Happy, Happy Birthday to my sweet boy, Chester!
Chester is 3 or 4 years old! We're not actually sure which, but nevertheless, it's his birthday today!
We rescued Chester in late October of 2010, at 1 or 2 years old (again... not sure). He was thrown from a car on the highway in Boston. Someone called it in to animal control, and he was picked up and taken to a local shelter. Unfortunately, there is a time limit for dogs in many high-traffic shelters, and Chester's time was close to being up when the rescue I volunteer for found him.
Since I live in New Jersey, I was supposed to be getting a New York dog to foster, but Hubbs and I took one look at his sweet face and sad, scared eyes and knew we had to rescue Chester. I contacted the rescue and asked if I could have him. With no local volunteers available to foster him and time running out, they agreed.
When I picked up Chester that very first day, I gave him a hug and he kissed me on my face. I truly believe he knew that I was there to rescue him, but I'll get to that in a moment.
It was obvious that Chester had been through a lot. I don't know what Chester's life was like before the highway incident, so I'm not going to jump to conclusions, but when he came to us, he was emaciated, had little strength, lacked motor skills, and was terrified of everything, especially men. Although he did immediately take to our other dog, Jessie, and our cat, Dino.
|Halloween 2010 as Batman with dinosaur Jessie / late 2010 with Dino soon after his rescue|
Despite his fear issues and physical condition, there was something within him - a kindness, a gentleness that I could sense. All this dog wanted was to be loved.
Chester seemed comfortable with me from the start, and after some time, he became comfortable with Wes as well. His gentle demeanor and unconditional love for us was soon became apparent. Unfortunately, that didn't translate to the rest of the world, of which Chester was still very much afraid. It was going to be a long and difficult journey to get this dog adopted.
Knowing this, the rescue donated some money to hire a dog trainer. I contacted Josh Cederbaum of Doggy Tales Training because I had read about the work he had done with fearful pit bulls and he seemed like a great fit for Chester. Josh took one look at Chester and knew that he could help us, but he informed us that it would take a true commitment and possibly a year or two to turn things around. Even if we went through all the training, we would need to find an adopter willing to put in the same amount of time, and expense, to keep Chester comfortable. This could prove to be very difficult. In addition, in the wrong hands, Chester could end up in a very bad place given his fearfulness.
We clearly had a decision to make.
We clearly had a decision to make.
Chester had been through so much already, he deserved to have a happy life and we couldn't take the chance of that not being the case, so we decided to adopt him ourselves.
We continued working with Josh, and he completely turned Chester's life around. And he was able to do this in just a few months time.
|Happy (and not afraid of people!) at a soccer game with Dad|
Chester is now the sweetest, most caring, cuddly, lovable dog. He's so happy in our home with his mom and dad, his dog sister and his cat brother, and he's no longer afraid of people. In fact, when people come up to pet him on walks, he wags his tail and basks in the attention!
An angel was definitely watching over Chester, and we are so lucky to have this sweet boy in our lives!
|The family (minus Dino!) Christmas 2011|
To get more information about how you can donate, or become a volunteer or foster parent, for an animal rescue organization, or even adopt your new best friend, I have included some links below.
New England / Tri-State / South Carolina: