My first dog was a mutt (Chow, German Shepard, Labrador) named Lissee. She was found by my mother severely beaten and abandon at a shelter. My mom had visited the shelter not intending to get a dog but Lissee only had a day left to live. My mother just didn't have it in her heart to leave without her. Upon arriving home Lissee stayed up for 24 hrs shivering with her back to the wall so she could keep an eye out for any potential threats. It was heart-wrenching to see first hand an animal who's confidence in humans had been so horribly shattered she couldn't trust enough to close her eyes for any period of time. My dad couldn't even be in the same room with her she was so frightened of males. He even had to stop wearing hats because it triggered the memory of her traumatic past. It took a lot of love and patience to get Lissee to trust again, but when she did their was no end to her gratitude and affection. She had a hard start to life and my family and I tried to give her the life she should have had for the beginning. Lissee was such a wonderful dog. She loved to played tag with my brother and I in the yard, and always knew to stop before the play growling and mouthing got aggressive. We had rabbits at the time and accidentally left the cage open one day only to come back and find Lissee in the small cage with the rabbit. She had coupled it between her paws where she proceeded to lick and mother it. Later when the same rabbit had bunnies she look over the litter as the mother. She licked every bunny clean and make sure they were well protected. Lissee loved to run and explore the woods and beach. She actually smiled with her teeth bared and lip raised when she was happy, she crossed her paws when she laid down, and she had a pink and black spotted tongue. Lissee gave the best hugs and always knew when someone needed comforting. If I was sitting down she would come up to me and place her head on my shoulder, nuzzle me and just stay like that until I moved. As fate would have it Lissee started and ended her life in tragedy. It's still hard to comprehend how one dog can experience so much physical and emotional pain. I feel as though it was my sole responsibility to make sure she had a good life. As Lissee got older she became stiff in her hind legs. We took her to the vet and discovered she had the beginning stages of hip displasia. She managed to get around for the next couple years and she ran through the pastures to her hearts content. One day she came home whimpering with blood matted into her haunches. We cleaned her up and didn't find much of a wound. Two days later she couldn't even get out of bed. Worried we quickly rushed her to the vet where she had x-rays taken. The vet found a .22 bullet lodged in her hips and hip sockets that were completely eroded away. The vet said he had never seen a living dog with such severe hip displasia. We believe it was our neighbor that shot her but we could never prove anything. Lissee was in so much pain she had to be put down immediately. My mom and I cried for days because one of our closest family members had been violently ripped away from us. But more importantly because Lissee didn't die peacefully in her sleep. The last two days of Lissee's life were spent the same way the first two years were- in fear and pain. To this very day my mom and I still marvel and how much Lissee loved life. How else can a dog without hip sockets run?
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