One of the most rewarding things about rescuing an animal is witnessing them finally relax and fall asleep. Sleep in some form, is critical to the survival of most living creatures. Dogs are not much different from their two-legged counterparts when it comes to the need for sleep that includes dreaming and other restorative activities.
When animals first come out of stressful situations or shelters full of strange noises, smells and unfamiliar faces, they are typically exhausted. This is one reason I often tell people that it takes a new companion some time to recuperate and build a sense of safety before they exhibit their unique personalities.
I'll never forget how filled with emotion I was when my Luna, a feral dog rescued after a hurricane, slept for the first time in my care. She had been through so much. All of her energy had gone towards basic survival for so very long. After many weeks, and before I was ever able to really touch or pet her- I looked over one day and she was quietly snoring- her body totally relaxed and finally restoring itself. I wept as I imagined how long it must have been since she had really slept. I felt so grateful that she allowed herself to be vulnerable and surrender like this in my care.
Words really can't express how powerful that moment was for me but it solidified my commitment to helping animals in need- I'll never forget its magnitude.
Dr. Pia Salk