Almost everyone deserves a second chance. This brings to mind little canine Leroy Junior Jenkins III — an awfully big name for such a little guy. I introduced you to him last year. He has a significant under bite with lots of teeth crowded in his small but deadly mouth. Leroy is a chihuahua (he looks like a little monkey) mix of a thing who was literally thrown out the window of a car at the shelter. We put him in the staff bathroom where he sat terrified, shaking and crying in his kennel. He could not be touched for days. He broke our hearts.
Slowly but surely he allowed certain staff to hold and cuddle him. Everyone else he kept at bay with that crowded mouth of teeth. He was allowed to run loose in the office area after awhile when only staff was there. He was pet of the week at one point. A friend of mine called and wanted to meet him. He seemed to like her and she was in love with him. We had him neutered and I told him he was getting a home. She came to pick him up. He looked at me, looked at her and tried to bite her. He did not go home with her. Leroy became our office dog.
The problem was it took Leroy a long time to warm up to people; some he never tried to bite, others every time he saw them he wanted to get a piece of them. He spent a lot of time in the bathroom. He wasn't an "in-your-face" kind of guy, but a little sneak who came up behind and launched his attack. His favorite body part to bite? The rear end. People were ready to give up on Leroy. I couldn't; he had my heart. Of course, he hadn't sunk those jumbled up teeth into me.
We went to training classes at the Humane Society of Hamilton County with Julie Case. Leroy became a shining example of why we need to give people and animals second chances. He doesn't bite anymore, unless in play with one of his animal family. Leroy has become one of the most endearing little creatures I've ever known. He's been with me almost a year; I think he was supposed to be when we bonded in the bathroom.
Sometimes he looks at me and his eyes seem filled with so much love and gratitude that it brings tears to my eyes. Someone literally threw him away like trash; they had no idea what a gift he is. What a loss for them. But then, I doubt that they could appreciate the likes of Leroy Jr. Jenkins III. Shelters are filled with animals like Leroy who just need a little patience and love to get over the abuse humans have inflicted upon them.
We have lots of wonderful animals at the Animal Protection League. Come to the shelter and you might find your own version of Leroy who will win your heart.
Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.