#ShelterSunday: Against All Odds

Guest post, by Shenzi's mom

We all have that one person who so heavily affects us that our lives are forever enhanced. This person often shows up unexpectedly and sometimes, in a form other than human. Enter Shenzi: 100 pounds of lovable, goofy dog who, at one time, was scheduled to be euthanized.

Around age one and a half, Shenzi was taken from a hoarding situation. Lacking social skills, manners, and training, Shenzi was transferred to the kill shelter, La Junta. She was one among eight pets slated for euthanasia. One by one, each dog was tagged for rescue... except Shenzi. Regarded as hopeless, and within mere hours of being put down, Demi’s Animal Rescue tagged Shenzi, saving her life and eventually brightening mine.


Saving Shenzi was a conscious decision for Demi. Unlike some rescues that tag easy pets, Demi focuses on difficult cases. Her rescue is dedicated to the retraining, re-socialization, and re-emergence of the most difficult pets back into society. For Demi, the real work starts after the initial rescue, and continues until the right human match is found for that particular pet. Enter me: undisclosed pounds of lovable, goofy human.

I noticed Shenzi on Demi's website, and Shenzi's backstory resonated with me. The decision was made and I contacted Demi to foster Shenzi. After extensive interviews, I was entrusted with Shenzi's future... and I was ecstatic. During our first meeting, I took Shenzi to get a dog bed and toys. At the petstore, she cowered down aisles, shied away from people, and exhibited anxiety-based leash aggression. This is where Demi's talents and background in animal behavior are realized. When pairing Shenzi and me, Demi made it clear that a background similar to her own was required to care for Shenzi. Demi doesn't dump helpless, confused pets with well-intentioned (yet unprepared) humans: she does her homework while caring for her rescues for as long as it takes to find the right foster.


Loud noises, balloons, shadows, birds, squirrels, swaying branches –– all things that used to frighten Shenzi, causing her to cower and anticipate abuse. She also hadn’t developed calluses on her paws, causing pain and bleeding when she walked or ran. In the beginning, Shenzi was 70 pounds, scared, and unsure of most things. Now (9 months later), her life is blossoming. On or off the leash, loves the dog park, fetches, snuggles, head out the window, listens to commands, limited social or separation anxiety: the result of consistent care in the case of a hopeless, left-for-dead pet.

I cannot imagine my life without Shenzi. To think that 9 months ago this world would have been without her because she was incorrectly deemed as unrescuable. As Bob Marley said, "If she's amazing, she won't be easy. If she's easy, she won't be amazing. If she's worth it, you won't give up. If you give up, you're not worthy. Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." Thank you, Demi, from the bottom of our hearts.

Woof, JC & Shenzi