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Liz Keller Headshot

Little Naja

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On Friday, September 2, 2011, a very special dog came into my life. I call him "Nudgey" as I mush his precious face in my hands, showering him with kisses. His face will only know love from now on.
Naja (known as Max in his former life), had suffered from his beatings. I saw the video of his abuse. It was horrible. You see this big guy swinging, hitting, beating and kicking this poor little pup. The pup is looking at him as if to say, "Why are you doing this?" He is lying down, trying to get away, but in the elevator there is nowhere to go. The creep even hits the button for the other floors so he can extend the amount of time he is able to beat this little dog.

I was so moved by what this little pup went through that I knew I needed to bring him home where he would never live in fear again. I was rescuing him, but in reality, he rescued me. The minute I met him, it was love at first sight -- his little tank body, adorable face, and laughable ears. He loved the house, he liked my dogs and cats, and wow!... how amazing is that?

As Naja settles in, I start to see how the abuse has hurt him. Any quick movements make him jump; any attempts to pet his head cause him to flinch. I have my work cut out for me, as I want him to trust and feel secure. Thankfully, Naja is a quick learner. His love for life is contagious, and he starts to relax and trust. All this time he is slowly getting me back to a more normal lifestyle, which includes laughter, play, and contentment. I am becoming aware of my every movement, the tone of my voice while on the phone. I am being watched. I have a shadow that needs me to constantly let him know that he is safe and loved. What a wonderful thing to be to a dog.

Naja loves to be photographed, and he had a lot of supporters that wanted updates about him. And so he became the most photographed dog in the house. My other dogs got a little jealous, so I had to take photos of them, too.

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Naja is the little son I never had. (Go ahead, Dr. Phil, have fun with that line!) But really, he is. He plays all day and then, close to bedtime, his little eyes can barely stay open. Once in bed he loves to go under the covers, and then he is out for the night. In the morning, he gives a little grunt when the alarm goes off, but is up and ready for the new day as I head downstairs. It has been over six months since I adopted Naja, and he is no longer nervous or worried; he trusts me with his life. If anything is going on, like if another dog chewed something they shouldn't have or I seem a bit stressed from my day at work, Naja greets me with a toy in his mouth, smiling face and wagging tail, saying "It's OK, Ma, don't sweat the small stuff , let's play. What a great way to end the day!

You can help an animal in need by adopting, fostering, volunteering, or donating. Find out how at AnimalAllianceNYC.org.

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