Like most dogs, Phoenix came into the shelter with a terrible past.
In July, someone spotted the young pit bull chained up in the woods in Quebec, Canada, with burns and sores all over his body. He landed up in a local shelter and was placed on the euthanasia list.
Thankfully, Litters ‘n Critters Rescue Organization, a rescue organisation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, got him out in time — but he definitely required a lot of care.
“He was in really, really horrible shape,” Shelley Cunningham, creator of Litters ‘n Critters, told The Dodo. “He seemed really distant and sad.”
Phoenix went to the vet for medical treatment, and then he was placed in foster care with Lori Teale and her husband, who’d previously acquired a dog named Echo through Litters ‘n Critters.
“He was terrified of everything when we initially brought him home,” Teale told The Dodo. “Loud noises would force him to shiver excessively, or he would shut down totally. Even the simplest things would terrify him – drapes moving, a cat passing him or something he didn’t see was suddenly in view. Phoenix was terrified of abrupt movements or if you raise your hands with him near or even slightly raised your voice. He would shut down quickly and pancake to the floor.”
One thing that didn’t fear Phoenix was Echo — and when Teale and her husband witnessed how nicely the dogs got along, they decided to adopt Phoenix.
“The initial meeting could not have gone any better,” Teale remarked. “Within the first 24 hours, they were following each other and we realized we couldn’t separate them.”
Echo has played a crucial part in helping Phoenix develop confidence and start enjoying his new life.
“I feel it was the confidence of Echo that really helped him settle down and get comfortable,” Teale added. “I give her all the credit, honestly.”
Phoenix is now an entirely different dog from the one in the shelter. Not only has he outgrown his anxiety, but he demands attention from Teale and her husband, and loves nothing more than to snuggle in bed with his new family.
“Whenever we return home, he becomes really eager to see us,” Teale added. “He does his best to grin and pulls his lips back to expose all of his teeth as he wiggles wildly jumping between husband and I. He has become my little shadow.”
“We were scared that he wasn’t going to bond with any of us,” she continued. “Turns out we were really wrong!”
Teale couldn’t fathom living without Phoenix, who has become a beloved member of the family.
“I will never regret adopting him,” Teale added. “He’s made our home seem complete and brought so much fun into our house.”