Most dogs find it tough to adjust to life at a shelter, and this was the case for Rio, a golden retriever mix puppy who had been raised in a loving environment. Despite being only 10 years old, Rio seemed to be on the verge of giving up as he withdrew from everything around him, remaining glued to the shelter wall. The shelter staff noticed that Rio’s behavior was not normal – he refused to eat, recoiled from any human interaction, and steadfastly stayed put against the wall.
Rio was seen in a state of despair, seeming to have given up and hiding himself away in a corner for the entire duration. The staff at Detroit Animal Care and Control realized that they had to take action quickly before losing Rio forever and contacted Detroit Dog Rescue (DDR). Kristina Millman-Rinaldi, Executive Director of DDR, explained that their organization takes on the toughest shelter cases, including dogs that are struggling with medical and mental health issues or those that are shutting down or showing signs of neurosis from being confined in kennels. Dogs are highly perceptive and sensitive creatures that experience everything around them just like humans do, and this is often overlooked by people.
Before arriving at DDR, Rio was known as the most melancholic dog in Detroit and his demeanor did not improve upon arrival. Kristin recalled how when she first approached him, he refused to acknowledge her or anyone else, huddling in a corner and resisting any attempts to connect with him. It was clear that Rio was finding it difficult to let go of his past experiences.
After realizing the urgency of finding a foster family for Rio to increase his chances of survival and restore some form of normalcy in his life, she made a call. Despite the challenges that came with adopting an elderly dog like Rio, DDR volunteer Ryan Callahan and Tashia didn’t hesitate to step up and provide him with a loving home.
According to Corey, everything fell perfectly into place – the dog, the environment, and the timing were all just right. Rio needed them, and they could offer him the personalized care that he deserved. One snowy night before Valentine’s Day, Ryan and his spouse decided to adopt Rio from the shelter and bring him to their home. They did everything possible to make sure that Rio felt at ease, including turning Ryan’s office into his very own space.
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