Adoption update: Shy dog finds confidence in her new home

Eliza was always a shy dog, but she's blossoming in her new home.
By Sarah Thornton

For the two years she was at the Sanctuary, Eliza was always a little shy around people. Because she had spent her puppyhood as a stray, she hadn’t interacted with humans until she was older. When people came to the Sanctuary to adopt, she was overlooked because she wouldn’t approach strangers.

Eliza the dog when still at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Helping Eliza to overcome that shyness was the main focus for her caregivers. And Eliza’s love of other dogs was a perfect way to get her to warm up to people. When Eliza saw more confident dogs asking for treats and attention, she started copying them. “She was incredibly sweet and tried to be brave,” says Jeff Jabs, one of her caregivers. “It just took a lot of time and patience.”

Eventually, Eliza caught the eye of Kaylyn Helms, who is a little shy herself and who, in fact, has another shy dog, Bambi, at home. She drove down from Salt Lake City to meet Eliza and our adoption specialist at the visitor center in Kanab, where adoptions were being held while the Sanctuary was closed during the pandemic. Unsure of the new human, Eliza practiced social distancing at first. But when she saw Bambi, any distance between her and Kaylyn quickly disappeared.

Eliza and Bambi the dogs snuggled up next to each other on a couch

Now at home with her new family, Eliza is getting more and more confident every day. She happily hops up onto Kaylyn’s lap for some attention and she has fallen in love with Kaylyn’s five-year-old daughter. “She’s just what our family needed,” Kaylyn says. “She brings so much joy to our lives and I feel like we’re doing the same for her.”

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This article appeared in Best Friends magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine by becoming a Best Friends member.

Eliza and Bambi the dogs in a purple room full of stuffed animals

Photos courtesy of Kayn Helms and by Molly Wald

Dog Sanctuary