Guest Blog Monday: Laurie Salzler

Zac-1545Never Give Up… a dog’s story

Zach seemed a friendly enough Staffy when he shuffled out of the shade of the house. He and his “sister” Zo, also a Staffordshire Terrier, ran out to greet the car when we drove in to check out a flat available for rent. It met my needs and three days later, I moved in.

My landlord’s house is a mere fifteen feet away, so I enjoy daily, sometimes hourly, visits from the dogs. My door is always open and the dogs come and go as they please. We all know if the dogs aren’t with them, they’re with me, and visa versa.

One late afternoon, Zach arrived and despite urging to come home from Cheryl, he decided to spend the night with me… and a strong bond began forming between he and I. In the days to come, I learned he was a survivor of abuse.

When rescued by Cheryl he was nothing but skin and bones. Cheryl told me she’d never seen such an emaciated dog. He had numerous lesions from fighting and having to live chained on a cement pad with no shelter for god knows how long. He subsisted on scraps thrown to him…if his owner remembered. The canon bone between his hock and paw on a hind leg had been broken and not properly cared for. So he walks with a swagger and not surprisingly has the beginnings of arthritis in his leg and back.

pl3bOn arrival, he was cautiously quiet, subdued and not sure of what was expected of him. I’m sure to his amazement, there was no aggression, no females to breed, plenty of food and water, and a soft bed to sleep on… and plenty of love. His healing had to start somewhere, and he had to be patient waiting for the memories to fade, the bad dreams to cease. It was only then, many weeks later that an internal change occurred. Zach began actively searching out physical contact. He’s a leaner, but that isn’t always enough. It’s a gentle hand he desires most. Belly rubs are his favorite. Whether lounging on the futon with me, or lying on my bed, he insists on having his head on my chest or tucked under my chin, and always the presence of my hand on him.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen an incredible change in this handsome boy. He has completely exited his emotional shell formed of the past. He ecstatically plays with Zo, he wags his tail nearly incessantly, his ears are up, and he “talks.” Best of all, a beautiful light has ignited in this boy’s eyes. Instead of defeat, bright brown orbs speak of self-assuredness, love and trust.  We didn’t change this boy, but we did give him the platform and tools to do it on his own. When he was ready, he did it.


Positive Lightning is about learning to trust and love oneself enough to accomplish feats not within a scope of belief at the time. We learn, we grow…and because we grow, we learn. It’s in the heart, just waiting for that discovery.

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11 thoughts on “Guest Blog Monday: Laurie Salzler

  1. I’ve shared the story of Jess, my not-all-V on my FB page, but I can say it took her a long time to make the journey home. You’re absolutely right about the look in her eye — and the pride she showed in herself. Lesson for all of us, eh?

  2. Your description of Zach, his past and how he has learned to cope and go beyond it, is a delight. And reminds me of a similar experience with Bella, a mastiff-ridgeback who came looking for help, food and water weighing a skeletal 15kg. Her experiences were written in her eyes and the scars on her neck, head and body. But although cowed by it, she was not broken and she recovered – like Zach and in the same way. She was with me for 5 wonderful years (she was already 5 or 6 when rescued) and they were a privilege and a joy. Her healthy weight was 40kg by the way and she loved to plonk most of it on your lap if given half a chance – and she always was. A beloved hound.

  3. What a heartwarming story. It’s amazing how dogs keep a capacity to love even after being so abused. I’d like to read Positive Lightning.

  4. Our wee rescue dog was a matted mess, a stray picked up in LA, saved from a kill shelter, and ended up in Canada with us. She was wary of people, growled when picked up after you managed to catch her. After 2 years we can finally rub her belly for a short while, and she even wants to be picked up. It’s a slow process, earning trust.

  5. “We learn, we grow….and because we grow, we learn.” What an inspirational message in itself. I knew Zach had been visiting, but I didn’t know the rest of the story. You told it beautifully, Laurie. I’m so happy for Zach to have found love.

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