A Patient Owner Makes All The Difference for a Timid Dog: Chanel and Doug’s Story

By Kirsten Millar

Doug Harris has always had a big heart for rescue dogs, especially those who came from bad situations. His last dog, a rescue poodle, recently passed away. When Doug decided he was ready to welcome another furry family member into his heart and his home, he looked to the nearby Cape Breton SPCA and that’s where he saw a Pitbull named Chanel up for adoption.

“I love all dogs, but Pitbull breeds get a bad rap,” says Doug. “When I met her for the first time, she was so thin I could count her ribs. I could see her hanging underbelly and could tell she had been used for breeding. I thought to myself that she needed to be loved.”

Chanel was extremely timid when she met Doug, and it was clear to him that this dog had been through a lot.

“She looked so sad, it broke my heart. The first time I took her for a walk, she was so timid that she walked behind me and would stop and sit down. I kept saying to her, ‘come on, no one will hurt you if I have anything to do with it.’ Then I’d give her a treat and she would walk a little more,” he says.

Doug returned to visit Chanel every single day for weeks to spend time with her and take her for walks, letting her build trust at her own pace. He was committed to her from day one.

“Eventually, ever so slowly, she began to accept me. Then one day, she was walking beside me and no longer behind me. I knew she was mine and she was coming home with me,” says Doug.

Chanel, lovingly nicknamed Nelly by her family, fit into her new home seamlessly. “The minute Nelly jumped in my truck, it’s like she knew she was going home, and it made my heart swell,” says Doug.

With her new home and new confidence, Chanel’s silly personality has gotten to shine. She often makes Doug laugh, especially when she acts like she’s a lap dog, jumps up in his lap, falls asleep and snores like a chainsaw.

“And Nelly has the energy of a hurricane!” says Doug. “My wife, Char, and I take her to the dog park here in Glace Bay where she is a rock star. Dogs and people alike just love her. It took a while, but even our cats love her now.”

All Chanel needed was someone patient to give her a chance to become her best, happiest self. And luckily, Doug says he has always been a patient man.

“Nelly is my best friend – I lover her and she loves me. The best decision I’ve made since moving to Nova Scotia was bringing Nelly to her forever home. This is her last stop!”

There are many more animals like Chanel in our shelters, waiting for their Doug to come along and give them their chance at a happy life. Click here to see some of the cuties ready for their forever home.

Kirsten Millar

Kirsten is an animal lover and proud “dog aunt” who recently lost her two cats that she adopted from the SPCA in 2007. She volunteers at the SPCA to honour their memory and help other animals like them.