In May 2021, Kelsea McDonough took three 16-week-old foster puppies home, knowing she had her hands full. During their stay in an overcrowded shelter, Novo, Noah, and Nash were “extremely shut down,” according to McDonough.
If they couldn’t be saved, “I was told they were going to be put to sleep at 3 o’clock the next day,” McDonough recalled. “Everything inside of me knew I was going to save these dogs.”
The three canines were exceedingly frightened when McDonough first took them home because of their difficult upbringing. Nash, though, was at a completely other level.
“One single blue kennel with all three pups inside was given to me. I instantly started crying when I opened it,” said McDonough. They were filthy, scrawny, and clung to the kennel’s back. They only desired to blend in.
Nash was hardly noticeable even while the three of them were hiding behind McDonough’s toilet because Novo and Noah were so protective of him, according to McDonough.
McDonough also added, “Nash was at the bottom of the pile, with Noah and Novo directly on top of him. Nash was heavily protected and physically covered by his brothers. I knew then that the trauma of whatever they had gone through affected Nash most. His brothers both knew to protect him from the harsh world they once experienced.”
Nash was terrified and refused to let McDonough put him down when he tried to take him outdoors.
“When it came to Nash, something was just different,” claimed McDonough. “I just knew he was supposed to be mine from the first day I saw him protected by his brothers to the first day I tried to take him outside and he wouldn’t let me go.”
McDonough had previous foster failures before Nash. She fostered two pups for A Wish for Animals while she was in quarantine, and both she and her mother developed a special bond with the canines.
They’re now my mom’s soul dogs, and she constantly talks about how much they’ve improved her life, according to McDonough.
Following a significant life incident that left her feeling down in January 2021, McDonough made the decision to try fostering again.
After a failed engagement and a separation that lasted ten years, McDonough stated, “I felt like I had lost almost every part of myself and hit what I can only refer to as rock bottom.” I said, “At this point in my life, I found it very difficult to let anyone into my empty world, but I also knew the road to happiness was almost impossible to travel through alone.”
Even when his brothers started coming out of their shells, Nash remained afraid and sad, and when McDonough noticed this, she felt she had to do something to assist him.
“I realized that [Nash] and I didn’t heal as quickly as the rest of the world,” McDonough said. We had delicate spirits and could feel the weight of the entire world, but we had no understanding of how to put our confidence in it. His journey would require just as much kindness and patience as mine did.
Together, the four of them started to mend gradually, with Novo and Noah being able to perceive joy at the end of the darkest of times a little more clearly than their brother.
“We [became] a family — one whole unit with many broken pieces,” McDonough claimed. “We were now protected and found so much solace in each other, while we were formerly shut off and left without hope. We re-started living. They made me feel so happy.
Every day, they improved, and so did I, according to McDonough. They gradually ate without much prodding, figured out how to play without feeling in trouble, and wouldn’t go to sleep until I rocked them to sleep (which became my fondest memory of them).
When the pups grew bigger, began to play, and became more sociable, McDonough realized it was time to find them permanent homes.
We didn’t meet by chance, and letting go was difficult for all of us, she remarked.
As soon as possible, Noah and Novo were placed in loving homes with families, and McDonough made the ultimate choice to permanently adopt Nash.
We grew close, and when he met Lou (my shepherd), the three of us instantly felt whole, according to McDonough. “He was so much further behind his brothers in his recovery, and I knew I was too, in my own ‘healing after heartbreak’ process,” the author said. On June 11, 2022, Nash became legally mine, and we haven’t been apart since.
Nash’s favorite pastimes now that he’s settled into his forever home include running through meadows, playing with Lou and McDonough’s mother’s dogs, gazing out the window on long drives, and playing with his stuffed animals. All of these activities have helped him grow into a much more self-assured and content dog.
According to McDonough, the suffering and trauma a dog has experienced in the past might make fostering and saving canines difficult. But she’s learned to set the past aside and concentrate on giving her foster children the greatest second chance at life she can.
“There are so many kind people in the world who have welcomed these pets into their homes. I am really grateful for each and every one of them,” she remarked. Every [dog] saved is a tribute to the idea that what was once shattered may be found and put back together with kind hearts.