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This is the tale of Cajool, a saluki-based mixed-breed dog rescued from Wadi Seer in Amman. Beautiful, quiet, and shy, Cajool experienced a rags-to-riches story as classic as any children’s faerie tale. His transformation serves as an example of the happy endings that can be achieved when animal rescuers, fosterers, and adopters are brought together and coordinated by Jordan Animal Rescue.
Cajool’s story begins with his arrival at the Amman chapter of SPANA, the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad, in the autumn of 2011. He had been found starving and in bad shape, wandering the streets of Amman near Wadi Seer, and was brought to SPANA for treatment and sheltering. Of an uncertain age, Cajool had clearly suffered abuse at the hands of an unknown individual(s), likely over an extended period of time, and as a result had developed a debilitating terror of humans.
Over the course of a month, Cajool was nursed back to health at SPANA. He grew physically strong, but he remained fearful and timid, forming only a single tentative bond with a female caretaker at the shelter. Extreme submissiveness had become Cajool’s primary response to stimuli: he never vocalized, he was cautious and silent in his movements and actions, and he reacted to human approach and contact with exaggerated cringing and cowering. These characteristics, especially the latter behavior, severely undermined Cajool’s chances of being adopted – already a difficult proposition for any dog in Amman.
Months passed with no adoption prospects. Of those few who showed interest in Cajool, none possessed the patience and understanding necessary to care for a traumatized animal. Autumn passed and winter arrived, and Cajool’s time was running out; despite the devotion of the SPANA staff, the shelter has very limited funding and resources, and is not equipped to provide indefinite care and housing to rescue animals. The year drew to a close, and Cajool’s prospects were looking grim.
It was at this point that Jordan Animal Rescue became aware of Cajool’s situation and sprang into action. The network’s volunteers orchestrated a comprehensive awareness campaign, publishing pictures and videos of Cajool on adoption websites, contacting potential fosterers and adopters, and arranging trips to SPANA for individuals interested in meeting Cajool. The volunteers’ passion and knowledge generated excitement for Cajool’s case while ensuring that all prospective adopters were familiarized with the special circumstances. Cajool had become the de facto poster child for the network’s adoption efforts.
After a few short weeks, Jordan Animal Rescue’s efforts paid off. A permanent home was finally found for Cajool, with an American expat who had experience caring for traumatized dogs. When it became clear that interim housing would also be needed, for a short period of time before the adoption could take place, the network found a temporary foster home as well. The volunteers handled all transportation and related logistics, and the transitions were seamless: Cajool was moved from SPANA to his foster home in late November 2011, and then from his foster home to his permanent home in January 2012.
Today, Cajool is as happy and healthy as any dog could be. He has a warm home, toys to play with, couches to sleep on, and a garden to run around in, and he (eagerly) takes two neighborhood walks every day. Under the patient care of his adopter, Cajool’s fearfulness has largely been replaced with friskiness and curiosity; he has become extremely playful and energetic, and he now runs to greet new individuals. As his confidence and comfort grow, Cajool’s natural canine instincts are slowly emerging: he now barks, chases cats, marks his territory, and performs a “happy dance” prior to his mealtimes and walks. (And, of course, he sleeps on couches.) “I can’t believe that is the same dog!” is the oft-repeated observation made by those who have followed his transformation and know him today.
Cajool’s story is a poignant one, owing to the eleventh-hour timing of his adoption and the dramatic nature of his rehabilitation. His case is not unique, however. Cajool is but one of the numerous dogs and cats who have found their forever homes through the work and dedication of Jordan Animal Rescue’s volunteers. Countless other animals are desperately in need of their own happy endings, and the work of Jordan Animal Rescue is ongoing.