It’s not just another story, it’s the story of Zaleo
Zaleo arrived at the foundation in October 2018. I still remember the phone call that warned us that they had managed to rescue a rather aggressive dog, and that he would come to the foundation. I remember the face of my partner Alberto thinking “another hard case” … And it was. We do not know what happened in his previous life, but Zaleo did not tolerate manipulation well, or our partner’s corrections. I used to say that it was a bipolar dog, because as soon as it moved its tail when you saw you, it would growl and show its teeth at you. For some time, I recognize that it caused me rejection. But then I heard Alberto say that Zaleo was not a bad boy. He always referred to a possible “bad socialization” and spoke in terms of behavior that I still did not understand much, but the truth is that Zaleo awakened something in me …
I told him very determined that I wanted to work with him. And for me, who am not an expert in behavior, it was quite a challenge. Alberto’s advice has always helped me a lot, but today I can say that Zaleo just needed time, some patience and love, something that it was very likely that he had never experienced …
Hands to work, and always with some sweets like that up my sleeve, I was approaching his cage every day, taking the first few days with me a few grunts. I, who am lacking in patience, but nobody beats me with stubbornness, I was very clear about it: “You’re going to give up, friend. I’m going to get it” that’s how the days went by. Sweets and beautiful phrases from the fence. And each time his tail moved more, and he growled less. Until the day came when he finally entered his cage. I admit that I was a little scared, but there I was again with my sweets ready to win the battle.
The greetings from the fence were left behind. Going into his cage every day was a routine, and he never growled at me again, first challenge achieved!
From there, to the tears of this morning when he was fired, a lot has happened …
It happened that just by hearing my voice, he would go out to approach the fence happy to see me and receive me.
It happened that even not tolerating the manipulation, he let me hug him, kiss him, touch his paws and do everything to him.
It happened that I filled the album of my mobile camera with selfies together and with videos where he does not stop eating me with kisses
It happened that I started to walk him and I showed him a new world to explore (since Zaleo never left his cage)
He began to recognize the sound of my car and every time I arrived or left the foundation he would come out to greet me, jumping like crazy behind the fence, happy to see me again.
It happened what had to happen. We had created an indestructible bond.
And although our goal is always to seek the best for them, there are difficult cases in which we have little hope, and Zaleo was one of them. For this reason, when I was informed that someone had decided to adopt him, the tears did not stop falling down my face for long minutes, of emotion and the greatest sadness knowing what awaited us, the farewell.
Since his adoption was confirmed, I have worked even harder with him. We have walked and shared many moments of games in the yards, he has accompanied me in the office, he has learned to find all the sweets that I hid in his smell blanket, and yesterday, on our last day together, I decided to lie down on his mattress for a few minutes with him just watching him and crying, imagining how much I was going to miss him.
Very early today we have taken a last walk together, he has received caresses from each one of us, something unthinkable more than two years ago.
Today Zaleo was another dog. Quiet, and relaxed as we have never seen him before.
Today I can say that I more than met my goal.
And also, that I’m going to miss him enormously every day …
Today a little piece of my heart has gone to Germany and has left my soul empty …
Today I can only thank my colleague Alberto for everything he has done for Zaleo, and for encouraging me with my stubbornness, because Zaleo is one of the greatest gifts that the foundation has given me.
Thanks to Marina, another stubborn like me who hasn’t stopped spreading his case until she managed to find a family for him.
And a capital words thank you to Georg for giving him the opportunity he has long deserved, and looking beyond his looks. I can never thank you enough for this.
And to you my little blacky, I can only say that I hope you are even happier than you have been here with us, that you do not forget me, and that you have left an indelible mark on my heart.
I will smile every day as I pass through your cage remembering all the moments lived, and although today’s bitter farewell is one of those moments, I would not change any of them for anything in the world.
Be very happy.
I love you with all my heart