The Oz Project

   The Three Virtues- Serenity

   One day in mid May I received a call from Col. Potter's asking if I could take in three little girls. My answer was, yes, I could. I was given the honor of naming these little ones. I named them Serenity, Chastity, and Charity, and they were known as The Three Virtues.

               SERENITY AKA SARA                               MID MAY 2007-2 YEARS OLD

   Serenity arrived at Oz with two other little girl cairns. They were both dark, but she was a beautiful, serene, little, blond girl, so her name fit her perfectly. When the other two were racing wildly around the outdoor kennel she stood by watching. So many times they were so frisky that they would run right into her, and she began to take shelter under the outdoor kennel platform to escape from them. We started calling it  Sara's condo. She was so upset one day to find that it was gone. I had to take it out to keep Charity, the puppy, from eating it.

   SARA FINDING HER CONDO IN PIECES        (In the background you can see the cement blocks and the wood pallet that Sara had loved.) 

 

   We needed to make Sara a new condo before the other silly girls drove her crazy.

             SARA'S NEW CONDO

    Sometimes when the two little girls were busy playing she would sit by the kennel fence and watch me. She had the cutest way of sitting. She would sit on her fanny with her back legs stretched straight out in front of her. With one front paw, she would steady herself on the fence while crossing the other paw across her chest. Sitting like that she looked a lot like the bears at the zoo, so we started calling her "Little Bear". 

     

 

    From the time she arrived she was open and friendly towards me. That is the reason that I couldn't understand why sometimes she was so happy to see me, and then other times she didn't care that I was even talking to her. She would go on sleeping, playing with a toy or walk away from me. One morning after she had been there for a few days I accidentally dropped a metal bowl on the concrete floor. The other girls started barking loudly, but Serenity lay curled up in her crate sleeping. I wondered how she could sleep through all that noise. Then I remembered learning that sometimes when dogs come from a puppy mill or backyard breeder they learn to turn off their hearing. It's the only way that they can get away from the other dogs barking and crying in the crates around them. I thought poor little girl, she seemed to miss so many things. She wasn't afraid of me, yet she wouldn't even turn and look at me when I walked up to her or talked to her. I would reach out and touch her and she would jump, but the minute that she saw it was me, she would wag her tail so hard that her whole body shook. I started watching her closely, and noticed if the other little girls stood in front of her and barked at something she would join in, but if she were looking in another direction and didn't see them bark she wouldn't bark. I started wondering if maybe she couldn't hear. Maybe that's why the other little girls ran into her while they played, she didn't hear them coming. I started clapping my hands loudly over her back to get her attention when she wasn't looking, but she never even turned to look at me. I was sure she was deaf.

   When I took her in for her first vet visit, I asked the vet to test her hearing when she checked her ears. The vet told me that she had a terrible ear infection and it had damaged her ears. Yes, she was deaf, and it was to late to save her hearing but it was not to late to treat her ear infection. At least we could make her more comfortable. Her ears were so swollen that you couldn't see into them, so twice a day I stood her on the grooming table, and cleaned her ears and put ear drops into them. I started signing "I love you" to her, pointing first at my eye and saying loudly "I" then I would put my hands across my heart while saying "Love" and then point at her and say "You". I always say I love you to my dogs, and teach it like sit, drop it, or stay. So of course, I say it to the OzKids. Slowly the swelling in her ears began to go  down. I noticed her cocking her head and sometimes she would get a strange look on her face, and she started spending less and less time in her condo. The last couple of days that she was at Oz, she started joining the other little girls in play. She didn't seem so isolated and alone, and I started wondering if maybe Sara could hear some things. I was sure that it was too much to hope for, and it was that she was just getting more and more comfortable with her new surroundings. The morning that Sara was leaving I packed her things and put her into her travel crate while the transport driver helped. The last thing I did was sign and say "I love you". Sara cocked her head; it was as though a light went on in her eyes. She started pawing the door of her crate. The transport driver looked at me and questioned, "Are you sure she can't hear?" I will always wonder but never know for sure if the first time Sara ever heard my voice was the last time that she would ever hear it. My last "I Love You".

Sometime later I heard from Sara's foster dad; he told me that Sara could hear.  Col. Potter rescued her just in time, saving her from a lifetime of silence and isolation. 

Be sure to read about Charity aka Cherrie