When Donna Lochmann found a 4-month-old puppy cowering in a wooded area, she knew capturing her would be difficult. The pup was one of 19 animals to be rescued from a private residence that day, but she was the most timid of the bunch.
Backed up into a corner, the young dog barked in defense at her rescuers — but they refused to leave her behind.
“She was pretty feral,” Lochmann, chief life saving officer at Stray Rescue of St. Louis (SRSL), told The Dodo. “She clearly had not been handled by humans.”
Lochmann and her team didn’t know much about how the animals were raised, but she could tell that they hadn’t been properly cared for. Lack of human interaction had caused the dogs to become fearful of humans, and this pup, later named Roaring River, was one of the most affected.
Still, Lochmann and SRSL’s shelter manager, Kiara, persisted.
Roaring River was overwhelmingly fearful of the situation, nipping at Kiara’s hands as they reached towards her, but she eventually calmed down. Soon, Lochmann had the dog secured in her grasp, and she breathed a sigh of relief as she carried her to her Jeep.
Roaring River and her siblings went straight to the shelter, where they received full medical checkups. Each dog was given the treatment they needed and the love they’d always deserved, and then they quickly started to thrive.
At first, Roaring River was still extremely fearful of leashes and couldn’t walk on one. To help her out, shelter staff started carrying her out to their yard.
“We carried her out to the yard the first few times until she got more used to being on a leash and walking some,” Lochmann said. “But even then, it was a struggle.”
Walking on a leash was hard for Roaring River, but, eventually, she got the hang of it. Not long after, she learned what it was like to run.
“She runs, plays and chases the other dogs,” Lochmann said. “She’s a totally different dog.”
Finally, Roaring River is able to experience all the joys of puppy life without feeling scared.
You can watch her run around with her friends here:
Now that Roaring River’s feeling more confident, she’s ready to find a forever home. So far, she’s still up for adoption, but she has an exciting prospect on the horizon.
“She’s still at the shelter, but there’s a family who’s interested in adopting her,” Lochmann said. “They’ve been taking it slow and coming to meet her. They’re just really letting her get used to them, which is a smart way to handle that. They seem very patient and understanding of her situation.”
Since their rescue, all of Roaring River’s siblings have gone into foster homes, and some have already been adopted. Her siblings might have found their forever homes first, but the shelter’s staff knows that Roaring River’s happily-ever-after is just around the corner.
“She’s such a sweet girl,” Lochmann said. “It’s finally her turn.”