“It was genuinely miraculous … I fully cried.”
When Jennifer Lee adopted Maggie from Seattle Humane, she wasn’t sure if the pittie, who’d been labeled as “very reactive,” would ever be able to play with another dog.So when Lee saw Maggie running around, joyfully interacting with a new friend, she was moved to tears.
“It was genuinely miraculous,” Lee told The Dodo. “I fully cried.”You can watch that moment here:At the time of her adoption in 2019, Maggie had been the humane society’s longest resident. This was due, in large part, to her reactive personality.
Maggie loved humans, but she was very defensive around other dogs, often growling and barking at them.Lee thought Maggie’s reactions probably weren’t based out of malice, but rather out of fear, and she felt compelled to give the unique girl a loving home.
“I knew I was in for a ride, but I also knew [Maggie] deserved love and a home just as much as the next dog,” Lee said.For a long time, Lee, in an effort to avoid other dogs, only took Maggie on walks at night.Slowly, Lee implemented exposure walks,
during which Maggie was allowed to sniff around houses that had dogs, familiarizing herself with their scent.“She would see or hear the dog, react and then I would redirect her attention to me,” Lee said. “I used positive reinforcement-only training to
help her understand that she was safe and dogs were safe.”After enrolling Maggie in a behavioral assessment to confirm that her reactions were fear-based, Lee began allowing more dog exposure. Eventually, Maggie began to feel comfortable walking
near another dog while on a leash. For three years, this was as far as Maggie would go.But one day, Maggie met a dog named Nobi. Suddenly, her fears went away.“[Maggie] started showing signs of wanting to play with her,” Lee said.
“We went to a big open space and let the two off-leash together. Maggie engaged in genuine, healthy play with her friend! [They] just adore each other.”Soon, Maggie met a few more dogs
who she was comfortable playing with.These days, Maggie is still working hard to face her fears. But with each new friend, the once solitary pittie proves that it’s never too late to learn to trust.