Article: Baby Halle’s Story: From Horror to Healing
By Janet Pfeiffer
The dog was “too old,” so they threw her away. That’s when I found her, huddled in a cage at an animal shelter.
It was October of 2002. I was on another routine visit to the animal shelter to drop off supplies when I saw Baby Halle. I bent down by the cage and called her over. As she approached, her body language clearly indicated that she had been abused. I put my hand near the bars of the cage. She licked my finger and wrapped her paw around my arm, tugging with all her might. A gut-wrenching cry emanated from her soul in a desperate plea for me to save her. I knew instantly that I wanted to take her home with me.
From the moment that the animal shelter released her to me for adoption, Baby Halle clung to me for dear life. It wasn’t easy driving with a 40-pound canine sitting in my lap, her arms wrapped tightly around my neck. Yet somehow, we made it home safely.
The first time that I took Halle for a walk, her paws bled. Her footpads were as pink as a newborn puppy’s; she had never been outside. Leaves falling from the trees terrified her. At home, loud noises caused her to flee, seeking refuge under my bed.
A visit to my vet revealed some disturbing news: Her coat was brittle and had some hot spots and other raw and bleeding areas. The vet said that the spots were the result of Halle’s anxiety and the poor living conditions that she had endured. Specialty dog food helped heal the wounds significantly, but because Halle’s immune system was compromised, we were frequent visitors to the vet’s office.
An oral exam revealed that Halle’s front teeth were mere brown stubbles, gnawed down to the gumline from trying desperately to free herself from her steel prison for years. Baby Halle, as I named her, was a victim of animal testing.
For seven years, Baby Halle suffered in isolation, living alone in a barren cage in a laboratory. Like millions of other animals around the world, she had been subjected to horrible, useless experiments that were conducted under the guise of science. Her only human contact was with the laboratory technicians who pulled her out of her cage each time it was her turn to be used in a test. She suffered extensive damage-both mentally and physically-as a result of her long, unforgiving ordeal behind closed doors.
Today Baby Halle is a very nervous and timid dog-friendly but cautious-and she’s never far from my side. As I sit typing in my office, she comes and seeks me out every 10 minutes. I stop working, join her on the floor and hold her in my lap and stroke her, whispering words of reassurance. She groans, letting me know that she feels safe and loved. This is the only time that she is ever truly relaxed. She soon returns to my other dogs in the family room only to repeat this behavior a few minutes later.
Baby Halle has made remarkable progress since she’s been here. I’ve tried to compensate for the years of horror that she endured, but sadly, she will never fully recover or forget. On some level, she relives the nightmare every day.
I will continue to advocate against testing on animals. And I will also be willing to adopt another animal who has this same type of history. I have never had a more gratifying experience in my life or a more loving and loyal dog than my Baby Halle.
Janet Pfeiffer, a motivational speaker and the award-winning author of The Secret Side of Anger, is a leader in the field of anger management and conflict resolution. Her unique approach has helped thousands heal their anger and find inner peace. Janet has generously agreed to donate $3 to PETA for each copy of her book, The Secret Side of Anger, purchased before June 27, 2010, through this link. Be sure to include “Code PETA610? on the shopping-cart page.
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