It was 2006 when one day I found in the newspaper a post that said “Briard given away”. I was a little surprised because dogs like this, with prizes in beauty contests and agility have a high price in market.
I always wanted a Brie. So I take the newspaper, got in the car and went driving down to the published address.
The place was a farm with a small cozy house. The owner, with a clear lazy face, came to open up.
I walked behind him and arrived at the kennels, where they were all beautiful dogs but in poor conditions. And there was “Miss Betty”, a wonderful two years old Briard and had fallen into disgrace for her behavior. Nobody wanted her because she doesn’t like other dogs, cats and any other animal that bother her. She doesn´t fight, she just kill.
Love at first Sight
It was love at first sight, at least for me.
Betty came from another place before that, where they had some Brazilians Fila dogs, and to survive from them, she learned as a puppy to survive. She had learned to be a fighting machine, a murderer, pitifully.
That was the reason why the owner gave her alone and just to a special person, without others pets. She had destroyed the face of a boxer next door and smashed two cats from another neighbor, in addition to about 6 or 7 cats with unknown owners. In addition, she didn´t get along with any of the other dogs of the same race, except Chewbacca, the only male on campus.
Betty jumped to the back of the car and sat without moving a muscle throughout the trip. I looked between her hairs sideways through the rearview mirror. No drooling or panting out her tongue, like other dogs did on similar conditions.
When I got home, she followed me to the backyard and sat in a corner to keep looking at me.
“Poor” – I thought. Once she was beauty queen and today was a ball of messy hair, scrawny, dirty, who had been eating premium pellets and now only bad bread meal once a day, due to poor economic conditions of the former owner.
But I loved her. And there she was in front of me without any desire to be my friend. I approached and was suspicious. I would not force her.
“I understand you” – I said. “I would have the same behavior if I had been locked up day and night in a small cage with bad food and unable to move”
So I went her to prepare a bath.
She didn’t put resistance, you could tell she enjoyed being cleaned and beautified again. His hair was so bad, it was impossible to keep. So I take the cutting machine and started to get rid of his beautiful fur and leaving only her pink skin, which was showing full of horror and abuse past.
Her skin was full of ticks and fleas, with many marks and scars, telling stories about tough fights with other dogs.
In her face, she brought a fresh scar, which had split from the nose to the mouth, leaving her forever-like cleft lip.
When finished I wanted to hug her, but she went to his corner and just looked at me with no confidence. Tears rolled down my cheeks, feeling what she felt, what she had been through, the rage that came over me at the thought of the life she lived before me.
But now, Betty was mine. Only mine. From now and forever. And there we were, beginning to make ties that seemed impossible.
Over the days and weeks, the situation that Betty looked at me from the corner of the yard didn´t seem to improve. Still there, eating, drinking and sleeping. It was her safety space.
Then I decided that to gain her trust, also have lunch on the back yard sitting closest she would allow me to be. Only when I spent a month doing the same, Betty understood that she could trust in her new human and left her corner and sat next to me looking at the horizon, never to me.
My heart still accelerated by adrenaline. Betty looked me between her crazy hair and put her big paw on my knee, put her nose in my chest and for the first time, licked my face with a long big tongue of love and gratitude.
My heart was beating so fast for the excitement, like a little girl. At last the dog I had chosen from any others, being a “cold-blooded killer” had reacted. She had broken her wall of indifference and had approached her fragile body to mine.
So she was in the mood of going for a walk in the park, go up and down as she used to obstacles in agility contests, with a giant coat that was left over from all sides for his state of malnutrition occurred. She weighed only 20 kilos.
The months passed and never knew if she looked at me or not between her front hair, but she let me touch her, hold her and sometimes seemed to return, approaching more tight to follow her brushing her long new hair.
Like everything in life, it was time to test the trust and loyalty. One warm afternoon, new year´s eve, I went out to run side by side with Betty. Then a guy tried to catch me over back. Betty reacted instinctively and bit his arm.
I moved to one side, the guy ran away and to my surprise, I saw the knife that he left to tried to assault me. My brave champion saved me from an experience that maybe couldn´t tell now, if not for her.
Then I sat on the floor. My heart still accelerated by adrenaline. Betty looked me between her crazy hair and put her big paw on my knee, put her nose in my chest and for the first time, licked my face with a long big tongue of love and gratitude.
That afternoon,a commitment to life was sealed until today, ten years later, when a noble dog with his heart broken by human abuse, became to believe and feel to her his new human mother who never again feels lonely and she accomplished the dream of having a Briard as her best friend.