Tala means “wild wolf,” but despite her name, our girl Tala is much more of a lap dog than her ancestors would have been. A purebred German Shepherd, the start of Tala’s story is not as beautiful as she is. Tala was restrictively being used for breeding purposes. She didn’t have a warm bed, didn’t receive loving cuddles, and was not seen as a part of a family. To her owners, she was seen as less of a loyal companion and more as a walking dollar amount.
When her owners began to work through a divorce, Tala was caught in the middle. Her companion was shot by the male owner for unknown reasons, leaving Tala as the next target; and when the couple found out she was heartworm positive, it took a world of convincing to prevent her from the same fate. The wife made a last-ditch case for Tala, telling her husband it would upset their kids if he killed Tala before Christmas.
Luckily, Tala made it to APA! before Santa made his rounds. Rattled from her past home life, APA! made it a priority to get this girl into a foster home, where she could have the time and space to heal physically and emotionally.
Tom and his family were willing to give Tala all the time she needed. “We wanted to do something for an unfortunate animal over Christmas, and I read about Tala on the website,” recalls Tom. “I knew she was a great dog when I picked her up from APA!, but she became [an irreplaceable] part of our family over the three weeks that we fostered her.”
Tom’s only anxiety came from Tala’s size – but he soon learned that she was 95 pounds of pure love and affection, particularly towards his three children.
They kept Tala in her crate for the first hour so she could get a feel of her environment, and when they let her out, she showed her true colors: “My youngest boy walked over to her and hugged her. She just sat down and licked his face, and then she walked over by the couch and laid next to the family.” After not knowing what having a real, caring family was like, Tom and his family showed Tala that there were people who loved her and that she was free to love, uninhibited by greed or anger.
Not everyone would have given Tala that chance, but at APA!, we feel so fortunate to have such a compassionate network of foster families. Eventually, Tala’s loving nature led to the happiest kind of failure – a foster failure. The family adopted her in January, and Tala can’t help but show her gratitude every day.
“She is always very gentle with my children but playful at the same time. She talks to you with little barks and moans when she wants things which reminded us of our old German shepherd, Cano,” fondly shares Tom.
His kids make sure Tala has constant attention, and after what she’s been through, she deserves it. “She is just very attentive and vocal. She is funny when she [is let outside]. She walks around and watches the squirrels in the trees and plays games with our other dog.”
From a broken home to her forever home, Tala has had quite the journey. Even now as she deals with lasting health concerns from heartworm, Tom and APA! are working together to push Tala past any final hurdles to living a long, happy life. By giving this Amplify Austin Day, you help change the trajectory of an animal’s life, and set animals like Tala on the right track to love and be loved.