This will take lots of patience and plenty of time. Teya is so disturbed, she won’t even make eye contact with me. This is something I’ve never dealt with before and it’s exhausting in that I’m worried about her 24/7. I worked in the shop most of the day so she knew I was nearby but not “in her face”.

I tried to win her over with treats and yummy food until she had violent diarrhea – I should have known better. But since the puppies lived here for 5 weeks, I’m good at cleaning up.

See how she buries her head in the dog bed? I try to approach quietly and pet her very lightly – I have a chair right by the dog bed. I just want her to know I’m there.

So this is Day 2 – I’m keeping a journal so I’ll know how soon to expect change the next time I get an abused dog to care for. I can hardly wait for her to wag her tail!

Here is one small project I quilted today. I made it soooo long ago and don’t remember if these measurements are someones’s pattern but the neat thing about this block is that there is only one measurement – 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″. Two of these blocks in a positive negative arrangement make up 1 block, 6″ x 8″.

I’m going to dig out my 1-1/2″ strips and cut this in scrap.

Here are the Dirty Dozen quilts today.

We had a couple quilts in this book from many years ago – thanks, Rhonda. Here’s our group picture – there’s Sylvia in the front row. Can you find Connie and me?

Say a little prayer for Teya that she will start to trust me.

72 thoughts on “Teya

  1. Ann in Va

    Thank you for caring for her. It will take time, but the reward will be so great. You are the best!

  2. Freda In Oxford, AL

    Every time I woke up last night i saw Jo hiding in her bed ! This morning I thought about a “Thunder Shirt” ! You can look on the Internet and get some Ideas about them! I’m sure you have heard about them! I think it would be easy to make a simple one! Jo could wear it all the time &/or maybe when she goes for a walk ! She seems to like her bed & a doggy shirt would might give her some comfort too! Just a thought to consider!

  3. Deb F

    So sad that Teya/Jo was treated so badly. She couldn’t choose a better family to be with. You just wish she knew that immediately. She will learn to trust and be happy once again. Bless you for taking care of her.

  4. Pat Smith

    I saw Teya/Jo’s picture just as we were leaving for church and was so sickened at her misery. I thought Nala looked pretty bad when she first came to you,, but Jo has clearly had worse experiences even than Nala. This kind of work with animals is some of the most important there is. I was so interested in everyone’s words of wisdom from their experiences working with and loving rescues. Terry says if anyone can be successful helping this dog it’s you and I agree.

  5. Polly Perkins

    I had a stray feral mama appear with kittens. She was tame but the kittens were not (about 6 weeks old when they appeared). I worked on taming the kittens. One of them was very very afraid of me and would not look me in the eye. It took weeks to get him to play but he would not look at me or let me touch him. I brought them in and he stayed in a room and eventually came out to eat and play. It took weeks for me to touch him. It took months for him to look me in the eye. He is now Bob’s lap cat and loves us but it is very afraid of strangers. Be still. Be patient. She was not abused for a minute or a day. It takes a long time for trust to develop. Poor baby. If anyone can do this it would be you.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Polly Perkins – such a great story about Bob’s lap cat! I have lots of time to devote to Jo and I can be very patient when it comes to animals – people, not so much! I was hoping to get her outside today for some fresh air but I guess that’s not going to happen. I wish she’d look at me.

  6. Rosie Westerhold

    Oh, Mary. I feel for you and Teya/Jo. The last 3 dogs we’ve had have been rescues. Our first rescue died in January at the age of 12. We got her when she was about 2. She had been in a no-kill shelter for over a year. She had been adopted once, but returned because she killed birds and chickens! Since we had neither of those, she was perfect to join our family. We had a male Chow Chow, and he and the new female became the BEST friends. She was an easy adoption/rescue. When our male Chow died suddenly, we were able to rescue/adopt a female Chow that the emergency vet was trying to place. She was about 9 months old, and had been rescued by the vet’s mother at 6 weeks of age. We have no idea what happened to her from 6 weeks to 9 months of age, but she was TERRIFIED of people!!! She was not aggressive at all, just afraid of human touch. She had bonded, sort of, with the vet, but you could see the fear when we tried to approach her at our first meeting. I got down on the floor, and just kept talking to her, and creeping towards her. She had retreated to a corner, but I just kept talking to her, and moving ever so slowly towards her. You could see the terror in her eyes as I finally reached to touch her. She accepted that touch simply because there was nowhere else for her to go, but she wasn’t happy about it. But, there was no growling or lashing out, so we were encouraged. She came to visit at our house a few days later to see how she and our other female would interact. No growling, no aggression, so we took that as a good sign. She came to live with us about 7 years ago. However, it took TWO YEARS before we could actually reach out and TOUCH her easily. We renamed her from Sable to Sadie. And, still, now, she will accept pets on her own terms. She is a beautiful, and affectionate dog when she wants to be, but it truly is when she wants affection. She was very treat-motivated so that was how I bonded with her. I worked with her daily on gaining her trust through treats. It took over a week to “catch” her so I could take her to our own vet to get checked out. Once she was on a leash, she was fine. It just took a bit to get close to her to put the leash on. Again, she was treat-motivated so that worked for us. We have since adopted a puppy mill rescue, a lovely Pomeranian, at the age of about 4 when we got her. She is now about 11, (she didn’t even have a name when we brought her home!) and she and Sadie tolerate one another. We think Sadie was never socialized as a puppy, and that is why she is so fearful of things. And she doesn’t really know how to play which I find so sad. She had all the toys we could give her, but she never truly played with them or with our other dog. Yet, she is such a good dog. Never destructive, easily toilet-trained, easily trained to sit and come (when SHE wants to come),and a very gently disposition and personality. It was very frustrating to have this beautiful dog who we wanted to shower with affection and love, but it was so hard for her to accept it. Since our oldest dog passed, Sadie seems to have come in to her own. Becoming more affectionate and willing to accept love from us. Even ASKING for pets and affection. I couldn’t from her at all when we got her, now, after 7 years, I can groom MOST of her. She LOVES to go for walks and will sit patiently while I get her leash hooked on, she LOVES to ride in the car, but she does not do well at the vet office. They traumatized her on one of her early visits so we have to muzzle her and she needs to be examined outside because being in an exam room just TERRIFIES her. I have worked with her LOTS since COVID to be able to tolerate someone touching her feet and letting me look in her mouth. She has come a long way, but it took time and patience. If ANYONE came make Teya/Jo come around, it would be you. Our Sadie couldn’t even be in the same room with us initially. She would get up and move to another place if we got up to walk to the kitchen or bathroom. Gradually, she can be physically in the room where we are, and doesn’t move when we move around. I now have to step over her at times because she WON’T move when I need to go to other rooms. HUGE progress from 7 years ago, and that has only been within the past year or 2.

    So, hang in there, Mary. You are patient and loving, and Teya/Jo will learn to love and trust you. It just takes time. Not knowing exactly how she was treated in the past will always be one of the mysteries. Just continue to love her, talk to her, reassure her, read to her. You are MUCH more patient than I was, but think of the reward when that dog begins to trust and love again. It is truly something you will never forget. Look what you did for Nala and her puppies. You can do it with Jo, too. We will all be cheering you on!! Keep us posted on your progress. I can’t wait until I see Jo’s face, not hidden in the bed. It will happen. She just needs time, and who knows how much time she will need? I know you won’t give up on her.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Rosie – THANK YOU! I honestly had no idea what I was in for when I agreed to take her but I’ve got so much help and support now that I feel certain I can gain Jo’s trust. It’s easy to sit with her and read, sew or just talk to her. And the winter stretches in front of us, doesn’t it?

  7. Susan K in Texas

    I wonder if music would be calming to her. Perhaps some classical or jazz. Something soothing and not loud. Patience and time and unthreatened space. Praying she will be able to discover her true self in your patient loving space.

  8. Jeanine

    I love your quilt, but was looking at it and I think the strips all need to be cut 2.5 x 3.5″, don’t they? It looks like a fun one to make. I like dealing with squares and rectangles rather than triangles.

    I know you will eventually wind over “jo” if you decide on that name. I like it much better than Teya. Blessings on you and Be Still.

  9. Elizabeth Rodgers

    Wow, you and Teya have an army of friends pulling for you both. While we all feels tears for Teya, how about all the love for her here. Finally something in 2020 we can feel good about and help. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Lorraine McGeough

    Prayers go out to you and Teya. This is so sad to see how she hides her face. Was she abused at one time? Her behavior breaks my heart but I think and hope that you will get her to trust you. It just takes a lot of time and patience.
    Good luck to you.

  11. Pat

    I agree with some of the other readers, perhaps a routine and a name change would be helpful. I used to read to my barn cats (some drop offs, some of our own )that would not let us touch them and one by one they got used to me, my voice and overcame their fear.

  12. Connie

    Oh Mary! ( I don’t know what else to say. )
    As Lori said above, you are the right person for her.
    I will keep you both in my prayers.

  13. Lois Ann Johnson

    All of us who read your blog will be anxiously awaiting word on how things are going with “Taya” a.k.a. “Jo.” As I read all of the comments this morning, I think the main idea is “patience” and “don’t rush it.” Blessings to you and all of your animals, Mary. You are such a kind-hearted person and I know that your little dog will begin to thrive in your love and guidance.

  14. Malynda

    I have been a dog foster mom for years. She will come around eventually my last dog I fostered like her I used reverse psychology on 😎 basically I just stayed close to him as much as I could but ignored him. Eventually he couldn’t stand it that I wasn’t giving him direct attention and he started coming up to me. I would pet him slightly but not look at him. Worked like a charm we became best buds

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Malynda – she is in a kennel in another building and won’t walk yet – should I force her to stand if I can? It’s hard to keep her beside me – I think bringing her into the house would be traumatic for her at this point. Maybe I should just wait a bit and then try the house? You have experience with this – anything you can tell me will help me!

  15. Marilyn Miller

    Once again, Mary, bless your heart and hers. It’s so hard to see a pup ‘shut down’ like that, isn’t it!? She has apparently suffered lots of abuse which is just unthinkable. I only hope that once she realizes your good intentions that she can return your love.

  16. Karen in Ohio

    We adopt rescues too. We had just lost our lab after 13 years when I saw 2 dogs featured on the news from the shelter. They were a twofer, the yellow lab had bonded with the black lab at a previous shelter. Sandie had never been socialized as they had both been used as breeding stock. She followed Shadow. Shadow seemed to know that we weren’t going to hurt either of them. Even with that it took 6 months before Sandie would wag even the tip of her tail. Longer than that before she’d look us in the eye.

    My husband worked from home and he did what you are doing. He put the computer on the dining room table where there was space for the dogs to come and go. Eventually Sandie would lie down near his chair. She also found comfort in a crate we put in the living room. We didn’t close the door, but that became her safe place.

    Even with Shadow’s help, it was a labor of love and an extreme exercise of patience at times. Sandie had to have a schedule/routine. Changes from the routine really bothered her. She’s been gone for 3 years now, but when we look back at the 11 years we had her we don’t regret a moment. Thank you for all you do! I’ve been reading your blog for several years, but have never commented. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Karen in Ohio – what a great story about your two labs! I can be patient – I think I can wait her out if it comes to that. I’m hoping today she’ll come outside. Thanks for your comment – I love hearing from all readers! We have so much in common – guess that’s what makes this a great group of like-minded women!

  17. Susan B in VA

    You are such a wonderful, caring person. Teya (soon to be Jo?) is so lucky. She’ll realize it soon enough. You talked about a children’s book — maybe all of this is the beginning of one? Keep that notebook going and then tell the story when you get your happy ending!

  18. Carol in Memphis

    Hang in there with Teya- you are doing all the right things. Love your positive negative quilt ! I have a bin of 1.5” scraps that I am trying to get rid of. Will try this!

  19. Jean

    If that’s just not the saddest picture I’ve seen! Oh the pain that dog must be in! She doesn’t know it yet but she was blessed by being with you. When she becomes comfortable she will probably join you at the hip and not want to leave your side. Prayers for this little one and you too. Perhaps she has never known a loving human touch. I can’t stand it!

  20. Bobbie Woodruff

    Poor baby she looks so sad. Just keep loving her she just needs that right now. Everyone can’t foster Thank you for helping these fur babies who need some love. I hate people who get dogs and break there spirit. It’s so hard for them to trust again. You will win her over.
    I think you are on the 2 nd row with the white sweater with black and Connie next to you?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Bobbie – I have the sweater on with trees on each side and Connie is behind me!

  21. Cathy

    Poor sweet Teya. One can only imagine what she has been through. Makes my blood boil to think about it. I have always said I hope people who abuse animals & children go to the hottest spot in hell.
    You are doing the right things. Just being with her & showing her you mean no harm, letting her get used to your voice & touch will help her so much.
    We have had several cases at our rescue where a dog will finally accept women but not men because, unfortunately, it seems men are the more prevalent abusers. You & Teya will be in my prayers for sure.

  22. Patti

    mary, i commend you for taking in this dog. i rescued a cat about 4 years ago. he wouldn’t come near me for well over a year. i had to leave food out for him and it would be gone in the morning. i figured out he was feral even tho i was told he was from a home. vet agreed with me. 2 yr old and still intact. took care of that first. when i tried to take him for his yearly shots, he almost tore my hand open. it took about 18 months for him to be in the same room with us. he follows me around like a puppy now. i can’t pick him up to put on my lap. the only way is to lay down on my bed and he will lay on my stomach or between my legs (snuggles my feet). have to respect boundaries. your presence, your voice just talking, reading a book outloud, feeding her on a schedule. all this will help her heal. just please don’t rush it or be too eager or over-excited. she may retreat again. bless you both.

  23. Sandy

    Hi Mary, how about Feta? That was the typo error from the first email yesterday, I thought it was a cute name.Its going to be a mission, but so rewarding in the long run.my love to you and teya, best wishes from sandy

  24. Jo in Wyoming

    My husband spent the first week on the floor with all 5 of our rescues. He said we are big and scary to them, so he got down on their level. Maybe that’s why they always liked him more?
    As for names, something will come up. My cars name is Maybelline, my dog, Loretta. I’m not sure I can help with something a little more current!
    It is heartbreaking to see her so afraid. A week from now, she will be totally different.

    Great projects

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jo in Wyoming – can I name her Jo? It has nothing in common with the sound of Teya – what do you think?

  25. Ginny

    Patience, lots of it is the key. I had Cyrus and now Tess who were untouchable. Cyrus came around and Tess is doing so good. She still jumps off the couch when I come near her, she barks at me when we walk in the yard. It’s been 3 months but she bumps me with her nose for pets and likes to sleep in the bed with Arlo, Milo 2 cats and me. Every dog is different so slow and try tiny things to gain her trust, she will come around but it will take time. Don’t give up, you will give her the confidence she needs to enjoy life.
    Love the dog quilt.

  26. Linda Carhill

    Our dog was a rescue. She seemed to bond to me right away following me every where so we figured that she was used to a woman more than a man. She never barked so we thought her “voice box” was removed. 2 weeks later she barked…at the ceiling fan as it was turned on! We’ve loved her for 3 years and she barks at fans, other dogs, and doorbells…and lets us know to go out when she sits up on her haunches and flaps her paws like the “Flying Nun.”

    I applaud what you’re doing. You are finding your “mission.” Bless you!

  27. Deb Harrison

    Except for the white streak, Teya has our sweet Bourbon’s face!!!! He was our first rescue from Sioux City Humane Society in 1971. My Grandma Zimmerman sent us $15.00 for our first Christmas after we were married and we bought Bourbon! He was named after a bottle Tim’s fraternity gave him as a wedding present. We had him almost 14 years. When Teya will let you, give her a hug from Bourbon in Heaven over the Rainbow Bridge.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Deb Harrison – that is such a sweet story about Bourbon and the $15 gift. I will pass on that hug!

  28. Gloria B.

    She knows you’re there and that’s the important thing. As she experiences your kindness her trust will rebuild. Praying that trust builds each day and she’s able to enjoy the great life you’re willing to share with her.

  29. Cheryl

    Try giving her a different name and using it over and over very soothingly. We adopted an abused collie named Shelby. He acted like Teya. He urinated when anyone came into his quiet space. Finally I called him Ben, figuring the Shelby name only brought him fear and mental pain. It was the beginning and worked. Ben was the loyalist dog we1’ve ever had!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cheryl – what an excellent idea!!! I think you’re on to something – I’m changing her name – hmmm, what will it be?

  30. Angie from Baltimore

    Poor baby what she must have dealt with in her life. I have faith that you will make her trust again. Looking at her burying her head into the bed brings tears to my eyes. Bless you for giving her a chance to trust again.

  31. Christina

    Much love and hugs and blessings to you ! This pup sure needs YOU to help her ❤️We adopted an abused dog last January . We are learning so much much about Bailey every day and it’s so sad . He reacts to cussing ( my husband) and crates and a dead moose ( we live in Alaska!) patience and love pays off 💕

  32. Diane Bauer

    Thinking of you and Teya, praying she will warm up to you very quickly!

    I have that book as well—bought it to make Bear With Us on pages 206-215 for Jenica when she was just a baby (she’s now 22!!). It is still a favorite of mine!! I also made Stars and Stripes on pages 52-57. Both are machine pieced and hand quilted—does anyone do that anymore?!?!?

  33. Gayle Shumaker

    Give Teya time. No matter how nice you are she’s not going to trust you for some time. Please try to stop worrying about her, she is picking up on your anxiety which scares her that something is going to happen. Based on her history of abuse she thinks that something is bad. I know how hard it is our first Brittany was a rescue. He had horribly matted fur and severe flea bite dermatitis with missing fur and open sores. He wouldn’t make eye contact. It took awhile but he finally came around. He was a wonderful warm and loving dog. We had him for about 2 years then lost him to an incompetent vet who made a mistake on a dose of medication. So take a deep breath and remember your word. Hugs

  34. susie Q

    I had you all picked out – the gal with short hair and trees on her sweater with Connie right behind you…… and THEN the second picture has names in order…. well I picked right….. have your first book with pictures which helped ALOT.

    Will pray for patience with the dog fostering. She does in deed look forlorn.

  35. Carol from California

    Oh this breaks my heart, I have never seen a dog hide its head like that. I don’t even want to think about what was done to her. God bless you, Mary, sending so much love and prayers your way. If anyone can help, it’s you.

  36. Joan West

    How about a blanket or fuzzy throw in her bed that she can hide her face in.
    Worked for Buddy.

  37. Heather K

    If she gets to the point that she will engage with your dogs, they may help coach her to trust you and other people. Our dogs have helped socialize a lot of our fosters.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Heather K – I did take both of them into the kennel with me and wondered if it would help. I’ll do it again tomorrow. Thanks, Heather!

  38. Betty from Canada

    You will win Teya’s heart because she knows you have a loving heart plus you have lots of treats.

  39. Louise K.

    I think she’ll eventually trust you. She looks so beat down…poor girl. My dog had been abandoned, and was living by herself at a vacant building, sleeping under the building. She was still a pup, but wouldn’t come to anyone. I brought her food, and just sat several feet away waiting, pretending to ignore her. Sometimes it took her 10 minutes to creep up to the food, but I kept waiting. One day, she approached me and sniffed my jacket. Later that day, she came up to me and was all over me, like I was her long-lost person! She followed me to my car, and willingly jumped in the backseat!
    My point is…just be patient. Teya is probably starving for love, but also terrified.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Louise K – I LOVED your story! It gave me goosebumps to know she came to you and that was it! It would be a super children’s story book!!!

  40. Rhoda Ebersole

    Teya does look very scared. You feel so sorry looking at her. Why would someone do that to a dog???

    But you will cure her for sure.

    I like that positive negative quilt. Looks like a bunch of magnets.

  41. Carla

    I feel like Kate S had some really good advice about making Teya’s life as predictable as possible. Seems like a common sense approach that I would not have thought of. Don’t all creatures benefit from predictability? I know I do! Blessings to you both.

  42. Charlotte

    Mary, I am praying for Teya andyou and know you will be great friends. As everyone says, patience on her time. I remember watching a video on one of the dog rescue Facebook sites of a dog with a similar trauma; it was cowering in a kennel and so scared it wouldn’t even eat and the vet sat in the kennel next to the dog and ate from a bowl while quietly sitting on the floor and eventually the dog got up and ate from his bowl too and then went back to his corner, but the quiet presence of the vet helped the dog and your quiet presence will too.

  43. Sandi

    You are an amazing person, don’t beat yourself up. Please watch “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix. This may give you some insight into Teya.

  44. Diane in TN

    Makes my heart hurt. She is in good hands with you. She is lucky to be in your care. Praying for you both.

  45. Kate S

    I have a puppy mill rescue. It took a long time but he made small steps and is now a terrific dog. One thing that helps is to stick to a schedule for feeding etc. knowing what to expect allows them to start to relax. Don’t try to hard just be there. You’ll do fine.

  46. Kathy in western NY

    Oh my heart breaks for her trying to forget her hurt from abuse. It angers me so much someone did this to her. The rescue ride and trauma just shatters their health and sense of calm. Teya – I will be praying for you.

  47. Tammy Guerrero

    You are her saving angel!
    Give her time, alot of time. She will learn to trust you. Do you know her backround at all? Patience is the name of the game. Patience on her time!
    Thank you for fostering her, she is so sweet.

  48. Kathy Hanson

    So sorry for Teya! You will win her over if anyone can!! Saying prayers for both of you! Just being there for her, quiet and loving will take care of her. She had to have had a terrible time before she came to you! Sending love and prayers!!

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