Adoption Tails - All You Need Is Love! Kade's Story

21 Oct 2014 | by | Posted in: Adoption

Kade at the shelter

In the course of life, one can either overcome obstacles by including more things and people into their life or excluding them. There’s something to be said of the former formula; in animal welfare, I see a lot of this and have come to think of it as my chosen way. 

Late this June, when the waning summer and the waxing monsoon were engaged in their unpredictable dance, one of the animal welfare workers received a call from a man who wanted to find out how he could buy a beagle puppy. Having worked very closely with laboratory rescued beagles, the welfare worker explained patiently, what it took to bring up a beagle and what the family would have to watch out for, if buying a dog was their choice. She encouraged Sanjay, the gentleman on the other end of the line, to visit the shelter with an open mind and see how he felt. 

kade sanjay sudhir

Within the week, Sanjay and his partner, Sudhir, visited the adoption centre. We were soon to experience first-hand just how terrified of dogs they were. Sanjay had never touched a dog before although he seemed to have genuine affection, albeit from afar. Sudhir was a different story: he didn’t even like the idea of living with an animal. Sanjay sat on a chair with his feet up, to avoid the nose of an unsuspecting puppy and Sudhir sat rooted to the spot, unable to move. So this was just a long-nurtured dream of Sanjay’s that the couple were now trying to honour. I remember rolling my mind’s eyes and thinking, “This is never going to work. Why are they kidding themselves?” 

More fool I. Sanjay and Sudhir were not going to give up. They proceeded to visit the centre regularly, being careful to spend time only with the dogs we allowed them near, ones that wouldn’t be alarmed by their fear, ones they in turn wouldn’t feel threatened by. 

Meanwhile, Kade, a young Labrador-INdog cross, had been brought to us by some people who found him wandering the streets looking emaciated and lost. He had a pronounced limp in his left hind leg from a fracture that had already started to set. Kade was one of those dogs you can’t really call a “rescue”, because being around him is so therapeutic, you feel like he’s rescued you. We didn’t want to put him in the main area with all the other dogs just yet, because he was easily bullied and that limp wasn’t helping him get away quickly enough from dogs he wanted to avoid. So Kade came to stay in the office room till he was strong (and brave) enough to hang out with the other dogs.

We had no way of knowing he’d not only turn into the best mascot the centre could dream of, but convert two very scared men into hard-core dog lovers. Over the weeks, Kade gently wormed his way into the hearts of the two men, cheerfully belching his way through what was beginning to look like an adoption after all. Whilst Kade was working his charm, the welfare workers coached Sanjay and Sudhir, training them to understand dog-speak and figure out what it entails to adopt a dog.


On July 16th, Kade went home with a limp and a wag in his tail. He quickly learnt his way around the house, learning to do his business outdoors, training the men to give him treats when he looked at them with his warm, brown eyes, and generally being the clown that we knew he was.

Today, Kade has lost his limp and fattened up. What’s more, his daddies are now fostering another dog, a young German Shepherd called Emily who was tied up all her life. Kade became the perfect therapy dog and has successfully taught Emily how to chew on a shoe and steal treats. 

There’s a lesson in here for all of us. About true love and the things you will do for the most important person in your life. About learning to understand and love something you were always afraid of, for no reason. About making room in your heart for an out-of-luck abandoned animal. Finally, about doing all this with grace, will power and the genuine desire to change a life for the better.

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