Love Takes Time: Lupe’s Journey Home

September 13, 2017


“It takes a willingness to accept them for who they are, knowing that their puppyhood happened a long time ago. Today is the first day of the rest of their life.” – Pam H. of Philadelphia, PA

Guadalupe first came to the ASPCA in May 2014 after being rescued alongside 10 other pit bull-mixes by the NYPD. At the time, the five-year-old dog was extremely fearful, especially of people, too scared even to pass people on the streets when out for a walk. Though she seemed alright on the outside (relatively healthy, with no major afflictions), on the inside Guadalupe was suffering from traumatic wounds that ran deep.

Two months after her arrival, the ASPCA Behavior team decide that, while in our care, Guadalupe would do best in a foster home. Since her behavioral problems stemmed from her extreme fear of humans, the hope was that by placing her in a domestic setting, Guadalupe could begin to heal from her past traumas and learn to trust. Though they knew her journey would not be an easy or fast one, the team at the ASPCA knew that with enough patience and understanding, they could help Guadalupe grow into a loving pet.

Lupe in a car

Guadalupe spent nearly 10 months in our foster program, slowly facing her many fears of the outside world. By May 2015, she’d become more confident, and though her mistrust of people was still apparent, Guadalupe showed a fierce loyalty and devotion to those she trusted. Her personality was finally starting to emerge and we could now see the dog we always knew she was shining through. It was at this time that Guadalupe caught the eye of an adopter, and she made her way to a new home almost a year to the date of her arrival at the ASPCA.

Sadly, this home didn’t prove to be the right fit for Guadalupe, as she didn’t get along with the adopter’s resident dog, forcing them to make the difficult decision to return her to us a week after her adoption. After being brought back to the ASPCA Adoption Center, it was decided once again that she would do best in a foster setting, where she could continue to be socialized while searching for the perfect adopter.

Unfortunately, another nine months went by before the perfect adopter finally found the sweet dog. But, as they say, good things come to those who wait.

In February 2016, Pam H. decided that she was ready to welcome a new dog into her life after grieving the loss of her dog of 14 years. Pam, a self-described “dog person,” was no stranger to adoption. “I had adopted three dogs before, and they have each been special in their own way,” she tells us. “Adoption is not always easy or magical, but it is always gratifying and rewarding.”

lupe being petted by her new pet parent

So, knowing that she wanted to save another life, she came to the ASPCA Adoption Center in the hopes of finding the perfect match. After meeting Guadalupe and hearing her story, Pam felt something draw her to the dog. “I heard her story and I knew there would be very few possible homes for her,” Pam says. “She appeared in my life at a time when I was also in personal turmoil.” Pam felt that the fit was right for them both, and so tells us, “I took a chance.”

Guadalupe went home, and the pair have never looked back. Pam tells us that adopting Guadalupe had its challenges initially. “Adjustment was not simple or automatic, but I was committed to providing a safe home for Lupe,” she says. “In all honesty, I was ready to give up in the first two months. Lupe exhibited some behaviors that I felt ill-equipped to handle.” Despite the hurdles Pam and Lupe faced, Pam decided to not give up on her new furry friend, giving Lupe back what she had given so many—loyalty and devotion. “After a year, we were fully devoted to one another,” Pam tells us happily. “She is a different dog than the one I first met. Lupe has her baggage, but so do I!”

Though it took Guadalupe a little longer to find Pam, it seems like the timing was perfect for the both of them. Pam tells us that she and Lupe have been like therapy for each other, each helping the other in their own way. When asked about her decision to adopt and stick with a dog with behavioral concerns like Lupe, Pam tells us that the happiness and love outweigh the struggle. “I would say that adopting a shelter dog is not ever a slam-dunk,” she says. “It takes hard work, commitment, and a belief that every dog's life is valuable. It takes a willingness to accept them for who they are, knowing that their puppyhood happened a long time ago. Today is the first day of the rest of their life.”