After Two Years Of Intense Rehabilitation, Grateful Is Ready For A Permanent Home



With a name like Grateful, how could you resist?

A special New Mexico animal-rescue organization couldn’t – more than two years ago – and now it is hoping special family will come forth, too, and give the Australian shepherd mix a new lease on life.

The odds were against her when she was found by the Bernalillo (N.M.) Animal Control wandering on the side of Highway 550 near Bernalillo, in May 2012 with her mouth duct-taped shut, emaciated, suffering from mange and sporting a matted coat. Today she weighs approximately 45 pounds, is an estimated 4 years old, wears a white coat with brown markings and is emerging from her psychological shell.

She was taken to Watermelon Mountain Ranch, a no-kill animal facility 10 miles away, where she has received daily treatment before being recently placed in a foster home for continued socialization and TLC.

Sara Garrigan, Watermelon Mount Ranch executive director, recalls those challenging early days. “After a very gentle hand from our veterinary staff, the duct taped was removed. She immediately showed a wariness and fear of people, in particular taller men wearing hats or sunglasses.

“Through the last two years, she has blossomed to the point where she is truly a sweet girl. It does, however, take time for her to warm up to newcomers. Her gradual progress is a reflection of the kennel staff’s daily work with her. Every day Grateful was talked to and given attention, walked on a leash and given hands-on soothing love.”

Grateful – she was given that name by staffers from the look in her eyes after the tape was removed – has been a psychological as well as physical project for the committed veterinary staff and volunteers.

Grateful & friend.

Recently there was a need for multiple fosters for special-needs dogs at the ranch. Many of the animals are fearful of strangers and require one-on-one attention in a home environment if they are to have a legitimate shot at finding a permanent home.

“A mother and daughter came out to the ranch to meet several of these dogs,” said Garrigan, “however the ones they had in mind had already been picked up. The kennel staff showed them around and there was an instant connection between the two and Grateful. She is now in a home with a kitty sister, dog brother and human sister. She is taken out on regular walks around the neighborhood but is still showing fear when strangers come to her home.”

The ideal foster home for Grateful was one where she would not be left along for long periods of time, explained Garrigan, and where the owners would be willing to work on her socialization and people skills. This family is the perfect fit.

Watermelon’s team rebuilt Grateful’s psyche and the fosters are re-enforcing it in a more social environment. “The eventual owner,” Garrigan emphasized, “must have the patience to work with Grateful on her insecurities and fears. Having other animals in the household would be helpful to her socialization and trust issues.”

Watermelon Mountain Ranch was one of 10 pet shelters nationally that was a recipient of a $300 matching donation to winners of the 2013 Holiday Pet Video Contest earlier this year.

Watermelon was selected by winner Lava Buckley, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Grateful was the chosen pet on the facility’s home page.

Grateful is available for adoption, but potential candidates must meet her in person to ensure she is a good fit for their family and lifestyle and be interviewed by Watermelon personnel. Ideally, Garrigan says, the agency would like to perform a home visit.  Anyone interested, should phone the ranch, 505-507-7081.


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