Adopting an “aggressive” dog

Snow was deemed aggressive

I have a great comeback story about a very special dog. 10 years ago, when I was 18, I got a male siberian husky. He was six months old when I took a walk through the Humane Society (its been a thing I’ve done since childhood, I enjoy seeing and petting the animals).

I saw this gorgeous Siberian husky, but I was told she was aggressive and they didn’t want to adopt her out. They told me her tragic situation: her old owner admitted to keeping her locked in a house for fuor years. She was beaten, starved, and never seen or felt grass prior to being rescued.

She didn’t ever have toys or chews. Her health was completely neglected. She had never seen another human other than her owner. She knew nothing of the outside world, which to her was terrifying.

She walked in the same room as me, and after I saw her I felt like she wasn’t really 100% aggressive, but misunderstood. I knelt down (and got yelled at by the staff); this “aggressive” dog licked my face. Right then I knew she was mine, and I would try to earn her trust to be hers.

In the beginning it was difficult, finding out her boundaries. My other dog and her got into scuffles. There were things that triggered her to lash out, that the vet it was almost like she had PTSD. So I got bitten a few times, because she was so scared.

As time went by, she adapted more and more. I took her to training classes, on hikes, and eventually to dog meetups with other husky owners. One day it hit me hard – I looked at her coming out from the groomer’s happy, wagging her tail, kissing the groomer.

I knew she did it, it’s not me that changed her… she put in the work. She wanted a life, and I have given her the best life as I possibly could.

Its been 10 years now, she celebrated her 14th birthday last month. She started to decline, and now her rear legs are giving out on her. She doesn’t have much more time. I’ll be doing a bucket list for her, and I’ll try to make her last moments as good as possible.

The main thing that sticks out to me when I think back on the years is: dogs are misunderstood, they are forgiving (with time), they can hurt just as much as a person can, and once you break through to them they’ll love you with their entire being.

My girl came from a tragic situation, she taught me to be a better, patient, understanding person. I’ll be forever grateful for her saving me, just as much as I saved her.

This is a guest post by Rebecca Nowakowski. Want to write for us? Visit or email


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