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Tabitha’s Journey

A letter from Tabitha’s adopters:


We are the “parents” of Tabitha, who was the beneficiary of your “Day of Giving” in December 2014.

I’m writing today so that those who gave so generously to help her will know what has become of this special little puppy.

Bob got to know Tabby when he was volunteering at the shelter and was immediately impressed with her sweet and loving disposition, despite the broken right hip she had upon arrival in NJ and what was must have been a very rough start in life as a “Sato” in Puerto Rico.

It all started when Bob saw the sign on her cage, “Please be very careful with me, I have a broken hip.”

When Tabby returned to the shelter after her successful surgery, underwritten by your generous donors and performed by Dr. Christopher Campbell at Oakhurst Vet Clinic, she needed a foster home right away.  She needed to be able to move around and not favor her right hip and become a “three legged” dog.  On December 10, Bob carried her in to our home and, as it turns out, our hearts.

Tabby was just 16 weeks old and 13 pounds when she arrived.  Her ribs could be seen through her black fur.  She walked willingly, but needed help to do more.  Bob moved her repaired hip through full range of motion several times a day.  We devised games to get her to bear weight on her hip.  Hopping over our legs to get to tennis balls turned in to puppy hockey, with her “stopping” a tennis ball better than any NHL goalie.  She was 100% house trained in about two days.

Tabby put on about a pound a week and discovered a love for cheese and bacon.   Over the holidays, she got lots of hugs and attention from visitors.  On Christmas Eve, she curled up under the dining room table for a long snooze.  By New Year ’s Day, she was running on the beach and taking a very quick dip in the ocean.

Before the end of January, we realized we could never give Tabby back and she’s now ours forever.  This was not until there was a discussion about her name.

Bob:  We have to change her name.  We can’t call her Tabby.  That’s a cat’s name.  Me:  We can’t change her name now, she knows it.  Bob:  No, she doesn’t.  Me:  Yes, she does.  Hey, Tabby?  Tabby:  Whips her head around as if to say, “Yes?”  That settled that.

Tabby is thriving and now, almost a year after she joined our little family, weighs almost 50 pounds and has a slick, shiny, seal-like black coat.  She has three beds around the house and a basket of toys, but most often sleeps between us.  There is usually a stash of bully sticks for her on top of the refrigerator and some bones from the butcher in the freezer.

In the morning, she likes to lie in a patch of sunlight and gives herself a big stretch on the staircase before taking on the day  – she is about five feet long all stretched out.

She and Bob go to the dog park at Thompson Park almost every day. She starts yipping when the car pulls in the gates.  She likes every dog and every person she meets and frequently disengages from the dog scrums to poke people with her wet nose, asking for some pats and attention.

Tabby and I walk about an hour every night and she has an assortment of dog and human friends in the neighborhood.  Even the children who are timid around dogs know that Tabby is their friend.  She enjoys sitting in the front yard, watching the world go by.  Passersby marvel at her discipline in staying in her own space.  She does bark when she sees her friend Stella, the basset hound mix, or Harley, the big yellow lab, but with permission from Bob, she gallops over to say hello and then resumes guarding the house.

Her manners are thanks to Carolyn O’Connell, who helped us to train her throughout the spring and summer.  Tabby is now about 14 months old and it is our hope that when she matures and tempers some of her occasional over the top exuberance for life, she will be a great therapy dog.   I think she believes that she must stop and say hello to every person she sees or she will offend then.

Tabby is probably the best dog in the world in the car.  She is usually curled up and half asleep by the time we get to the end of the block.  If we stop for gas, she does bark to warn the attendants not to make any trouble.  However, if they say a kind word toward her, she changes to hand-licking mode quickly.

She makes sure that no squirrels or rabbits get in the yard without warning us.  No telling how dangerous they could be.  She is great at walking off leash on the beach or in the woods and does not stray far.  This past weekend, she discovered how much fun it is to run in to a patch of high grass and see birds fly out!  Don’t worry, she cannot jump high enough or run fast enough to hurt a bird.

Tabby is a very affectionate and loving dog.  She is very happy to have anyone touch her silky ears and leans up against you to signal she would like a hug now, please.  She plops her head right down in your lap if she’d like some attention and she does not go upstairs to bed at night until everyone downstairs has retired for the night.  She has a compromise position at the top of the stairs where she can monitor people both up and down stairs.

Her gait is a little crooked at times due to her hip, but she runs as fast as she can to greet us after even a short absence to the grocery store.  If we’ve been gone for more than a day and she’s with her wonderful babysitter, Suzanne D’Ambrose, she’s yipping and yelping and trembling with excitement to see us and won’t stop until you have hugged her tight.

We are so thankful to you for giving Tabby another chance at life and for your supporters in ensuring she got the best possible care when she really needed it.  Be assured that she is doing her best to pay you back with her unbridled enthusiasm for life and a kind, loving outlook toward everyone she meets.

Robert Murphy & Ellen Harvey


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