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Happiness Is Winning Over a Four-Legged Friend

By Rob Ward

Currently I’m exploring the world as a house sitter with my girlfriend, Kellie. During a three-month sit in San Miguel de Allende, we took the time to help out at the SPA by walking dogs. It has, without doubt, been the best experience of our travels.

All the dogs at the SPA have their own story to tell, but I will always remember my experience with Güera. As I stepped into her enclosure, she stood frozen to the spot. Her vulnerable brown eyes popping out on stalks, she trembled from head to foot. I moved towards her slowly, hoping to gain her affection with a treat. There was no bribing this one; she let the treat fall to the floor and continued to watch me without moving. I have never before seen a dog so scared that it’s unable to eat.

My heart melted. It was now my mission to put Güera at ease and make a new friend. There was no miracle transformation on that first walk. She kept her distance, using the entire length of the leash, and froze when I got too close. To help her get used to me, I found a nice quiet spot in a field and we just sat there together.

Over the next few weeks I was shocked how quickly Güera opened up. I would happily babble to Kellie about every single momentous achievement:

“Today I patted her head.”

“She ate treats from my hand and didn’t spit them out!”

“She does a hilarious little dance when I come to her enclosure!!”

“She put her paws on my leg and gave me a snuggle!!”

It went on like this… Now when we walk she bounds along with her tail wagging; the leash is always slack. This mild-mannered dog has a calm, faithful, loving side that she is more than happy to show once you have gained her trust.

Sadly Güera has been at the SPA since 2009 when she was two years old. Her shyness means she gets overlooked, but I remain hopeful that someone will see through it and discover her full potential as I did. If you are looking for a wonderful pet, come and meet her (and others) at the SPA, Los Pinos 7, 152-6124, Monday-Saturday, 11-2. Volunteer – it is a gratifying experience – for you and for the animals you get to know.


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