If we are talking about turnarounds, I posted this a few months back
Just thought I'd pop my head in and tell you a little tale about my most recent addition to the family. I live with my wife in the UK and we were daft enough to move to a lovely little village that, unfortunately, contained an animal rescue shelter. Putting me near suffering animals was not the best idea, it drives me insane thinking about them being locked up and alone.
Anyway, we moved there just over two years ago, and within a week I was walking around the place. There were lots of cats, and dogs, but I was taken by one that had been recently brought in after being abused and neglected. It was the most amazing sight. She was called "belle" and had been regularly beaten and starved. 16 months old, she looked like a total mess. She had massive behaviour issues, would attack anything that moved, including humans, and then run away and hide, and reappear covered in urine and extrement only when food brought her out. The moment I saw her, I knew there was no way I was leaving her there. My wife looked at me and knew there was no question about it. The staff really didn't want us to take her - she was a genuine danger to other animals and people.
We knew it was bad when we had to pay for a vet to sedate her through the bars of the cage to get her out. She was foaming at the mouth, and making sounds that were, frankly, very frightening indeed.
I remember trying to get her from out behind the washing machine two minutes after we got home, wearing thick clothes, gardening gloves and using a long stick.
After that day we had two years of having to watch her jump at the slightest noise, becoming unexpectedly violent and aggressive towards us and the other cats, and foaming at the mouth with stress the moment the door bell rings.
Then one day it all changed. I woke up and these was a black furry lump lying around my head on the pillow, and serious purring going on in my ear. I was nervous about breathing, being used to her lunging at people's eyes if given the chance, but when I did look at her, it was like looking at a different cat. Affectionate, friendly to the other cats, and a delight to have, the change happened quite literally overnight.
To this day, she can get scared very easily, but when she is, she runs to me. Few things in life are as rewarding as seeing a frightened animal run towards you for protection, and it certainly instills the notion that anyone that trys to hurt her now had better be ready to defend themselves.
The one thing I have learned through this is converting a frightened animal into one that trusts you takes dedication, care, and patience. We re-christened her "Anya" when she turned the corner, and now is the perfect companion, playing with the other cats without a care in the world, and following us around like a new born kitten, often refusing to leave us, following us into the car when we try to go to work. I guess the other thing I have learned is having animals as companions is a privledge, and some people simply do not deserve that priviledge.
Since I made that post Anya has become ever more of a lovely cat, and a total turnaround from the monster she was when we crossed paths.