A Boy and His Dog – Joy & the Walters

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.” – Robert Benchley

Some dogs come into your life like a slow burn – it takes them awhile to win you over. Others capture your heart immediately…Joy is such a dog.

The photo of her anxiously huddled in the corner of her kennel at the shelter was too much to be ignored. It was almost like she was calling to our hearts. Joy came to stay at The Canine Healing Project in December of 2019, and she truly lived up to her name while she was with us.

Other than the fact that she was seized from a home for an unknown, abuse-related reason, we know nothing of Joy’s background before she was brought into our care. Her former situation had left her scared and untrusting of people. For the first week or two, she would push herself against the back of her suite wall whenever someone would come in to see her. We were worried that it would take a very long time for her to recover. Were we ever wrong.

Within a very short time, Joy transformed into a completely different dog. The once shivering, pitiful form in the corner became an enthusiastic and loving girl who did not understand the word “NO” when it came to kisses. Further training helped her outgrow some bad habits she had formed in the past. Soon, she was constantly playing in the yard with other dogs and enjoying time with her best bud, Mumford.

Now, the challenge was finding the right home for this little, brown bundle of love. We knew she was special, and she deserved only the best.

Enter the Walters family. Charlie and Dorothee are a fun-loving, adventurous couple with one sweet, energetic son named Sebastian. They had been looking for a doggie companion for Seb for a few months when they were pointed in the direction of The Canine Healing Project. Seb immediately picked out his two favorites from the photos on our website – Joy and Hippo. As Hippo would not have been the best fit for a family with a small child, they set their sights on little Joy.

We were so happy when we received the call that they were interested in adopting her. Before they even put in their application, we had a very good feeling about them. In April, Joy became a permanent member of the Walters family.

Now, Joy spends her days lounging in her big back yard, playing with her new human brother and going on hikes. She could not be a better fit for them, and they for her. Charlie is currently finishing up his PhD in Special Education at The University of South Carolina. Despite the obvious demands this has on his schedule, he makes sure to spend quality time with his family and Joy. Dorothee is currently a stay-at-home mother and owns a face-painting business. Her flexible schedule allows her to give Joy lots of stimulation and interaction throughout the day.

The Walters love how physically affectionate Joy can be. Whether it’s just a simple paw on the leg, asking them to pet her, or her love for Sebastian’s constant hugs around her neck, Joy fits into the mold of their family as if she’s always been there. They describe her as, “A furry, smiling dog-shadow that follows you around…a friend to Sebastian.” The picture of “a boy and his dog” is classic, and it is beautiful to see in real life.

It is never easy for us to give up the dogs in our program, but nothing equals the happiness we feel when they find the perfect home.