This handsome boy is Boomer – B.B. in another, horrible life. He is an amazing dog, one of the “Griffin Mud Dogs” rescued by Atlanta-area animal rescues. These animals were part of a hoarding situation – 37 dogs who had lived their entire lives outside in cages – in the mud. They ate when food was thrown over the fence to them, and it was every dog for himself. They had never known love and human companionship.
Many rescues and animal advocates in the area teamed up to save these dogs, and we got Boomer. Lori Cronin, an experienced, long-time volunteer who had previously fostered many dogs for us, agreed to take Boomer in and work with him until he was ready for adoption into a loving, forever home. When she first saw him, he was in a crate, curled into a ball to make himself as small and invisible as possible. He wouldn't make eye contact, and Lori had to, literally, crawl into the crate with him to get his attention and start building a relationship. Right there. In the crate. She had to carry him out to her car, because he didn't know about walking on a leash.
When she got Boomer home, Lori walked him around her house and her fenced back yard, to help introduce him to his new surroundings. (Boomer didn't like fences. Lori thinks the fences in the Mud Dogs' pens were electrified, so he probably knew that fences shock.) Boomer was terrified. All he wanted to do was hide. In fact, he did hide for 2 days, either under the shed in the back yard or in his crate. He stayed in his crate even when the door was open, until, finally McKinley, one of Lori's other dogs, walked past the open crate and Boomer followed her to Lori. She knew Boomer would probably be more comfortable with other dogs than with people, because, after all, he didn't have much experience with people. Lo and behold, once Boomer met Kodi, her Catahoula, he began following her around, and that was the beginning. To this day, he follows her lead and emulates her behavior. She became his teacher, showing Boomer how to be a dog, how to play, how to relate, how to live with people.
He had a lot to learn. For example, he didn't know how to eat from a bowl. When food was put down for him, he would urinate on it—marking it as his. And he preferred to drink out of a puddle—that was what he knew.
Since Lori was the first person to ever consistently treat Boomer with love and kindness, he became so attached to her that he had separation anxiety if she left him for even a short time. She began working with him every day, socializing him, giving him new experiences taking him for walks with Kodi, building his confidence, helping him learn to trust her, and gradually introducing him to other people...letting him learn what is it like to have enough to eat, a comfortable place to sleep, and a family of two-legged and four-legged friends to love.
After living with the Cronins for about a month, Boomer faced one more hurdle: He was heartworm positive, and he had to receive treatment for this disease, which is fatal is left untreated. After heartworm treatment, dogs have to remain absolutely quiet and inactive for a month, so that the heartworms that have been killed don't break free and lodge in the dog's lungs or heart. Can you imagine how hard that was for a little dog with TONS of energy? But he's almost there!
Lori put her heart into helping this little dog come out of his shell and recover from the horrible existence he had before his rescue. Now, it is hard to believe how sweet and friendly and joyous this guy is. He's very polite, but he loves to play,and he can be a real goofball. He feels confident and secure – just look at some of the pictures of him in his home, and you'll see what I mean.
Maybe he knows just how lucky he is...because Lori and husband, Pat, have decided to make him an official “Cronin Critter” and give him a permanent home! Boomer deserves the best, and so does Lori. Looks like both of them have gotten what they deserve, and the Georgia SPCA family wishes them the best!
Lori blogged about Boomer while she was working with him, bringing us all along as he overcame his past and became the fabulous dog he is now. (Of course, he was fabulous all along, but not everyone could see it.) If you'd like to catch up on the story, you can read The Boomer Chronicle on Facebook. And be sure to catch the great pictures. (Scroll down and look at the one where Boomer is helping Lori with the computer. Such a cute little head tilt!)
Here's what Lori says about her boy:
"The most amazing thing is his resilience. He is like his name -- Boomerang. You can throw him a curve (like his life in Griffin) but he always returns. Each training exercise was difficult for him (learning to trust, learming to be a pet, etc.) but he would take it in stride and come back better every time. I love watching him learn new things and how he looks to me or one of our dogs on how to react. I love how he is starting to become his "own dog", where he can go into another room or go into his kennel, upstairs in our bedroom when he just wants to lay down. All these things were impossible just weeks ago. Small things that to us seem simple have not been for Boomer, such as eating out of a bowl, not having to look for water in a mud puddle, or the kindness of a human hand. I am thankful every day he has been a part of our life, and look forward to giving him the life he deserves in the future!"