Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally published on April 17, 2014. Enjoy!
At an animal shelter in the Italian city of Ponzano Veneto, a medium-sized dog named Cornelia was rigid with fear. Too afraid to stretch in the morning or to sprawl out on her side, Cornelia lived in the crouched position, forever trying to make herself invisible. She was overlooked and distrusted by the shelter staff who had written Cornelia off as an unsocial dog, but when volunteer Ambra Carraro came on the scene, things slowly began to change.
“I began to pet her, but then I thought I had been unwise. This dog could have bitten me so I pulled my hands back,” Amber recalls. “But actually, she was so scared, she would never have bitten me. I offered her a biscuit but she didn’t eat it. But as soon as I was out, she ate it.”
And so began a ritual that would continue day after day, week after week. Ambra held a vision of a different Cornelia, one who would have the confidence to join a family, to sleep on a soft bed and to play with toys on the kitchen floor. She was building a bridge to Cornelia’s heart one dog biscuit at a time.
“She was always scared and shy, but she slowly began to appreciate my compliments,” Ambra says warmly. “She would eat biscuits, taking them from my hands and she stopped trembling. One day she licked my hand and in that moment my love for her became stronger.”
“Every time I went to the dog shelter, I hoped not to find her there because in my opinion she had to have found a home, but she was always in her corner,” Ambra continues. “I didn’t want to have dogs anymore, after suffering the loss of my beloved dog Charly, but I understood I was being selfish. I had the chance to make this dog’s life better but I had been putting my feelings before hers.”
“Although the owners of the dog pound had said she would never walk with the lead, she learned it fast,” said Ambra who has now adopted Cornelia. “She began licking me whenever she could. It was her way for kissing me. She learned to rely on me and ignore other people. She loves me and we have been everywhere: to the mountains, to the countryside and to the city-centre for doing shopping. When I tell her: ‘Cora, let’s go out with the car’, she’s so happy that she runs toward the car and jumps onto her place.”
As for the biscuit ritual, you guessed it, the cookies continue to flow. Ambra’s mother has joined in as well, giving Coraline every reason to put the past behind her. One last photo of Coraline here