You don’t choose your friends. Life chooses them for you.
When Tela, a stray pit bull terrier mix, entered the shelter early in January, she had no idea how to process what was happening to her. She was overwhelmed by all of the sights and sounds in this strange new place, and like most animals experiencing a lot of stress - she began to act out. Tela was frequently destructive in her kennel - chewing up blankets and her bed. She would pace back and forth in her kennel, trying to make sense of where she was now. Full of anxiety and uncertainty, Tela would try to get attention with less than desirable behaviors. Tela was prone to jumping up on people, barking loudly, and would often try to get attention from shelter workers by placing her mouth on their arms or even their face! While she wasn’t behaving aggressively, her large size and huge amounts of energy meant these types of behaviors could become dangerous if Tela wasn’t taught better manners. A strikingly beautiful dog, potential adopters would take her out to see if she was a good fit, but her poor manners and bursts of anxious energy would lead to her going back to her kennel, instead of a new home. To make matters more complicated, whether just another side effect of the stress she was feeling, or because of her personality, Tela could not be around other dogs. That meant she was missing out on one of the best parts of shelter life - getting to play with a lot of other dogs every day! Doggy playgroups not only give the shelter dogs a chance to get a lot of exercise out of their kennels, but it provides important socialization skills - older, more mature dogs will pass down their knowledge of “good manners”. The staff was concerned about Tela - she was a shelter pup with a ton of untapped potential living in a high stress environment with limited resources to help her overcome the challenges she was facing on a daily basis. But things were about to change for Tela. Rose is a student at Arkansas Tech, who volunteers her free time at Needy Paws Animal Shelter. Rose comes to visit several times a week. The shelter gives her a place to get away from the stress of school, while also doing something to make a difference! In one of her first visits to Needy Paws, she from drawn to Tela - and the rest is history. The time, care, and attention Rose has given to Tela has helped this once unruly pup overcome so many challenges. Tela is a very strong, very determined dog - and walking her on a leash used to be a huge feat! Now, with the help of Rose, Tela gets to take long leash walks and is getting better with the leash every day! Rose even helped us fit Tela for a harness, which helps her learn to pull even less. When Tela is in her kennel, she is less stressed. She has adjusted to the routine in the shelter so much better - and is no longer destructive to her bed or to blankets. She no longer paces back and forth or show the signs of anxiety and stress she did previously. She is learning what behaviors are undesirable - like jumping, using her mouth for attention, and barking. Through patience and love, Rose has taught Tela to sit, shake, and lay down! Before her one on one time with Rose began, the staff could barely get Tela to even walk on a leash! And now, she knows tricks! Tela looks forward to seeing her friend, and her interactions with Rose have given the Needy Paws staff valuable insight into Tela's true personality. The staff now better knows what type of home Tela would do best in! The many hours Rose continues to invest into Tela not only makes her life at the shelter more interesting and fulfilling, but it helps prepare Tela for her new home! We are so grateful for volunteers like Rose. And Tela...well, if you ask her, she’ll say Rose saved her life.