The Sprakers story is quite personal. As a GHF caretaker, I literally took my work home with me...
This is Kora. Her original name was Kendall. She was one of the more fear-driven BCs--wouldn't come up to people--ran and hid anywhere she could find. She was one of the last Sprakers dogs left at GHF waiting for foster.
I couldn't possibly understand the pain of her previous life, but as I was going through some changes and personal difficulties of my own, I could appreciate her circumstances. Of course, we love all the dogs in rescue, but are sometimes drawn to certain ones... such is what happened with Kora.
Some time went by, and she still didn't have a foster... finally I admitted my attachment and took her home. And, true to the classic 'who rescued who?' meme, we helped each other. Eventually, I came into work one day and said... "so, I don't think you're getting Kora back."
All I wanted to do was to show her that there was an alternative; a different way to live.
It took weeks for her to be able to approach me, just to take food or treats from my hand. When you read the Sprakers stories in the newsletter and see their pictures, it's hard to picture how they were before. But they were literally like fear-stricken wild animals, at first unable to overcome the neglect and trauma of their previous lives.
It's taken patience on my part for Kora--on everyone's part for all of the Sprakers dogs--but mostly it's been the dogs themselves. I have been completely astonished at their ability to overcome their past and accept their future as quickly as they have, albeit with lots of setbacks... but they have persevered none the less.
I never thought any of the Sprakers dogs would be capable of the transformations that many of them have undergone already. How smart (Kora learned recall in about a month, and she now has the best recall out of any of my dogs!) and intuitive they are, how willing they are to trust people, even though they have every right and reason not to.
They will (likely) never be 'normal,' but they are safe, happy, and loved. My heart laughs when I see Kora running alongside my other dogs, acting like a real BC, making up her own herding games during fetch... it's so neat to watch their true personalities unfold and develop. They embody the spirit of a true rescue dog, one that seeks and finds joy in every moment... they don't need a 'reason' to be happy, they simply welcome the future... you can see in their expression that they're just happy to be there!
For the Sprakers dogs, its not about what's easy. I remember someone said to me, "why would you keep a dog like that?"
I kept Kora for many reasons: because I felt the last thing she needed was MORE change, because I loved her, but mostly because I respected her immensely. It is remarkably honoring to have been such an involved part of this process, as a "Sprakers owner" if you will...
so humbling, and so enlightening. The Sprakers situation changed entirely not only my own, but the staffs' and many, many other people's perspectives on dogs.
I think everyone touched by Sprakers now knows:
- immerse yourself in the joy of small moments and victories -
- take pride in the character of your shortcomings -
- eat all the food you possibly can -
- embrace life and all its opportunities! -