This past week our household celebrated the 1-year anniversary of Nori (formerly Ruby) joining our family. And what a year of love and learning we have had!
Nori spent her first 7 years of life living in an outdoor shelter in Serbia. She had never had a home, nor had she ever experienced having a bond with a human. I've personally spent many years in cat rescue, socializing and working with feral cats, but Nori was the first dog I'd met and brought into my home who was not just nervous, but was completely terrified to be both indoors and with people.
Nori came to Austria (where I'm currently located) from Serbia suffering from chronic ear infections that resulted in pain, itchiness, and her constantly shaking her head. The amazing volunteers at Animal Care Austria arranged to drive Nori the 6 hours from Svilos to Vienna so that Nori could receive the treatment for her ears that she so badly needed. (And, a year later, with regular vet visits, Nori's ears continue to remain infection free and are no longer causing her pain :)
But in addition to needing medical treatment, Nori needed a home. So in November 2020, my dog Gaia and I met Nori at the animal clinic and brought her to our home. Poor Nori was beside herself with fear. Having only very limited experience with humans, she didn't trust them. She looked to Gaia for security and followed her around, but Gaia eventually lost patience with Nori on a few occasions letting her know in a not-very-friendly way that she wanted her space. I tried to provide Nori with love and security, but it was clear that my presence was too overwhelming for her in those early months and only caused Nori more fear and anxiety.
So, as hard as it was to not go and cuddle her, my husband and I gave Nori the space she needed to acclimatize to her new home on her own terms.
Now, a year later, Nori is lying on the couch beside me as I write this story, moving closer to me rather than farther away :) She jumps on the bed in the morning for cuddles and puts her paw on me or nudges me with her nose for more if she's not getting enough.
What is most remarkable about Nori is that NEVER has she shown any sign of aggression towards anyone or anything, ever. She's never growled, barred her teeth or snapped - not even when a bumblebee or mosquito flies past. She just moves away from them wanting no trouble.
Nori embodies pure love and we are *so so so* lucky to have her in our family.
Shannon Falconer is the CEO and co-founder of Because, Animals.