Princess. I asked her if I could have 5 minutes to think about it. While Glenn and I sat in our kitchen, the 2 pups at our legs, we spoke about reality and if we could handle another very large traumatized dog.

Suddenly I saw Princess’s head was poking through the wall in the kitchen. She looked all around and said to me “You have a big enough kitchen to fit me in and I haven’t had a life yet.” The she disappeared. Yes – I know – you do not believe in that sort of crazy talk but Glenn has been my witness for 20 years now and knew when that happened that was our guardians letting us know it was meant to be. I phoned Tina back and told her I would pick Princess up in the morning.

I picked Princess up the next morning. Oddly she was not afraid of me – would not let me touch her but followed me out to the car and simply jumped in.

I had warned Glenn that Princess was terrified of all people especially men but he was hurt when she would let me touch her and not him. Glenn knew it was best for Princess for him to keep a distance and was rewarded 5 hours later when Princess let him pat her.

Gia and Mollie
Gia and Mollie

The first thing we needed to do was give Princess a new name since the sound of  her name triggers her back to the man who would then beat her. To stop this trigger we changed her name to Gia after a real life story of the first Top Super Model in the world. Her name was Gia (played by Angela Jolie) who had a hard time of it. Our Gia was beautiful, had a horrible time of it and we wanted to change the ending to one that she lives happily ever after.

Well, as soon as Sebastian saw another puppy he was beside himself! All 3 puppies were unable to ask for anything and only Sebastian knew what to do with a toy. Then little miracles kept happening even up until today Jan 22nd 2011.

First Mollie started barking. It took awhile to figure out that she was barking for Gia and Sebastian for example: when either one needed to go to the bathroom, or if their food bowls were needing a top up or the water bowl was getting low. It was so amazing!!

Gia at 1yr
Gia at 1yr old

Gia did not know how to play. I watched her looking out the window when Glenn took Sebastian out to play and do his business. Sebastian is like a show horse – he gallops sideways and runs around in a circle using the extended leash to put in his mouth and then with enough length he would put his left paw down on it and pretend he was crippled. He would make this left leg have a huge limp all the while he was running with the leash in his mouth. Sebastian would also love to run with a stick or a huge tree branch and do the same thing. Gia shocked us both – when she started to imitate exactly what Sebastian was doing!

Mollie now was learning it was ok for her to bark and get her needs met. So when she wants something she gets this queenly look – head up high along with nose and wait after each bark, mouth open, her eyes looking at us to see if we were doing the right movements to get what she wanted. Mollie occasionally will chase after a ball then just walk by it. Mollie never carries any stuffed toys but loves a simple no animal bone to carry it out and bury it in the ground. Ahh by the time she digs it up again Glenn and I are looking for monster bugs- it looks dead and dirty but she just loves it.

Gia loves to put her head in the snow - her first time. 2006
Gia loves to put her head in the snow –
her first time. 2006

We can only walk all 3 of them up to the Cape. There are few cars and fewer people walking. Gia is still terrified of most things that move and one can see when too many cars have gone by – she looks a hundred years old because she is so stressed out.

Success comes in time and 2 weeks ago Gia was able to walk with her brother and sister in between a group of cars and a group of people on the other side of the highway. We were so proud of her.

To trump all that finally – we decided to let Mollie off leash since she has proven she will come back. Gia too will come back since she does not want too far from where we are. Sebastian – if he gets loose – well, we just had to hold our breath and pray that staying put and not running after him is a good idea. Well, this one-day a month ago we decided to let all 3 dogs off leash together. And guess what? Gia came back first, then Mollie and then we could not believe our eyes – there was Sebastian running towards us and sitting down for his treat too.

Gia Today
Gia Today

Glenn and I felt like we all were a real family. Finally, our dogs saw us as the pack leaders and they were the pack. We cannot describe all the events we went through to get to this point.

Time is traveling so fast we cannot believe that Sebastian our sweet puppy who was 2 months old when we found him- will now be 6 years old on June 26th (my BD is June 25th); Mollie, who was 31/2 yrs old when we got her- now will be 9 years old this April and our dear sweet Gia, 7 months old when we got her, will be 6 years old at the end of February.

Well that is the story of our three rescued “New Found” dogs who are just like children…only more. They are intelligent adults, more mature than any person I have met. Their ability to love us unconditionally is the greatest gift anyone could give.

They are all so loving, not just to us – we watch Gia, while walking with Mollie beside her, lean over and kiss Mollie on the lips. We watch as we take Mollie off leash, run like a bullet and suddenly stop and wait low in the grass. She is waiting to ambush Gia who is always next off leash. Then off they go together chasing and wrestling – oh t’is the birds singing in me heart just watching them.

pictures of the dogs from 2010 on their normal 3 mile walk per day.Mollie is in pink, Sebastian is in Red and Gia is in black
Pictures of the dogs from 2010 on their normal 3 mile walk per day.Mollie is in pink, Sebastian is in Red and Gia is in black

Then there’s Sebastian, like a racehorse charging off and neither Gia nor Mollie can catch up with him. We watch as our hearts go to our throats as Sebastian disappears over the cliff only to see his tail as he is coming back up to explore anything and everything.

And finally when we see our Mollie rolling around on her back knowing she has found the smelliest thing ever and despite calling her, we know she will not give it up and we will have to give her a bath yet again.J

Only made in Newfoundland!

By ej

3 Responses to “Gia”

  1. Glen Tucker

    What a beautiful story! Thank God for people like yourself and Glenn… restores faith back in humanity!

    • Elizabeth J.

      Dear Glen:
      What a wonderful e-mail to get Glen. You have put a soft smile glowing on my face to read you kind words. Thank you – I know we all wish humans would act the way our beloved pets do – unconditional love – no matter our breath or how we look – our pets run towards us always – ready to give us all the love they posses and receive our love
      in return. That is why it is so easy to love them. Glenn and I were talking about that this morning. It was cold and windy. We were getting ready to take our dogs for their daily 3 mile walk. It makes it so much fun to see the reaction from our 3 dogs so excited to go for their walk it makes it easier for us to face the dark sky and cold wind.
      All the best to you Glen with our thanks. ej

  2. Antje Springmann

    Hello E.J.
    I have enjoyed browsing through your blog, particularly the stories about your dogs. If my name is familiar it is because I and a CBC colleague stayed with you some years ago while working on a project in Bonavista. We had a marvelous time.
    I am an animal rescue volunteer and have done quite a bit of rehab work. I just wanted to let you know about Tellington Touch, a method developed by Linda Tellington Jones that is immensely helpful in easing both physical and emotional trauma in animals. Her books and videos are widely available and/or feel free to get in touch with me if you would like to know more about it. I use it extensively and am constantly amazed at the power of the technique.
    It is heartening to hear stories like yours, reminding us of the rewards when we meet our responsibilities as stewarts of the earth.


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