By Nick Murphy
Introducing Hazel Mae, junior Monica Jean’s wonderfully wrinkly and kindhearted shar pei mix.
“I knew I wanted to adopt a shelter dog. I wasn’t too particular about the breed. I just wanted to give a dog in need a second chance,” said Jean.
That second chance would come sooner than expected for one pup in the Sterling Animal Shelter. Hazel was about to receive her new lease on life.
“She was reserved but so sweet. She was like a little peanut when I first saw her. I loved her disposition and I knew she was the one,” Jean said.
According to Jean, Hazel suffered from both physical neglect and emotional trauma from her time before the shelter. “She was emaciated when we first adopted her, and she was very nervous around men,” she said.
Despite her past mistreatment, the floppy-eared pup was ready and excited to begin her new life with
Jean. For starters, it was time to fatten up. “She looked like Dobby the House Elf or E.T when we Grst
adopted her. She needed time to grow into her features,” Jean said.
“She would also shake and freeze around men. I haven’t had a dog that did that before, so it was a new experience for me,” Jean added.
Thanks to the loving care and patience of her new family, Hazel gradually made it to a healthy weight and has made great strides toward becoming more social.
Happily, her endearing crinkles and wrinkles stayed.
Unlike her silent shelter days, Hazel now makes sure her presence is known. “When you go to pet her, she sighs. ... You can even hear it from the other room. I’ve never heard a dog sigh, but it seems like it’s her way of showing appreciation,” Jean said.
Since transitioning to Jean’s home, Hazel has found her new favorite snack – Swiss cheese. Jean said one time, when she let Hazel out, she had to bribe the dog to come back inside with the cheese.
“It was interesting trying to explain to my boss that I was 20 minutes late because I was chasing my dog around with Swiss cheese in my hand,” Jean said.
According to Jean, Hazel is obsessed with her neighbor’s dogs and has even begun to dig a tunnel under the fence to rendezvous with her furry friends.
While Hazel may be the outdoorsy type, she is certainly no slouch in the classroom and as of May 3, she is an official puppy training graduate. Sit, paw and kiss are just some of the tricks she showed off on graduation day.
Ever since her adoption, Hazel and Jean have been inseparable. “She’s like a little shadow. She loves cuddles and she thinks she’s a lap dog despite how big she’s getting,” Jean said.
She added, “She likes to hold my hand with her paw. If I lay my hand down, she’ll put her paw right on top of it and I’m just like, ‘Where did you learn that?’ People say it’s cliché, but the whole ‘who rescued who’ thing is so true.”