"I'll never not remember you... ever."
When Blossom was 8 years old, her owner took her to the vet and told him to put her down. She'd gotten a new dog, and the new dog and Blossom weren't getting along. Luckily for Blossom, the vet couldn't do it. Instead, he managed to talk the woman into signing her over to him, and then he called Keeshond Rescue.
When Blossom arrived, she was completely distraught. She was desperate for love and attention, but at the same time, she was scared to death. It was obvious that she'd been mistreated. To do anything with her, we had to catch her and carry her -- if we tried to lead her by the collar, Blossom would panic and scream and struggle to get away.
The first week, we had to mop the kitchen floor every time we let her in the house. Blossom was so excited to be with us that she'd spin in circles all the way across the kitchen. But she was so scared, she'd piddle the entire way.
So at first, Blossom spent most of her time out on the patio by herself, just chilling out and calming down, until she began to realize that she was safe and nothing terrible was going to happen to her. Now and then, she'd see someone looking at her through the window, and she was so thrilled, she'd start spinning in circles. -- "Oh boy, they're looking at me!" But then, if they went outside to pet her, she'd run, crying, and hide under a chair.
During this time, other dogs couldn't get anywhere near her. She'd begin to growl, and then frantically attack them.
But when we looked hard enough, we could tell that underneath all of Blossom's neurotic, panicked behavior, there was a sweet, loving soul who just needed time and a safe place to recover. We changed her name to Blossom because that's what we expected her to do. And sure enough, she did exactly that.
Slowly, Blossom settled down and began to trust us. As she became less frightened, she was able to spend most of her time in the house, where she gradually learned that she was safe, and became more and more trusting. Our teenaged son took her under his wing and gave her his special attention. Soon, she was sleeping by his bed, lying curled at his feet when he used his computer, and following him adoringly around the house. Eventually, he adopted her. She'd found her forever person, and she began to thrive.
She learned to trust the other dogs, too. (Fortunately, they're all good-natured Kees who don't hold grudges.) At first, Blossom wouldn't let them in the same room with her. So we put her in her crate and let the other dogs go about their normal lives around her. They ignored Blossom, and she slowly learned that they weren't threatening her, and began to relax around them. After awhile, she was able to come out of the crate and get along with the other dogs. She only attacked them if she had food or someone was petting her. It soon became clear that the new dog in her former home had been the aggressor, stealing her food and the woman's love.
As time went on, Blossom continued to become more and more secure, and she felt safe to show us her silly, mischievious side. What fun she had, grabbing the end of the toilet paper roll and running down the hall with paper streaming along the floor behind her! And how she grinned and wiggled and made us laugh when we caught her!
She became the sweetest, gentlest little dog imaginable. Nothing pleased her more than to make us happy or give us a good laugh. The once-ferocious Blossom learned to play with the other dogs. She and her Keesie brother, Jazzy, became special friends, and they spent many happy hours wrestling on our big bed.
All it took to make her happy was to look at her or say her name -- her tail would start wagging, she'd grin her big Keesie grin, and she'd spin with joy. She loved to cuddle, and would snuggle up quietly for hours and give the gentlest little kisses. Whenever someone was sad or ill, Blossom was always there beside them. All she ever wanted was to be loved, and she gave us back far more than we gave her. It became impossible for us to look at her or say her name without feeling a little spark of happiness.
Blossom passed away from natural causes at the age of 13. We'll miss her always, but she's our soulmate, and we know she's still with us. Sometimes, people who remembered her when she first arrived and saw the changes in her behavior would compliment us on how much we'd changed her. But we didn't change her. All we did was give Blossom our love and a safe place to be herself. She brought us such joy. She was pure love.