Lila, South Pasadena, CA

Hello, Friends! My name is Lila—mommy tells me it means “dark-haired beauty” in Arabic, and every time somebody stops to tells us how pretty/cute, and/or gorgeous I am (which is quite often), she tells them that I “know it!”

While according to mom I am a very beautiful girl (she often calls me “Lovely Lila”), this would not have happened had it not been for the help of an organization called Poverty’s Pets in Phoenix, AZ. (Note: while I hide my pit well, I am actually an Italian greyhound (IG), black lab, pit mix.)

I was one of five born in the litter, and only one of two that survived. Born into a neglectful and abusive family, my surviving brother was neglected, whereas I was neglected and severely abused (I don’t want to get into details because this note is to make you happy, not sad). I was finally rescued when the “family” lost their home and we were turned loose to fend for ourselves on the streets of Phoenix.

At this point in my life, I was soooooo scared of every human, and it took Poverty’s Pets MONTHS before they caught me on a hot August day—I had literally evaded them for the longest time until I finally collapsed because my body was on the verge of death.

My rescuers took me in and gave me the necessary medical treatment, though they did not expect me to live through the night because of how bad of shape I was in. However, I am a “fighter” and lived through the night, and the next, and the next. It was a long process to physically recover, but emotionally recovering is still an on-going process—though I continue to progress at a very fast rate!

I eventually bonded with my foster mom and four-legged foster siblings, but would NOT let another two-legged person touch me…they simply terrified me! When my now mom inquired about me, she received two 20-minute phone calls from Poverty’s Pets discussing all my issues at length, her response was, “I am currently the volunteer basketball coach of 10 crazy little seven and eight boys, I have the patience of a saint! And besides, dogs and babies LOVE me!”

She pushed for a visit saying, “It won’t hurt to meet her.” However, despite the fact that “dogs and babies love her,” she showed up with toys and treats…just in case…

During her visit, I was sooooo scared of her!!! And after an hour walk, she was sitting in the grass with her feet out in front of her, talking to my rescuer/foster mom, debating if she wanted to take on such a challenging dog. Our ONLY true interaction during this visit was during the time my mommy was sitting in the grass…I came up to her and licked her big toe…and walked away.

While this may not seem significant to most, this moment was what made her decide to take me on as her own! Because two days prior, she had gotten out of a boot and a cast (she had broken the toe I licked) and in that moment she recognized that I knew what was broken with her and consequently, she wanted to give me the chance to heal what was broken with me.

The first few weeks and months were a challenge! I went from having a doggie door at my foster and being able to hide behind my foster siblings, to having some strange lady standing over me while I was on a leash on our daily walks—I tended to use the corner of the living room for “relief” over the grass on our walks. Mommy kept telling me how expensive this thing called “Nature’s Miracle” was, yet she kept buying it by the gallon to clean up after me!

I eventually bonded with mommy and when I did, the Nature’s Miracle bill ceased! But I was still VERY SLOW in even getting near anyone else. Mommy did and continues to push my limits, and now while I am still a bit shy and prefer to approach people on my own terms, I allow people to pet me and I LOVE going to lunch, dinner, or wherever I possibly can with mommy and her friends!

In fact, I’ve been tackled by these little beings called toddlers on numerous occasions, and don’t mind! I’ve also ridden in elevators full of people without reacting, and have mastered this thing called an “escalator.” These other people, called adults, seem to always give me treats and compliment how cute I am!

While I may still be a bit shy with people, I am AMAZING with other dogs and animals, but don’t always realize that not all doggies like me (and mommy takes great care in protecting me from those dogs that are not friendly). Heck, before her passing, I even made friends with a little pet rat named “Ratty Pants.” I knew she was ill, so I’d just lick her as she curled up in my haunches—I wanted to let her know that I loved her and would protect her.

Mommy tells me how happy I make her every single morning and takes me on as many adventures as possible to push my limits and continue to get me to open up. Mommy and I have been together for four and a half years now and on our four-year anniversary, we took a photo that has me thinking about truly transitioning from a rescued puppy to a rescue puppy!

Despite being with mommy for so long now, I continue to amaze her and her friends with my progress—I never seem to plateau! While becoming a therapy dog may be a bit out of reach, mommy and I are hoping that one day I will receive my K-9 good citizen award—this being a testament to the progress I have made!

Thanks to my rescuers and all those who have shown me love and patience over the years! I am happy, I am healthy, I am incredibly intelligent, I am goofy and playful beyond imagination, and I’m clumsy (which makes mommy laugh). Basically, I’m what mommy calls “the whole package.” 🙂

To those of you who may hesitate to take on a shy/fearful dog, I encourage you to give them a chance! Us shy dogs oftentimes have more love to give than you could even anticipate/imagine! We just need someone(s) we love and trust to open up to.

Goooooo shy doggies!


Parent: Rachel