Fletcher went to Chicago’s city shelter as a stray in late June. The young dog was a mess — covered in scars and abrasions, and shaking with fear; indications of a very hard life.
Stephanie Paluch, founder of the rescue group Players for Pits, took this heartbreaking video of Fletcher in the shelter.
It’s the worst I’ve ever seen and he’s only six-ish months. All we know is that he is absolutely terrified of people, so our only real guess is that people were not very kind to him.
She got him on July 2, a couple of days after he arrived at the shelter. She was determined to prove to him that people can also be very good.
Fletcher was so scared when Stephanie got him, that he didn’t even want to leave the shelter.
To Fletcher that was probably the most safe place he had ever been. It’s so sad to think a puppy as young as him has experienced so much physical and mental pain that he would want to stay at animal control, but from his perspective, it was probably the first place he had consistent food, water and shelter.
About 20 minutes into their car ride away from the shelter, Stephanie started to sing along with a song on the car radio.
It was Ellie Goulding’s song “Love Me Like You Do.” Fletcher’s anxiety and fear seemed to ease, a little.
“He seemed to relax so I kept it going. And he finally looked at me and smiled,” Stephanie says.
The smile didn’t last long.
Some loud motorcycles zoomed by, and Fletcher “reverted back to the dog in the shelter.”
Despite the setback, Stephanie says:
It was a glimpse of what will be and it was a huge reward to see that in him.
Fletcher is in a foster home now, where he has to be kept isolated a lot of the time, since he probably picked up dog flu from his time in the shelter.
He doesn’t seem to mind being on his own. He seems to like it, actually, having a whole room to himself.
There’s another dog at the house who’s got canine influenza, too. Since it’s safe for them to be together, she comes and spends some time with Fletcher every day. She’s showing him the ropes of how to be a dog, a little at a time. He seems to like that, too.
She is acting as a surrogate mother figure for him right now and he is starting to follow her when she walks up to be pet by people.
Eventually, Stephanie would like to see Fletcher well enough that he is smiling all the time. That he is confident and healthy, and able to be adopted into a loving home.
That’s a while off, most likely. That’s ok.
He’s been failed by people once, so we need to step up for him together, as a community. He deserves to know the humanity in humans. We can’t give up on Fletcher.
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