Baxter’s Humble Beginnings

A lot of you have been following Baxter since he has been in my home, and many of you knew him from his stay at Jasmine’s House. A few of you even knew him when he was at MCHS. If you haven’t been following him since day one, it’s hard to appreciate how far he has come – even for me. He may seem like your average happy-go-lucky pibble, but his story started much differently than that.

I mentioned in my initial post about Baxter that he had a rough past. He came in to the shelter in June as a stray, like many other dogs do. He, however, was different. Half of his body was bald, and he had wounds all over his head and back. He was so scared he wouldn’t even walk – he only crawled and cowered. People had to carry him to and from his kennel to go outside. He was unsure about humans, but you could tell he wanted so bad to get affection. Once he realized we meant no harm, he would find shelter and comfort in the arms of those who offered it.

He didn't even want to walk when he first got to MCHS. Photo courtesy of Big Bruno.

A lot of this isn't the wounds, it's just the mange. Still hurts my heart. Photo courtesy of Big Bruno.

Because of how sweet and shy he was, many people at the shelter took a special liking to Baxter. We have lots of extremely dedicated volunteers who care deeply for our animals, and one special volunteer seemed to take Baxter under his wing. “Big Bruno”, as he is called, went out of his way to get to know Baxter while he was at the shelter. He and the rest of the kennel staff and volunteers helped Baxter find more trust in humans, which let him grow emotionally stronger.

Terrified Bax, but you can still see a little tail wag there. Photo courtesy of Big Bruno.

Photo courtesy of Big Bruno.

Big Bruno took a video of Baxter when he was at the shelter. I had seen it a few times over the summer, before I ever knew Baxter personally. Now, after bringing this dog into my home and my heart, this video is hard for me to watch. To see Baxter so scared, looking so neglected; it breaks my heart into a million pieces. Luckily there is a happy ending. Here is the video.

Despite the extra love and TLC MCHS’s staff and volunteers were pouring out to Baxter, it was clear the shelter environment was no good for him. A few foster homes fell through, and finally Jasmine’s House stepped up to take on this “project” dog and all of his emotional and physical baggage. For that, I thank them from the bottom of my hearts.

Baxter’s baldness turned out to be Demodex mange, something easily treated. Slowly his wounds healed and his hair started to grow back. As his health bounced back, so did his confidence and appreciation for people. A few months went by and he still had the “I have to get to know you before I love on you” attitude, and that was what I was expecting when I went to visit him for the first time at Jasmine’s House. Instead, I got a bouncing, waggy, biggest-smile-ever pit bull scrambling to kiss my face. Can you say “pleasantly surprised”? CK Bax had come a long way from the thin, mangy dog he walked into MCHS as.

Baxter showed us all how resilient he is when he left his past behind him and learned how to be a dog again. With every milestone – being comfortable with strangers, learning to not be terrified of the car, mastering the stairs – he exemplifies the ability that dogs have to move forward, move on, and forget the past. I think as humans, most of us want to be able to do this: live only in the present moment without bearing the burden of the past. It’s a lesson we should all take from our dogs.

Comeback Kid Baxter isn’t named “Comeback Kid” for nothing; he truly overcame whatever dark upbringing he had and is now a shining monument to underdogs everywhere. And now…. he is happy. He is confident. He is outgoing.  He is a love bug. He is a goofball. Most of all, he is ready for his forever home!

27 thoughts on “Baxter’s Humble Beginnings

  1. The courage of dogs like Baxter is truly inspiring. We’ll never know everything he has seen and experienced. It’s incredible how quickly he has bounced back. His new family is going to be very lucky to get to know him! Thank you very much for helping him along this leg of his journey.

  2. Baxter sure has come a long way. It is incredibly difficult to see any animal suffering with the kind of neglect that Baxter obviously was, but fortunately things are looking way up for him. His new family, whoever they are, will be very lucky to get him!

  3. I have to admit I’m not brave enough to watch that video. I’m already crying. Whenever I read stories like this, I’m sickened to my core by people’s neglect and abuse of animals. And then I’m filled with hope by the good souls who turn a dog’s life around. Thank you for being an integral player in Baxter’s beautiful, inspiring story.

  4. Sherry

    Wow – I ran the gamut of emotions reading Baxter’s story ranging from anger at his previous “master”, to sadness (lots of tears) at how crawled, but thankfully happiness that he’s come out of his shell and thrived. Yay Jasmine’s House!

  5. Sarah

    As I sit here reading this while on a business trip, my heart is breaking after missing my rescued princess after only 3 days!! Juliana, how will you ever be able to give up Bax if you need to? You two were obviously meant to find each other and you’re the most perfect and only forever momma he will ever need!! :-)

  6. Janet in Cambridge

    Oh, my, Baxter, you have come sooo far. You remind me of Cherry of the Vicktory Dogs who would walk close to the ground when he first got to Best Friends. Now he’s a happy, confident dog who runs around, just like you. I’m so glad to see that you can trust people.

  7. lindsay mihalcik

    He looks so good! thank you for helping him on his journey to finding his forever family and not letting his baggage and past get in the way!

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