When Marci first arrived at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter two years ago, it was clear she had never been treated with kindness. She had been a stray, and although she was sweet and gentle, she was afraid and didn’t seem to understand how to show affection. She kept to herself, peering out with a set of thoughtful, almost human eyes.
Marci has lived in the shelter for most of her life, and while the shelter is no place for a dog to grow up, she has learned over the years what it means to trust. Volunteer Marie McCurry has worked closely with Marci, and to her delight, she’s watched as the petite brindle girl has evolved from withdrawn to devoted.
Once Marci makes a friend, that bond cannot be broken. When McCurry recently had to have knee surgery and was unable to visit the shelter for several weeks, Marci awaited her return. When the volunteer finally was able to take Marci for a walk, Marci refused to break eye contact. Every few steps, she’d look back just to make sure her friend was following.
Unfortunately, Marci has been continuously ignored by adopters, and living long term in the shelter has been difficult for her. She is so frustrated with being alone in her kennel that she has begun to jump up and down, bumping against the six foot ceiling. She has a mark at the top of her head from the repeated banging.
When McCurry tries to take Marci back inside after their walk, she can see the disappointment in Marci’s face. Before she has to go in, Marci likes to sit quietly with McCurry for a few minutes and have her bottom scratched and her ears stroked softly.
Marci has never been much of a mush, but recently she has started giving what McCurry calls “ninja kisses.” When she sees a friendly face, she sneaks in a smooch when they’re least expecting it. It’s Marci’s way of saying “thank you for taking care of me.”
When asked what it would be like to see Marci in a good home, McCurry couldn’t help but get choked up. “I would be able to sleep at night,” she says, “Marci has overcome so much, but it hasn’t broken her. She’s a hopeful dog.”
“I told Marci this morning that if someone sees this article and brings her home, she better be a good girl.” McCurry told me during our interview for this story: “I’ve had many dogs in my life, and there are some who just get under your skin more than others and stay with you. Marci will be that dog for someone.”
Featured image via Hempstead Town Animal Shelter