More than a year ago, someone found Neeka in an empty apartment, chained up by her former owners and unable to escape. She was alone, afraid, and confused. Over the past months, it’s become clear to everyone at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter that her former owners badly abused her for the first four years of her life.
One man has chosen to fight for the fearful retriever mix with the curious red-rimmed eyes. Their friendship started with a kind word that he spoke to Neeka through the bars of her little kennel, and over time and many long walks, John S. has become the only person this pup trusts.
While other dogs jump up and bark inside the shelter cages, Neeka simply sits and waits for John to come see her. Unlike the others, Neeka doesn’t have a bed to rest her head, so when she lies down for the night, it’s on a hard floor. That’s not due to neglect; it’s because she’s terrified of beds. John tried to bring her one, but she ran to the far end of her kennel. He suspects she was beaten with a bed or similar object in her past.
Not one person over the course of Neeka’s long stay at the shelter has asked to see her. Because her fearfulness has gotten worse inside the kennel environment, exacerbated by loud, scary noises and barking dogs, Neeka is no longer available for adoption. She cannot go home, but in John’s words, the stress of the shelter “is going to kill this dog” if she stays any longer.
Neeka does have one chance at living a happy life. Trainer Kimberley Strong, who takes on some of the shelter’s hardest rehabilitation cases, has agreed to bring Neeka into her home, where the wounds of her past will heal, slowly but surely. Kimberley, in John’s estimation, is “the dog whisperer.” He’s seen her take the weight of the world off the shoulders of the most anxious dogs, and she’s found them loving forever homes.
But Neeka needs help to get to rehabilitation. The shelter staff and volunteers have set up a YouCaring page to fund Neeka’s care and training. Every cent will go towards making her capable of living with a real family.
Despite all the trauma she’s been forced to endure, John sees something rare in Neeka – hope. He’s seen it when she hears his footsteps padding down the hall for a visit. He’s seen it when she leaps into his lap and leans her whole body into his.
Even though nobody else walks Neeka, John has asked some of the volunteers simply to sit outside her kennel and talk to her. She doesn’t quite trust them yet, but she’s started looking at them more, sitting closer to the front of her cage, and wondering if maybe a better future lies ahead.
Please consider making a donation towards that future. Every bit helps.