As the Editor of iHeartDogs, I come across so many stories that make me feel something inside. Sometimes they are sweet, other times tragic, but when you find a story with a beautiful and happy ending that brings you to tears, it touches your soul.
The story of Penni the dog is one of those stories. Penni is one of those dogs that you see in pictures and know that she is loved.
But it wasn’t always this way for her. She had a journey. A long one. One that is filled with sadness and fear, but one that shows that the true spirit of a dog can never be broken.
Throughout everything she’s been through, Penni just wanted one thing: love. And as you can see, she has what she wanted all along. This love will never, ever go away, thanks to one man who shared their beautiful story with us.
I want to give a special thank you to Penni’s dog dad for sharing this incredibly heartfelt story with us. This is EXACTLY what rescue is all about.
I was about eight months into my search for a dog. I had spoken to quite a few rescue groups, but unfortunately, I was repeatedly rejected because I “wouldn’t be a good fit.” Luckily though, I was put in touch with Fur Friends in Need and after providing them my bio and description of what I was looking for in a dog, they offered to let me meet Penni. Prior to the meet-up though, the rescue group warned me that Penni had endured a particularly rough life up until this point, and they wanted to make sure I was aware of the details.
They weren’t entirely sure of her age (somewhere between one and two years old), but they did know that she had spent her entire life locked in the basement of a drug house wherein she faced endless physical and emotional abuse. She was then thrown on the street. Not long after that, she was scooped up by an officer (along with two other dogs) and brought to the pound. Upon intake, the pound performed an evaluation on her, and I would say that was the most saddening description of a dog that I have ever read. With the combination of the evaluation and overcrowding, the decision had been made to euthanize Penni. Fortunately, though, the rescue group arrived just in time to save her life. Knowing all that, I was that much more enticed to meet her.
I met with the rescue group a couple of days later. When Penni hopped out of the car, they asked me to wait a moment before approaching me due to her immense anxiety levels. I sat to the side, and without breaking stride, she walked over and sat in my lap. At that point, I knew that she was the dog for me!
Once I got her home, I realized just how much work I had ahead of me. She was terrified of everything in sight. She was untrusting of every situation. She simply did not want to interact with the world. At the beginning, every day was a challenge. With persistent focus, though, she slowly overcame many of her fears. Daily visits to the dog parks helped her realize how to play (and also how to run – because up until this point, she had never had the opportunity to run). Daily walks helped her understand that she was no longer in an environment where everything was accompanied with risk and threat.
Fast forward two years later. That’s now.
It’s like a completely different reality. The seemingly perpetual cycle of fears has diminished markedly. While she absolutely still has her quirks, one this is certain: this dog loves being outside. I definitely had an inclination of this while we lived in New Jersey, but after moving to Las Vegas, there was no doubt. Since our arrival here, I have made a point of seeking different destinations as often as possible. Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, Mammoth, Death Valley, Lake Powell – I could go on and on. And everywhere we go, she seems to surprise me with her antics. Whether it is the goofy galloping when she is wearing her hiking boots or the surprise submerses in mud puddles that are a little deeper than anticipated, she always has me smiling. We share a unique bond when we are out experiencing these events, too. I mean, not everyone can say they have been rappelling with their dog!
And this brings me to the most important point. Penni has changed my life. She has also changed the life of others. She somehow possesses this innate ability to just make you fall for her. She is the kind of dog that turns a cat person into a dog person. Anywhere we go, she seems to steal the show and I attribute all of this to one simple thing: she was finally shown love. Love is what has enabled all of this.
If you’d like to follow their adventures–filled with amazing photos of their explorations together–check them out on Instagram!