Abandoned Terrier is Adopted by Shelter Volunteer Who Fostered Her

Frida’s story was originally shared in the Clear the Shelters Adoption Story Challenge on ShelterChallenge.com. Frida won the Runner-up Prize of $1,500 in cash and pet supplies for Little Shelter Animal Rescue! Create your own free Shelter Challenge account and vote for your favorite shelter or rescue group to win cash and prizes. Every time you vote we’ll give an extra donation to shelters!

Frida’s Road to a New Foundation and a New Life

The strongest storm to impact the island of Puerto Rico in nearly a century, Maria made landfall on September 20th, 2017 as a lethal category 4 hurricane, leaving devastating destruction in her wake. Regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history, Maria caused a major humanitarian crisis. Due to the torrential rains and nearly 100mph wind gusts, many of the inhabitants in low lying areas fled to higher ground, leaving behind their belongings and, in some cases, even their beloved pets. One of those little souls left to fend for herself was a five month old Terrier named Frida.

rescue terrier hurricane
Photo: Dawn Lam

Frida somehow survived the hurricane and remained at what was left of her home for over a year, sleeping on the only foundation she knew, the foundation of the house, waiting day after day for the family that never returned. Eventually, a kind woman took notice of the forlorn pup and attempted to coax Frida to safety. Though it took time and patience, the woman was able to earn Frida’s trust and brought her home. She contacted Little Shelter network partner, All Sato Rescue (ASR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives and reducing the number of abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico. It has become so commonplace to see dogs wandering in the streets that they have evolved into part of the cultural landscape, and Little Shelter believes that if they had the ability to help, they also had the responsibility to help.

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Frida was then provided with the medical care she needed, enabling her to take the first step in her journey to her forever home. Little Shelter’s Passage to Freedom Program became the next leg of Frida’s voyage. Believing that every animal deserves to live a long and happy life, the Passage to Freedom Program allows Little Shelter to make a difference not only in the community, but across the world. In May of 2019, a frightened young dog arrived at Newark Airport with several other rescued dogs in similar situations, unsure of what would come next. After the two week quarantine necessary to assess the health and behavior of the quintet, the other dogs went up for adoption and quickly found new homes. Frida, however, remained terrified. She tried to make herself as small as she could, hiding in the corner of her kennel, shaking uncontrollably. She was nearly unapproachable until she met Dawn, a Little Shelter volunteer and experienced pet parent. Frida seemed to know instinctively that Dawn was her safety net, trusting her enough to venture out on walks around the shelter grounds, all the while staying close to her “protector.” Recognizing how important socialization is, Dawn requested to foster Frida to build her confidence and get her ready for adoption. While she still had a long way to go, after two weeks in a home, Frida was more relaxed and seemed to feel increasingly secure. She was with Dawn during the July 4th celebration, and although the fireworks were understandably frightening to Frida, she also soon discovered that the safest place to be is inside of a hug, with someone who will never leave you.

Returning to the shelter after fourteen days, Frida was deemed ready for adoption. Frida continued to gravitate towards her foster mom, but already having two other rescue dogs at home and a spouse not quite on board for a third, Dawn, with some hesitation, set about trying to find a forever home for this very special girl. Before long, another couple became interested in adopting Frida, even going so far as filling out the paperwork and doing an interaction with the reticent pup. In the end, however, it just wasn’t the right fit — the right fit for Frida was always Dawn. Having created an unbreakable bond, it was evident to everyone that they were meant to be together. Any doubt by Dawn’s husband was immediately swept aside and Frida was finally welcomed home for good. Now part of a Terrier trio, she has a brother, Rufus, and a sister named Trixie. After a year in her home, she continues to blossom, her confidence growing with the realization that she is safe and deeply loved. She has learned how to play, explore, and enjoy being spoiled, finally having faith in her future. While she never strays far from Dawn’s view and sleeps tucked by her side, Frida continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

rescue terrier hurricane forever home
Photo: Dawn Lam

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Frida’s survival and rescue was nothing short of a miracle. A chain of events ultimately landed her in just the right place, a place where worth is not measured in dollars and cents, but in the ability to turn a tiny refugee into an invaluable family member. Thanks to the unwavering commitment of Little Shelter and their Passage to Freedom Program, Frida found a new foundation, one that even the strongest of hurricanes won’t diminish. Recognizing a treasure, a dedicated volunteer looked into the eyes of an animal and saw not just fear, but a flicker of courage and hope. Dawn took Frida in as a foster to do her part, then Frida turned around and stole her heart.️

Story submitted by Dawn Lam.

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