“She had defeated, empty eyes.”
The skinny dog had been found weeks earlier by animal control roaming the streets in Southern California. Due to her numerous health issues, she was put on “death row” at the shelter, but something in the tiny photo spoke to Cossairt’s heart.
So she submitted an application and immediately received a call from a rescue.
“The person at Ginger’s Pet Rescue was floored and in tears that we were interested in her,” Cossairt told The Dodo. “She told us that of the hundreds of applications they’d received for dogs in the previous few weeks, not one had been for Clementine.”
The rescue worker explained that in Clementine’s condition, the dog had a long and unpredictable road ahead of her. But Cossairt already knew she’d do anything to help the abandoned dog heal.
When Cossairt finally met Clementine in person, it was clear that the pup had never known love before.
“Clementine was absolutely terrified of people and wouldn’t look anyone in the eyes,” Cossairt said. “She shook all the time, hid behind furniture and sat facing the wall for months.”
“She had defeated, empty eyes,” she added. “She never looked at our faces and she bowed her head whenever we walked over to her or near her.”
But Clementine did trust other dogs, and immediately gravitated to her new furry siblings, Moose and Maple. It was then that Cossairt saw a glimmer of the happy dog Clementine could grow to be.
“She sought comfort in being near them and traveling with them as a pack around the house or yard,” Cossairt said.
After multiple vet appointments and months of treatment for infections and allergies, Clementine finally started to feel better and stopped shaking. She even gained the courage to look her human parents in the eyes.
Seven months later, staring lovingly at her mom has become Clementine’s new favorite thing.
“She loves to look deeply into our eyes while we pet her, and she’s very attentive when we’re talking to her,” Cossairt said. “She’s still wary of new people and sometimes even gets spooked by us if we move too quickly or come up behind her, but she’s come so far.”
Now, Clementine is like a whole new dog — full of curiosity and playfulness, as if she’s experiencing the puppyhood that she never had. But most importantly, she finally feels safe.
“She lays at our feet when we work from home and loves belly rubs after finally exposing her belly to us for pets last month,” Cossairt said. “She ‘boops’ everything in sight — we think it’s her way of exploring and figuring out what things are. She’s so puppy-like that sometimes we wonder if she got to be a puppy at all. She’ll nudge your hand if you’re not petting her or if you stop and she’s not done yet.”
Clementine has come so far since her adoption that she’s hardly recognizable as the frightened dog who faced the walls. Now, she’d do anything for her family — and her family can’t picture their life without her.
“She’s so sweet and such a gentle girl,” Cossairt said. “We could tell very early on that she just wants to love and be loved in return. She’s loyal and protective of us, and she follows us around everywhere.”