This is Cream
she has been rescued twice
This is her story as told by Shari Forst:
FORMER OAS DOG, CREAM: We would like to share a success story,
in the middle of all the questions as to whether or not these dogs could
possibly find homes. This is told from the dog's point of view, and is fairly long.
It made us cry. It made us laugh. It shows the resilience of dogs, and of Cream in
Cream’s Story The following is a true story but it is written from the dog’s
point of view so some anthropomorphism is included...
Shari Forst, BCCABC Canine Case Squad
I was born a fun loving pit bull puppy around six or so years ago. I enjoyed wrestling with my litter mates and my Mom. I was born with a lot of love to give the
right person as well. A man came to look at me when my litter was old enough to leave our Mom. My memory is a little fuzzy, and maybe I blocked a lot out
because this man was not a nice human being. He was into selling illegal drugs and wanted me for protection and to scare away people. He taught me to
become very aggressive to strangers that came and went. He would scare me into being nasty and every time a door opened I would lunge, bite and immediately
lay down in submission. This went on for the first two years of my life. Then my owner was arrested, and he gave me to a lady he called his girlfriend. I thought I
may have a chance to live in a house and have a great life, but instead she threw me in her grandmother’s garage and left me there for just about six weeks. I had
to urinate and defecate in there, I was fed and got some water but I never got any love or positive attention. I spent six weeks in the garage in 2009. One day the
Grandmother opened the garage and I came charging out. She screamed, and lifted up her walker. I ran around the property until Animal Control was called. I was
so scared, I didn’t know what to do. A very kind Animal Control Officer got out of her truck. I ran away from her. Then my former owner’s girlfriend showed up with
some nasty men and started screaming and yelling. The police were called. It took the animal control officer almost two hours to get me out of that chaos. Her
name was Dawn.
I finally felt like I could trust a human being, I jumped in the back of her truck. After the police arrived, Dawn locked all of the doors on her truck and drove me to a
place called a shelter. It was much nicer than anyplace I had lived before. It was warm, I got food and water regularly, nothing like I had experienced before. I
spent about a week at the shelter, only Dawn really interacted with me. I loved her, and let my guard down. Then I met another woman, her name was Shari. She
was a canine behaviorist and trainer. She came with her husband Dan to evaluate me right before Christmas in 2009. Shari came into my kennel and I ran out the
chute. I was scared. I didn’t know her and she seemed very dominant and intimidating. After about 20 minutes I sensed a kindness in her eyes, the same kindness
I sensed when I looked into Dawn’s eyes. Shari had dropped some treats around my kennel and I slowly moved forward to get them. When I got close to Shari, she
didn’t seem so intimidating and she stroked me gently. She never spoke to me, but I knew she wouldn’t hurt me. Shari leashed me up and took me to another building
to evaluate me. Her husband Dan opened up the door, and from my past training I immediately growled and lunged. Shari corrected me on the leash, and it was first
time I heard her voice. It was stern, but not scary. I was still focused on Dan, and every time he moved I growled and lunged. Shari corrected my behavior again and
wouldn’t let me get to Dan, so I turned around and bit her out of frustration. Amazingly she did not seem to care. She didn’t react at all, and continued to discipline
me. No one had ever disciplined me without getting angry or mistreating me. To be honest, I felt relieved being handled by her Shari and Dan felt I was “workable” and
reported that to shelter management. They were reluctant for anyone to work with me but agreed to have Shari work with me for six weeks. The first few weeks were
hard, I really thought lunging, growling and biting when anyone entered a room or opened a door was how I was supposed to behave. I thought I was doing the right
thing. Shari had brought me back from a walk, and when she opened the door I saw a BIG man standing there, I immediately lunged and grabbed the arm of his jacket
because he threw his arm up fast when he saw me. I thought I did so great! Until Shari corrected me. I looked into her eyes and saw the disappointment. I asked,
“You mean I am not supposed to do this?” Shari returned me to my kennel and stroked my head and in a soft voice told me she wasn’t mad at me at all and she
understood me. I like her. Over the next several weeks, I did great with my behavior modification and training. The man in the jacket (Dan) would come in and do all
sorts of things but Shari slowly taught me to stop trying to attack him and to look to her for direction instead. I hadn’t growled, lunged or bitten anyone in a while. Dan’s
Mom even worked with me, at first I tried to kill her when she would move or lift a cane, but over time I started understanding what Shari wanted me to do and I was
laying in her lap and kissing her face. I liked her too. Shari had many people work with me and I started helping other dogs too.
From time to time, my previous owner’s girlfriend had gotten two pit bull puppies. They would run loose through the neighborhood and end up being brought back to my
shelter by animal control. I smelled all of the awful scents that I associated with her. I would act out when I smelled her dogs in the kennels, or smelled her scent in the
shelter lobby when she came to retrieve them. Shari would always come back and help me behave better, except every few weeks these dogs would come back and it
would upset me. Still after three months from when I met Shari I was ready to go on walks with shelter volunteers. I have to say I also grew to love Shari. I would put
my paws on her shoulders and kiss her face and soften my eyes. She understood me. I went out to walk with some nice volunteers. Usually the staff would come and
get me, and then give my leash to some people to walk me. There was one volunteer that used to leash us up on his own. I didn’t like this man. He got very rough with
me when I started jumping around my kennel and he used his hands on me. I didn’t like that. He finally asked a shelter staff member to help him put my leash on. We
went out on a walk and this man was not kind to me. I didn’t like him, but I went with him anyway. Then my former owner’s dogs were brought back to the shelter. I
was not having a good week.The following day, Shari took me out on lead. It was bad weather outside so Shari had me in the lobby. I was watching a woman put toys
into the cat cages.I didn’t like the way her hands were moving around near me and I was watching them closely. I had been taught that hands were for petting and
giving me treats, but after walking with that male volunteer I am not so sure anymore. The woman dropped the cat toy not too far from where I was sitting. When she
picked it up, her arm came up SO FAST. I didn’t like it and I lunged up and bit that hand. Shari corrected me but it was too late. The damage was done.
Shelter management decided I was no longer adoptable. Shari was coming twice a week to work with all of us shelter dogs. She would always come to me first and
take me for walks and play with me in the yard. I didn’t know if the shelter was going to euthanize me, or give Shari a chance to work with me some more. Shari
continued to work with me and I really fell in love with her. The rest of the staff grew weary of me and I didn’t like that. They would approach my cage and act fearful
and strange like something was wrong with me so I would lunge up at the kennel door and bark and growl. It became clear that I was in limbo. Shari talked about
opening a place to work with dogs like me, and when she was able to do that I would be able to come with her. I lived for that to happen. I love her, and I want to go
anywhere she goes. About a year went by, and I would see Shari twice a week. Dawn would come cuddle with me when she had time and give me new blankets and
toys. Shari would always take me in the yard at the shelter and play jolly ball with me. I never played with anyone before in my life and I smiled every time. The first
time was in a foot of snow and I raced around the yard like a puppy shot out of a cannon. It was great fun, and I wished it was more than twice a week. As the staff
grew more and more afraid of me I began to growl at them more and more, just wanting to keep them away from me. I would hear them talk and say how mean and
nasty I was and how I should be euthanized, but Shari never believed that. In December 2011, Shari mentioned something about me going to this wonderful place in
Washington State. A “sanctuary” where I could be myself and live out my life happy and free of stress. She explained to me that she was not able to take me at this
time and the shelter didn’t want to keep me there anymore. I trusted her, and I looked forward to my new adventure in a place called Washington.
On a cold day in February 2012 I saw Shari for what I thought was the last time. She spent the entire day with me saying goodbye and telling me how much she loved
me and hated to let me go but she loved me SO MUCH that she had to let me go so I could be happy. I felt relieved that I could run free and finally be happy, but I was
sad because I wouldn’t see the people who loved me and taught me how to love and trust. I would miss Dawn and I would miss Shari until my heart ached. The next
day a man came to pick me up and two other shelter residents. He arrived early in the afternoon to pick us up. Shari said goodbye to me the day before and said she
wouldn’t be there to see me off because she didn’t want to make it hard for me to leave her. Dawn kissed me and hugged me and cried and told me how much she
loved me as she walked me out to this man who I wasn’t so sure about. He was quiet and didn’t say much, and I remembered that Shari didn’t say much either when I
first met her so I thought he was ok. He walked me onlead for a little while and then loaded me in a crate that seemed a little cramped with straw on the bottom. The
other two shelter residents were loaded in the same way. We expected to be driving somewhere any second but we sat in those crates for what seemed like HOURS.
No one walked us or checked on us after the shelter closed. We remained in those crates, and then drove off with this man the next morning. We drove for days, and
other dogs were loaded into the trailer into crates. None of us got walked regularly. I had to go to the bathroom and I couldn’t hold it anymore so I just went in the crate.
I did that the whole way to Washington. We arrived at the sanctuary about a week after we were picked up. The man driving the trailer pulled in and got out. We all
waited for him to take us out of the crates and bring us somewhere. He didn’t, minutes turned into hours,which turned into days, and weeks. We sat in those crates,
in the same trailer we arrived in, rarely coming out. When we did come out I looked for the fields and the pond I was told about. There was nothing but a dilapidated
warehouse with junk strewn around. I was confused and sad. We remained in that trailer until APRIL.
When we were finally unloaded from the trailer, I thought finally we can stretch our legs, get food and water and no longer be freezing, I was so hungry and thirsty for
so long. Instead I was led to another crate inside and shoved inside. The two other shelter residents that came with me were led to different crates and shoved in as
well. We were hungry, thirsty and cold. I started to think about Dawn and Shari. Wondering what they were doing and if they knew about this strange cold place. Once
in a while I would get a bit of rotten meat thrown in my crate to eat, and sometimes filthy water to drink. This was miserable. What did I do to deserve this? Where
were the fields, and the ponds? This is supposed to be a happy stress free life? I would come to learn that my two years at the shelter were the best days of my life.
The man that picked us up was mean and nasty and unfeeling. He never gave us any positive attention. He would yell at us when we made noise, hit our crates with
objects, poke things in at us and intimidate us. If some kind volunteers gaveus water he would come by and knock the water over so we couldn’t have it. I was
devastated, sad and mad. The warehouse had cracks and holes and it was SO COLD. I saw the snow come through, and the rain, and the wind. I am so frightened of
wind. In the summer it was so hot many of us suffered from heat stroke and would feel sick and vomit, and we still only got water once in a while. Some of the other
dogs just couldn’t fight anymore, the lack of food and water, the cold and hot, the endless time with only yelling being too much for them until they simply gave up and
went to sleep forever. There was a big gaping hole in the ceiling that I could see from my crate. I DREAMED that I could reach it and jump high enough to escape. For
weeks and months I laid in my own excrement, and the smell was so awful. We got food and water whenever the man felt like letting us have it and if any of us
complained about being thirsty or hungry we all got punished for it. I remember being taken out of the crate once or twice while someone took photos. I had heard that
Shari had been asking how I was. I was extremely skinny and didn’t feel well. They shot the photo from a weird angle and posted it on social media so Shari would see
it and not suspect something was wrong. Then I was thrown back in the crate, rarely getting out and rarely getting food and water. This was my life for the next year
and a half. I kept thinking about Shari and HOPING I would see her again. Maybe she can take me now? I watched day turn into night laying in urine soaked straw that
never got changed, in my own feces, hoping and praying that Shari or Dawn or SOMEONE would save me from this hell. No one came, my back and legs hurt so
much from not being able to stand and I could feel my bones shifting and curving; from lack of food and water, I couldn’t see, hear or smell good anymore and my
strength was fading away so finally I resigned myself to the fact that if I did see Shari again it would be at Rainbow Bridge and I prepared to die.
Then on a hot day, I was loaded onto the trailer again with the two shelter residents I came with and four other dogs. The mean man who only spoke when he was
yelling drove us someplace. We were transferred to another vehicle. Two men approached and we all started growling and barking but then I realized-these two men
were from the shelter I came from. I told the other dogs to stop, these guys are saving us! We drove for a week through all kinds of weather and arrived back at the
shelter I came from Then I saw Dawn, she called my name but I was too weak to jump up on her. I was brought to my old kennel and given food, water and blankets.
THEN IN WALKED Shari, and her husband Dan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I started to smile and wiggle even though I didn’t have the energy. I tried to put my paws on Shari’s shoulders
and kiss her but I couldn’t so she knelt down. I knew I was going to be OK!!!!!!!! A week later Shari and Dan took me home. I have my own kennel house with heat and
air conditioning and music. I get food and treats everyday and water and best of all lots of LOVE, attention and play. I still have flashbacks, what Shari says is PTSD
but her and Dan are helping me with it. When I first came back I would protect my food but they taught me that I don’t have to think that way and now I understand.
Honestly, I developed a lot of problems from that bad place but slowly Shari and Dan are helping me work through them one at a time. My body still hurts a lot and I
get scared often but when I do, they are always there to help work me through it. I finally understand what a home is and really understand what Love is. I also know I
am the lucky one, I got away from there while so many other dogs remained and I now have a mommy, daddy and grandmathat give me love and attention,
I have a family!