We first learned about Delilah, today’s featured pet, on July 1st, 2016. We received a phone call from a local community member about a stray dog he had been feeding in his backyard. The dog was a large mastiff, who seemed to be out on her own roaming the woods and neighborhoods. She would happily accept the food the man would leave for her, but he was unable to trap her successfully.
With the help of local animal control officers and many community members, we were on a mission. Kennels had been strategically placed with food lures to safely catch Delilah. Delilah covered a lot of ground, and we tried to keep up the entire way. Our goal was to bring her in for examinations and determine if she had a family.
After three months of hard work, Delilah was finally caught by a local Animal Control Officer. To our surprise, this young lady was in no way a feral or fearful dog—she was a loving and affectionate pup! Other than being a little on the thin side with quite a few ticks from her three month country adventure, Delilah was in pretty good health overall. We kept her in our care for two weeks, to determine if she had a home and to ensure she was ready medically to be adopted if a family did not claim her.
After the two weeks, Delilah was available for adoption. The first family who came in to meet her had two other mastiffs, who both looked exactly like Delilah. They were a mastiff-loving family, and all two and four-legged family members came to say hello to Delilah. After a run in our play yard, they excitedly said yes. Delilah, now Gia, is very happy in her new home:
“We have two other mastiffs at home and as soon as we saw her fell in love. She had such confidence and gentleness, it was instant love.
Gia has been an awesome addition to our family. Our eldest mastiff Lula is 13yrs old and she’s suffering from arthritis and it’s been difficult for her to keep up with our younger mastiff, Vincent, who is still a pup. Gia has been the perfect playmate for Vincent. The two of them are inseparable! They are constantly playing and lovingly nibbling on one another’s big flappy jowls. Prior to Gia’s arrival, Vinny was a very shy dog. He would get psyched out being in a certain room or going up a set of stairs just out of the blue and kind of freeze up. From the moment Gia moved in she built his confidence up to whole new levels! Gone are his fears and anxieties. It’s been nice for our Old Lula as well because she finally has some peace and alone time away from the playful puppy!
When we first brought Gia home we were really concerned about her being a “runner” since she had been out in the wild for so many months. We live on a farm with chickens, pigeons, ducks, pigs and cats. This was also a concern because we knew she must have taught herself to be a hunter to survive in the wild. The first day home we borrowed a crate from the ARLGP; we were able to take it down the next day. I know that we are so lucky and this is not the typical story but Gia adjusted so easily and readily that it was if she had always been here. She goes out every morning, feeds the free range birds. Each day, a few times a day, she does a perimeter run. She barks at planes that are flying over our field. She barks each time our neighbor gets home. She has also become very good friends with our neighbors bulldog Lola! She instantly became part of our family.
Having Gia as part of our family this Christmas is a definite reminder of humility. This dog living in the woods, roaming the streets, all skinny and full of ticks….scary to look at it. All she needed was unconditional love. Watching her transform physically and feeling the love and gratefulness she bestows upon us is a reminder of what “giving” really should be. It’s not the video games, the clothes… it’s this REAL giving.
I want to thank the Animal Refuge League for trusting us with this gem. It is she that is the real gift. We love her very, very much! <3”
Delilah had a remarkable journey; from surviving on her own for months, to a loving and warm home with two canine siblings and some awesome humans.