The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Brittney’s Mystery

Brittney’s Mystery

This is the story, written in real-time, is about one loose stray that we attempted to catch for almost two months. While residents have reported seeing her for many months, we were determined to bring her to safety. At first, not knowing if she was feral, we kept her whereabouts a secret. We decided if she was feral, we would spay/neuter, release. We didn’t even know if Mystery was a male or a female. I asked Brittney to document her experience, in a diary format.  I’m glad she did!  While this story is very long, please note that Brittney does update it several times a week. You may want to bookmark this page, and come back to it occasionally to learn more about Mystery’s progress.



She did it!

If you follow Brittney Myers on Facebook, you know who Mystery is.  Brittney has been working for almost two months now trying to catch a stray dog that she almost hit one early morning.  With the help of Volusia County Animal Control, we successfully trapped and caught her this afternoon.  She is currently at Newman Veterinary Center in Deltona, relaxing!

Beautiful Mystery

However, while I was filling out Mystery’s paperwork at the Vet’s office, two ladies engaged Brittney in conversation, and mentioned that they too had seen a loose dog in DeBary days ago.  The dog darted across the road, and ran into the woods.  Could it be the same dog?  When one woman said it was a blue merle, we had a match!  So Brittney’s Mystery has been sighted by many people that travel through that area.

I have to tell you that every single day, Brittney had new news to report.  She found every one of Mystery’s hiding spots, learned where she darted off to, and panicked when Mystery didn’t come back to her den to eat.  “She’s gone Gisele, she hasn’t eaten in days.  We may have scared her off, what if she never comes back?”  I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights Brittney has had these past few weeks.

Brittney’s Mystery

Just several days ago, we got her… but when we opened the trap door, and put a leash on her, she bucked and panicked, and bit through the leash.  ARGHHHH!  We thought she’d never come back, but she did.

While this cat and mouse game was going on, Brittney documented everything so that we could share her story with you!

This little girl has been a stray for approximately 6-12 months now.  We estimate her at two years of age.  She is very scared, but she is not feral.  At this time, she is not available for adoption.  We will give her some time to adjust.  Written on her kennel card in big bold letters is, “DO NOT REMOVE”!

However, being on her own for this long poses the question, how is her health?  I’m cringing at the thought of hearing my phone ringing with her medical condition, and worried that we will not be able to afford it.

If you can spare a few dollars toward Mystery’s Veterinary Care, we sure do need your help right now!

You can view more photos of Mystery on Facebook.  Special thanks to the folks at Benson Junction for their help and patience!
What we have not yet discussed is how Mystery is a shining example of why we must be thorough when we approve an adoption.  Mystery was probably purchased from a breeder, to be a guard dog.  Once the company folded, she was left behind on the properly, to fend for herself.


Mystery’s Daily Journal

Everyday when I visit, I follow the same routine

1. Pull in turn the car off, remove the key from the ignition so that the door does not ding!

2. Leave door open

3. Sneak around the backside of her den

 4. Check to see if she is in her den

5. Feed and water

Last but not least and the second most important thing, I yell out “Mystery, Come and eat girl!”  I then head back to my truck, start the truck and yell, “I’m leaving girl come eat!” most times she will return to eat exactly 1 hour after I leave.

You will notice that throughout this journey I do my best not to leave food if she doesn’t see me there. Even if she see’s me and runs, that is okay.  I do my best to make sure that if there is food left there, she knew who left it there for her, and it paid off in the end!

The Mystery Starts Here

March 6th

  • 5:30 am spotted a loose dog coming out of Benson Junction’s parking lot toward the Moose Lodge.  She went behind Moose Lodge into tall woods/weeds toward power lines. She ran when I opened the car door.
  • 6:30 am went back down with hotdogs.  There was no sign of her.  I took my son, Jorgen to school and went to Gisele’s house to talk to her about what I had seen.
  • 2:30 pm I went back to where I had seen her, and walked through the weeds with Gisele and Dale Johnson.  Dale had recently adopted Winter, who was also a stray on his own for many months.  While looking for Mystery we found her up on the path, standing on the concrete, looking right at me.  “She’s an Aussie,” Gisele whispered.
the woods


March 7th

  • 5:30 am I through hot dogs to Mystery from the Moose Lodge side of the fence, and watched her run away.
  • 8:30 am I left 3 pieces of hot dog for Mystery, walked to end of the path.  She was on the hill side.  She spooked me and I spooked her!  She ran toward power line and disappeared in the tall grass.
  • 4:30 pm The hot dogs are gone, and there is no sight of her. I left 3 more pieces of hot dog.
one of her paths


March 8th

  • 5:30am Last night’s hotdogs gone left 2 more pieces.
  • 8:30 am The hot dogs still there
  • 2:30 pm I left a shirt that I had slept in overnight in her den.  Gisele suggested she needs my scent. I also left a bowl of water and some canned dog food.
her den, my orange t-shirt

March 9th

  • 10:00 am I refilled her water and left beef stew at her den.  I then walked the path with my mom.  We walked back to eagle tree and there was no sign of her.  We saw multiple beaten paths in all different directions.  The grass was plowed down from frequent travel.
  • 3:00 pm The beef stew still there but all of the meat is gone.

March 10th

  • 8:30 am- Mystery was in her den I spoke to her. “Mystery, are you hungry?” She ran out of sight.  I left her food and water, and I left.  I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is every single time I have to leave, knowing that she is totally alone.

March 11th

  • No morning visit.
  • 2:00 pm I didn’t have a car to drive, but Mystery is still hungry and I still need for her to see me today. So I hopped on my bicycle and rode  3 miles round trip to feed and water her. She was not in her den but she was at the mouth of the trail and she was watching me. In any event she keeps her distance.


March 12th

  • 8:30 am I fed and watered her, but no sign of Mystery.
  • 2:00 pm I got video from over the fence from Moose Lodge parking lot of Mystery. I fed and watered her early since she was there and she saw me, trying to associate food with my presence.


March 13th

  • 11:30 am I found her second den today.  It is in the back near the power lines.  She has bedded down here frequently. It was well hidden and surrounded by trees and tall grasses. I left treats along the way and left her a few treats in her bed.

March 14th

  • 9:00 am Left food for Mystery at the mouth of the trail, no sign of her.
  • 2:30 pm The food that I left at end of trail is gone. I left food in her den and walked the paths for a while.  I came back to her den and found baby raccoon eating her food, so I left more food out in the path.


March 15th

  • 8:45 am I was inches from catching her with slip lead while she was in den.  I used a crate divider and held it in front of the opening to her den.  I used a braided rope slip lead and dropped it over the opening.  I spoke to her, and she ran out.  She took her nose and flipped the leash out of her way and ran down the path. I left her food and water, and discouraged again, I left.  She had eaten last night’s food, or at least I think she did!  The food container was up along the fence at the mouth of the trail.
  • 4:00 pm There is no sign of Mystery, but no food left.


March 16th

  • 8:30 am There is no sign of her. Left food and water.
  • 3:30 pm There is no sign of her, but she had eaten her morning meal.  I left her more food and water.


March 17th

  • 3:30 pm There is an empty food container moved alongside of the fence, but no sign of her. There is no food left.

March 18th

  • 3:30 pm I was inches from catching her with a cloth slip lead while she was in den.  I spoke and she ran out again shoving the leash aside.  I left her food and water, and I left.

March 19th

  • 9:00 am No sign of Mystery but she moved her empty food container to the side of the fence. I did not leave food because she wasn’t there.


Halt, Who Goes There?

March 20th

  • 5:45 pm There is no sign of her.   I snuck up from behind and blocked den with crate divider to restrict her exit points. She was not there.  I left food.
  • I went down during the Tornado warning; we had heavy rain, strong wind and a lot of lightening. The storm started at 6:30 pm and continued throughout the night. The rain washed out all of the old footprints. Including those of the unknown man’s tennis shoes.  I blocked the den to see if she was in there. No sign of Mystery and no food left.

March 21st

  •  9:00 am There are no footprints in sand, so she didn’t come in last night. In the past she has always returned to her den for shelter, especially in the event of a storm or even a light rain.  There is a new fallen tree in the path at the mouth of the trail, from the storm.  There is no sign of her.  I left her food and changed her water.
  • 11:00 am No sign of her.  The food is still untouched.
  • 1:00 pm Mystery has been here and moved her empty food container to the fence.  There are new prints in the sand.
  • 4:30 pm This time, I went with Gisele and Ryan.  We spread out, and I checked her den.  Mystery was not there.  As we continued to walk down her path, we saw her sun bathing in the open.  Gisele and Ryan and I walked up on her before she saw us.  She ran out the path and turned toward the left.  Ryan was excited to see her for the first time.
  • 6:15 pm Mystery was not in her den but she was out to the left of the trail toward Shell Road.  This time, we brought Lady Di with us.  Amazingly, Lady Di tracked her scent and Mystery was found laying just ahead of us along the edge of the tall weeds.  Mystery saw us, looked at Lady Di and ran. We followed keeping our distance. We didn’t want to chase her and scare her.  It didn’t take long before Mystery was out of sight in the tall grasses. We all dropped and sat in the middle of the beaten path and waited to see if she returned.  Gisele went back to her van and Ryan and I stayed sitting and waiting, Mystery did not return.   Gisele came up the road in her van to flush Mystery out of hiding.  We closed in on the area we had last seen her from both directions.  We did not see her.  We returned to the van with heavy hearts.  Gisele took me back to my truck.   But before we left, in an effort to give Mystery a sense of safety, we left a wire crate in a hole next to her den.  We put a piece of plastic over it, and I started feeding her in the crate.  


March 22nd

  • 10:00 am  No sign of Mystery, she hadn’t eaten last night’s food.
  • Ryan and Gisele wanted to try again this evening but I asked that we not go until morning.


March 23rd

  • 8:30 am, Mystery was not there, she had been there yesterday, an hour after I left.  Kristen from Benson Junction Trading Post let me know she had seen her and spoke to her.  Mystery stared at her for a minute and then Mystery ran off. There were foot prints in the sand and she moved her empty food container to the fence. I fed and watered at her usual spot.  While walking around, I found her third den today.  I followed tracks left behind from the truck coming in off the road near the power lines. Up on the top of the hill over in the tall grass she had dug out another den.  There were foot prints in the sand.  I left treats and food in her new den. 
  • 6:00 pm There is no sign of Mystery.  She had eaten her food from this morning as usual.


March 24th

  • 8:45 am Again, no sign of Mystery, other than she moved her empty food container to the fence.


March 25th

  • 8:30 am Still no sign of her.  She had been to her den during the night and had eaten but she was gone already this morning.  I am really getting discouraged.  Sharing my failure to capture her with Gisele, I’m more determined than ever before to catch her.

March 26th

  • 10:00 am I walked the paths out near the power lines and there is no sign of Mystery. I did not leave food and water.
  • 4:00 pm I left her food and water, but no sign of Mystery.  Has someone taken her?  How?

March 27th

  • 8:30 am Mystery ate last night’s food but there is no sign of her this morning.  I did not leave her food, I want her to be hungry, and come to me… maybe even wait for me.
  • 4:15 pm Still no sign of Mystery.  I  did not leave food, hoping she was watching me from afar leaving. There are new foot prints in the sand; a man’s tennis shoes.  Someone is snooping around back here. I brushed all foot prints from the sand with fallen palm frond.  I feel invaded, even though it is not property, I feel like someone is stalking my dog – but she is not my dog – yet.  I called Gisele frantic, that someone else is trying to catch my Mystery.  Gisele assured me that if I couldn’t catch her, no one could.

March 28th

  • 8:45 am I fed and changed her water.  I walked the paths, and no sign of Mystery.  She had been on the path, there are new foot prints in the sand.
  • 4:45 pm There are no new foot prints in the sand, but the food was gone.  I did not feed her.

March 29th

  • 8:00 am I left her food and water.  There is no sign of her.
  • 4:00 pm I found an empty food container up on fence line, but she was not here.  I did not feed her.


March 30th

  • 11:00 am I left her food and changed her water.  There are new foot prints in the sand. She has been running the power lines.
  • Skipped evening feeding.


Someone’s Been Sleeping in My Bed

March 31st

  • 8:30 am I quickly checked for her she was not there.  I left her food and changed her water.
  • 11:00 am This morning’s food is still where I left it – untouched. I walked to the mouth of the trail and found tire tracks from a full- sized vehicle.  I assume the vehicle was a truck. The tire tracks showed that the truck backed up as far as it could to the trail (it narrows the further up you get) and the truck entered from the power lines.  No one has any business driving back there.  I am livid.
  • 5:00 pm I left Mystery her Easter dinner at the mouth of the trail and checked her water.


April 1st

  • 8:30 am Mystery didn’t touch her Easter dinner but the food from yesterday morning is gone.  I believe the raccoons ate it.  I walked the path and looked for her.  I did not see her.
  • 2:30 pm She still hasn’t touched her Easter dinner.
  • 4:30 pm She still hasn’t touched her Easter dinner.
  • 7:00 pm There is still no sign of her.  She still hasn’t been to her usual den nor has she eaten her Easter dinner.  I’m in tears.

April 2nd

  • 9:00 am Mystery finally ate her Easter dinner late last night or early this morning.  I left her more food and water at the den, and brushed away all foot prints at the mouth of the path.
  • 5:50 pm  Mystery came back for dinner this evening.   I saw her at the end of the path so I left her more food and water.

Because of the man’s foot prints and the tire tracks, I am desperate to get Mystery out of there.  I discussed options with Gisele, and we agreed to get animal control involved.  The caveat is if she is trapped, she is ours.  Our biggest fear was that Mystery would be caught, and taken to the pound.  She would then be labeled as a fear biter, and be put down.


Stop, Thief!

April 3rd

  • 11:00 am   I called animal control and spoke with a wonderful lady named Laura.  I explained my situation and requested the use of a trap. She explained that she would have to have an authorized representative of Benson Junction sign for the trap and allow me the use of the trap on their property.
  • 11:45 am Mystery was sleeping in her crate, when I called her for her morning feeding she darted down the path it  was very hot out this morning.  I was very happy to see her using the crate.  Then maybe, the trap wouldn’t be a strange thing for her, when it arrives.
  • 3:30 pm I arrived to feed for the evening and realized that her crate was gone.  Someone has stolen her crate that was hidden behind concrete walls and covered with random brush.  I spoke to Benson Junction Trading Depot and they said that a black truck left with it about an hour before I arrived.  They didn’t know that they were not with me, so they didn’t stop them. They pulled their security cameras and reviewed them to see if they could see anything but the tapes showed nothing.  It was too far away from their fence line.  I immediately called Gisele, alerted her and went to the scrap yard that was across the street. I spoke to several different people in the scrap yard, but no one has seen Gisele’s  crate.  A gentleman named Dan took my name and number and was going to call me at the first sign of our crate.  I also called Laura from Animal Control and alerted her that our crate was stolen.  I expressed my concern with their trap being left in the same area.  What if it also gets stolen?  Her response, “Just chain it to the fence, or a tree.”  Laura was such a huge help in this process.  Foot prints, tire tracks, and now a stolen wire crate.  I’m furious.
  • 4:00 pm I did not feed Mystery today, she wasn’t there.

April 4th

  • 5:00 pm The food was gone but she didn’t eat it. It was just knocked off the cement block and possibly the raccoons ate it again.  I left food and water again, but no sign of her.

April 5th

  • 10:30 am I took my dog, Lola with me, and she tracked Mystery’s scent down the trail and back up toward the road. There was no sign of her.  She ate last night’s dinner. I fed and watered.
  • 4:30 pm Mystery ate her morning meal.  But I don’t see or hear her anywhere.

April 6th

  • 9:00 am I fed and watered her.  I saw her today, she was at the mouth of the trail.  The moment she saw me, she took off.
  • 3:30 pm Mystery has eaten her morning meal.  I did not feed her today.

April 7th

  • 11:30 am I took Lola with me again.  She tracked Mystery back up to where Lady Di found her last week.  Lola found every path, every den, every bed and every hole made by Mystery!

April 8th

  • 11:00 am I fed her this morning, but not much.  I plan on setting the trap that Animal Control will leave for me today.  I appreciate the support from the people of Benson Junction, allowing me to put the trap on their property.


An Adreneline Rush!

April 9th

  • 10:30 am Benson Junction called me to tell me that Animal Control left the trap for me. It is waiting at the shop.
  • 11:00 am I set the trap up with Gisele.  Neither of us knew how to use it, however my daughter Jaidyn really enjoyed testing it out!  We chained and locked the trap to the fence where Mystery moves her food to.  We agreed that we would check the trap in shifts, checking it every two hours.
  • 11:30 am The food was eaten trap still set.
  • 12:00 noon The food is gone, but the trap is still set.   How is she doing this? She was eating but not triggering trap!  I realized that the trap wasn’t working on the ground because it wasn’t level.  Thanks to my daughter, Jaidyn, I found a piece of rubber to put under the trap and I reset it. Little Jaidyn crawled in the trap, and it worked! I baited the trap again and I left, calling Mystery to come eat and telling her I was leaving.
  • 1:50 pm Trap set food untouched.
  • 2:30 pm Trap set food untouched.
  • 4:00 pm She is not here.  I had an appointment and would be gone from 4:45 –  5:30.  I asked Gisele to check the trap at 5:30 for me.
  • 5:30 pm Gisele checked in at 5:30.  Mystery was at the mouth of the trail sunbathing, at 5:45.  Gisele left to go home.  She called me on her way out asking about the Black truck, she passed a black truck coming in on her way out.  I panicked!

What if they take trap owned by Volusia County Animal Control with my dog in it?  I load up my daughter and we rushed down there.  It is 6:00 pm on the dot!  It’s time for Mystery’s dinner and she came to eat!   Just as I look up, I hear the trap door slam shut and I see Mystery scratching, pawing, spinning, running from one side to the other.  She was panicked.

So I literally ran to her, and she growls (she is scared).   I approach her anyway.  She is unsure looking at me from the corner of her eye! I am on the phone with Ryan, Gisele’s son and I am saying over and over and over she is in the trap she is in the trap SHE IS IN THE TRAP!!!! Gisele made a u-turn and came back.  Mystery is still spinning in panic.  I talk to her, “Mystery it’s okay girl.”  She immediately stopped and looked at me.  I was so excited, but tried to remain calm.  In an normal voice, I asked, “are you hungry girl?”  She immediately sit down, and looked at me calmly.  It was as if she said, “oh, it’s you!”

I kept saying to myself, she isn’t going to hurt me I know her! I know who she is.  I’m fine at this point.  I am calm!  I am petting her and scratching her ears, scratching her side, her shoulders, and the top of her head without hesitation.  I am sticking my fingers through the crate and it dawns on me, we can’t move this trap with her in it! She is too heavy! The bottom of it isn’t strong enough to hold her! What are we going to do?

Gisele and Ryan are here and we decide that we are going to have to leash her and take her to the car.  There is no other way.  Ryan is totally against our decision.  He votes we carry the trap into the van, with the dog in it.   

I am freaking out inside because I know the risk of opening that trap even an inch! She is going to see a glimpse of her  freedom and she is going to bolt through that door!  One of the trap doors opens on the inside.   I will leash her first, that way and get her out.  I ask myself in doubt, “She is okay with me right?”

So I get the leash on with no problem! She didn’t care at all!  I give it a tug with the trap door still shut! She does nothing.   I really pull hard on the leash, she still does nothing!  So I did it dropped the trap door and coaxed her out.  She took forever as the door opens inward.  Her body was in the way and she wouldn’t move, despite my pushing the door.

Gisele and Ryan went to the other end and used food to move her.   I got the door part way opened, and she still wouldn’t move!  I said fine.  I forced the door the wrong way past the clips etc., and opened it toward me coaxing her with a hamburger patty.  She is hesitant to exit.  I waited a good five minutes with the trap open to the inside and she still wasn’t coming out!

Finally, her feet hit the grass and she tries to bolt.  But she is still on leash, and I have the other end of it.  She goes about four feet, and the leash stops her. We were prepared, or so we thought, when she turns and spins.  She spins violently in the air at least five times.  She flopped and spinned like a fish out of water, and she did the alligator roll vertically in the air.  “Fine,” I said to myself.  “I can hold on for the ride.”

Gisele and I step forward and point to her and said shht! It’s a quick procedure that means NO! In the dog world you don’t know what the sound of the word NO may trigger in the mind of an abandoned dog.  In rescue we train ourselves not to use the word NO,  because it may have used before while the dog was beaten or abused.  You never know how that simple word can take a dog that appears calm and collective to defensive and protective. 

Mystery immediately responded to our command, and she sat nicely for a split second.   I needed the chance to get her focus back on food and keep her attention! With that said either Gisele is reading my mind or I am reading hers, because Gisele offers a piece of bacon!

Mystery accepts the bacon.  I am still holding a piece of  hamburger as well.   As I stepped toward her, offering the hamburger, without warning, she immediately goes into an alligator roll.  In a flash of an instant, Mystery grabs the leash,  closes her mouth and starts to bite it.

Both Gisele and I have the same instinc –  to grab the leash out of her mouth, knowing that the chance of being bitten is very high.  Gisele and I look at each other briefly, and we keep a safe distance to protect the dog.  Why?  Because if she should bite us, and have absolutely no shot records, she will be quarantined for at least ten days.  

She takes that leash in her mouth and gives one quick snap of the head and she severs the leash in two! She has direct eye contact with me, and I throw the leash on the ground.  I don’t want her to see me with the leash.  I don’t want her to process that she won.  I held my hands up and she saw me empty-handed.   

I’m hoping she believes that I let her go.   I want her to trust me, but now I’m wondering what if she doesn’t.  What if she never comes back?  What if, what if, what if, what if?  A million thoughts ran through my mind but all I could do was say we all learned a lesson today!  I feared that Mystery learned a lesson too.  She learned not to go into a trap anymore!

Gisele saw the disappointment in my face.  Ryan was frustrated with us.  Saying over and over that we should have just carried the trap into the car.  The terrain made it impossible.  We were next to a deep gully, tall stumps, vines and roots.  We had a teenage kid, two Moms and a toddler.  That’s not a professional dog-catching team!

I went to home.  There was no sense in sticking around.  Mystery isn’t coming back.  She is going to retreat to a new spot and stay out of dodge for a while.  Gisele drove home with Ryan, and had to listen to Ryan saying, “I told you so repeatedly.”

I was home pouting in my kitchen while making dinner when my mom called. “Did you catch your dog?” …. so I start to tell the story – the story of our failure, when she cuts me off.  “I saw her just now!” My Mom said with excitement.  I was confused my mom lives far from Mystery’s den, how would she have seen her?


Haven’t We Met Before?

Mom explained she had gone shopping and passed “Mystery’s Place”. She said  while driving in the far lane, a feeling came over her to check on the dog (something she has never done before).  She pulled into Benson Junction, and there was Mystery! Mystery looked at her and trotted off calmly.  She did not run this time. My Mom got in her car and started to leave only to find at the end of the road stood Mystery again! My Mom got out of the car, and slowly approached Mystery.  Mom knelt down, and spoke to her softly.  Mystery looked curious.  My Mom whistled at the dog, and Mystery continued to have eye-contact with my Mom.  But Mystery did not run away.  This time, Mystery looked around and calmly walked away!

I called Gisele immediately.  I was so excited and talked so fast!  There is hope!  Mystery is not feral.  She is not afraid.  We did not scare her today.  We will come up with Plan B and next time, we will be successful!

While it is a sad day and we lost what we worked so hard to save, we didn’t really lose at all!  We gained the unimaginable, we gained her trust.

While I finished making dinner, I wondered how many chances is this dog going to give me until I get it right?  Will she hunker down someplace else and we never see her again?  


Plan B

April 10th

  • 8:45 am I wanted to keep her comfortable with the area and the trap so I released the trigger switch and locked the trap door up and continued to feed her inside the trap. She was eating but she was taking the food out of the trap to eat it.
  • 5:00 pm I held evening food I am going to re-bait the trap in the morning I have to act FAST!

April 11th

  • 8:30 am My daughter and I baited the trap and I called Mystery to come and eat, then I left. Went to breakfast with Gisele and went back to check the trap.
  • 10:45 am Mystery was waiting patiently for someone to notice she was in the trap to let her out!  I walked over and sat down next to the trap stuck my fingers inside and pet her telling her she was a good girl!  I immediately got up took pictures and posted to Facebook! WE DID IT!  This time there is no way that I am removing the dog from the trap so I called Animal control and spook with Laura again, “Laura, its Brittney, (yes animal control now knows me on a first name basis), I have a favor to ask. I trapped her! But because I lost her on Tuesday, I will not take her out of the trap here and I can not transport her in the trap.  Is it possible for you to dispatch an officer out here to help me transport her to the vet?”  Of course they had questions!  “Why can’t you transport her, what happened last time. etc.? The verdict was “Of course we will help you, I will dispatch someone out to you now!  Good luck!” 

I have to take this opportunity to Thank all of Volusia County Animal Control Officers for their help.  We couldn’t have done it without them!   We waited patiently for the officer to arrive, I took the opportunity to take photos and videos of us waiting and to bond more with Mystery since she was stuck in that trap with no choice in the matter.

I called Gisele to alert Newman Veterinary Center, that we were bringing her in via Animal Control.

I talked to Mystery while I waited.  I explained to her what was going to happen when they got there and that I WAS NOT going to leave her side, and that I would be there when she arrived to the vet.  It was all going to be okay!

Animal Control officer McNally arrived she was AMAZING to say the least. She, like me, did not want to use a catch pole but given the scenario of Tuesday’s events, Mystery really left us no other choice. Together we agreed on a plan and executed it!  I opened the trap to the inside officer McNally got the loop around her neck and cinched it up, making it snug while she commented, “I don’t think she missed a meal!  Her neck is bigger than her head!”

When she gave the okay I pulled the trap door out toward us and the rodeo began again. Halfway to the truck I used the Sshht sound again because Mystery was rolling herself up in the catch pole and really beginning to choke herself.  Mystery immediately sat and looked at me waiting for my instruction on what to do next.  The only thing I could do was tell her “I am right here; you’re going to be fine let’s go for a walk.” Off we went again making it only a few feet before she laid down and froze.  We coaxed her just a little further and she laid down again.

At this point we decided we would just pick her up and put her in the truck so I held the catch pole, took the rear and Officer McNally took the head and we lifted her into the truck. Removing the catch pole was a bit of a chore (not because she was struggling but actually just the opposite.  Mystery was sitting on it and wouldn’t get up!  We wiggled, jiggled, twisted and turned while I held the door,  for Officer McNally to maneuver the pole we eventually freed the pole!

We arrived at Newman Veterinary Center, and Gisele met us there moments later.  We put Mystery on the catch pole again and open the door to the crate in the truck.  Gisele arrived but she is still nervous.  I was smiling, so happy and so relieved.  Mystery was safe, was going to see a Vet, and she was enjoying human affection.  Officer McNally assured us, “This dog is going to be fine!”

We muzzled her to prevent her from chewing a leash and debated back and forth whether to leash walk her in or use the catch pole and we after a long debate back and forth used both. Once inside the building we removed the catchpole and the vet tech carried her to her cage in the ISO room

Gisele, my daughter and I went upfront to sign our lives away and there sat an elderly woman and her friend/daughter.  As Gisele and I were asking Amanda to make sure them microchip Mystery in 10 different places neck, each leg, eyelids, ears (just kidding).  The expression of concern on this poor woman’s face was priceless.  As I began explaining that we were only kidding and that she was a stray we had rescued, the woman shared that they  too had just seen a stray on Doyle Road.  Of course the first question out of my mouth is what kind of dog was it? And she replies with exactly what I thought she would! “Blue Merle Australian Shepherd.  She darted across the street and into the woods. We were so afraid we were going to see her hit by a car one day,”  the lady explained.  “No need to worry she wasn’t hit by a car and she is safe and in a cage in the back now!” 

Her first day at the Vet

It was Mystery that they had seen, I asked “When was it that you saw her?” already knowing what her answer was going to be she replied,” it was late last week, maybe Wednesday or Thursday.  “Of course!  That was when Mystery wasn’t at her den for 2 days last week; Wednesday and Thursday to be exact! She was a mile away and the only way to get from her den to where the lady spotted her was to cross the very busy four-lane State Route 17/92.  A very scary thought!  

I think it was then that I realized how lucky Mystery really was.  Living on her own for who knows how long, she had no fear of cars, yet she was alive.

We insisted that Newman Veterinary staff include DO NOT TAKE OUTSIDE on her cage card.  We took several pictures, spoke with the Veterinarians and left to prepare a plan for what we would do, and how we would do it!


 Unraveling Her Past and Starting a New Life

Mystery, Safe and Sound


April 13th

Mystery was picked up by Brittney from Newman Veterinary Center in Deltona.  She was spayed and had all of her shots.  She is also heartworm negative, which blows my mind.  Mystery has also been micro chipped.  She is resting comfortably at Brittney’s house.  Brittney notices that she has started to shut down emotionally, getting used to being a domestic animal.  Her recovery will be slow.  Much like my experience when I rehabilitated Shy Sharon, Shy Shannon, China and Nutella, not to mention my current foster, Les Paul, who has totally shut down emotionally, we will experience good days and bad days.

The Dog Liberator is not set up to take in long-term fosters, it can be very stressful, time-consuming, labor-intensive, and costly.  However, once we make a commitment to take a dog, we do it, and we do it right.  If you can donate to Mystery’s care, we really appreciate it.

In the meantime, her progress will be documented on this page, and her photos can be viewed on Facebook.

"Whats it take for a girl to get some alone time around here?"
“What’s it take for a girl to get some alone time around here?”


April 16th

The last few days have been uneventful with Mystery.  She is rarely coming for a pet.  She really just wants to be left alone, while I would love to just leave her alone, I know that isn’t going to make any progress, so I push on (tough love girl).

We made a few trips outside.  She walks out my back door straight into a very large crate.  Her favorite thing to do is sunbathe, but when she gets too hot she will come to the crate door and sit until I bring her back in.

She has learned she really enjoys Velveeta cheese as a yummy treat when she gets something right, like walking nicely on lead.

Today she blessed me with a nice surprise!  When it was time to go outside we went out into our crate as usual.  It wasn’t until we started back in that she wanted to make me proud!  She walked behind me, still a little unsure, she weaves from side to side behind me, but never passes me.  Then as we entered the living room she didn’t head straight for her crate!  Instead she went toward the actual living room.

I sat on the couch petting her head, when my phone rang.   I turned away to answer it, and she is still sitting in front of me waiting for me to give her direction.  The doorbell rings!  Really? What timing these people have!  My Lola begins to bark and growl.   Mystery is still sitting in front of me!   stand and start toward the door all the while still holding her leash, I asked her to come with me and she follows!  I crack the door and explain I can not open it.  The man understands and holds the signature pad so that I can sign one-handed.  Mystery is starring just waiting for that door to open, but much to her surprise, it doesn’t open!
Mystery looks back to me for direction and we walk back toward the couch.  I sit down and start to scoot back and she gently helps herself to the couch, squeezes behind me and lays down, her head resting up on the armrest.  I was so excited!  She just took a huge step forward all on her own and really enjoyed the Velveeta cheese she got for all of her bravery today! 
Hey! This isn't so bad....
A girl could get used to this!

For about 20 minutes we sat watching TV and working on the computer.  I needed to get up so I asked her to come with me.  She hesitated, I insisted, and she complied.  We started toward the garage to do laundry and she started past the living room chair when she leaped up and parked it!  She is now permanently attached to the blanket on the chair and the cushion of the recliner.  I asked her to come down and she just stared back at me!

What don’t you understand? I’M NOT MOVING!
Nope! Not even for a pork chop!

My attempts to bribe her down failed miserably, pork chops, Velveeta cheese.   Nothing worked!  I eventually just picked her up and put her down myself.  We started to the garage and she was beginning to be very distressed and was frantically searching for her cage.  She stopped and looked out the sliding door, seeing the outdoors, maybe she thought about running and I said HUH-UH and gave her leash a slight tug.  She sat down and looked to me while scanning the room, unsure of how or where to bolt to.  I continued toward the garage and called her as we passed by her crate.  She sneaked into her crate, where she is resting quietly now.  She had a huge morning and was so brave!  Despite the fact that I know she is terrified!  She has never hinted that she has wanted to bite, snap or even growl at me no matter what I do, or how scary it may be.  We are finally gaining more of that much needed trust!

April 17th

Mystery is full of surprises.  She is doing much better in the house.  She is right by my side everywhere I go, that is unless she is on the couch.  We have arguments daily about her being on the couch and obeying me when I tell her to get down. She is no longer showing signs of resource guarding.  Every time I fed her today, I held the bowl and she showed no signs of aggression or even any concern.

Woo hoo right?  I made a big stink over her not guarding her things?  Keep reading!

Nothing can touch me here!
Guess I will be rewashing those….

Late morning I asked Mystery to the garage with me (somewhere she has never been). She followed me despite the fact that she was overwhelmed with concern. After sitting out there and folding laundry, she was becoming less nervous the longer we sat. At one point she decided that the basket of clean fresh clothes I had folded just moments before looked like a nice bed. I asked her to follow me back inside I shut the entry door to the garage, opened the garage door, and asked her out again. Triple leashed and hesitant she followed. She was concerned again but intrigued. We sat in the same chair just sitting, watching and listening.

After a few minutes of watching and folding laundry, I asked Mystery back inside.  She was more than happy to follow,  we moved in to the couch and sat down.  We talked (well I talked she listened) about how things were just a week ago and what I was thinking, what I knew she could do and how scared she was of  any human interaction.

Doing a little work and talking about what life was like for her a week ago…

I was thinking about a phone conversation between me and my mom from yesterday. We had been talking about Mystery still wanting to RUN when she looks out the slider or a window to the outside and that I just can’t bring myself to take her out without the crate.  My mom made a statement “I think it is more you than her”, that statement stuck with me through the night and into the morning I had to try, but….  Okay ENOUGH!  As long as I am afraid Mystery will be I have to suck it up!  I mean really if she gets loose she is going to run and when she gets hungry she is going to come back,  if I leave the front door open she will come into her CRATE and eat, right?  A million scenarios ran through my mind as I sat there and thought of what COULD happen when I expose her to the outdoors with no barrier!


It was then I realized,  it was time I put my big girl pants on.  So I stood up and off to the front door I went, Mystery right by my side.  I reached for the front door and she flinched.  I said “It’s okay girl, I am right here”, she looked at me the

“What do you want me to do now?”

concern and anxiety just poured from her eyes.  I cracked the door and she backed up to get out of the way of the door.

I opened the door the rest of the way.  She took 3 steps forward to the threshold of the door and she SAT DOWN!  I was shaking with so many emotions running wild through my body, I literally sat down with her!  I was excited, proud, terrified, relieved and many many more!  The great outdoors was just over that threshold and she is just sitting with slack in the leash!



April 18th TODAY WAS HUGE!
After yesterdays adventure to the garage and the front door, I decided this morning we would actually go OUTSIDE! After our morning routine I took her leashed her up all 3 leashes and collars and she started for the garage door 🙂 “Not this morning girl, come here” I called, she followed willingly. We walked directly to the front door, I open the door and she is literally cringing with every inch it opens. She immediately sits and looks to me, but she was SHOCKED when I stepped out the the front porch and called her to join me! She hesitated and then followed nicely she got a little flighty at first I gave her a “Shh…”, she sat and looked for direction! She continued to sit a couple of times she would try to stand and I would just simply say “Shh…” and she would sit right back down we had slack in the leash we sat out on the sidewalk for a bit and she listened and smelled. She would flinch when the birds chirped and literally jumped when a lizard ran across the yard. After a short period of time, she was more than ready to retreat back to the house where it wasn’t so scary!

A bit different from exactly one week ago, Isn’t it?

Later this evening, the neighbor came over and knocked on the door, Larry and I stepped outside to talk to them. I haven’t allowed anyone in my home since she has been here that she doesn’t know. This needs to continue to be her “Safe Haven”. My neighbor and I had last spoken the day that Mystery freed herself from the leash, and got away. So I asked her to stand just outside the garage door and I went back inside I leashed up Mystery and I opened the door and said “Come Girl” she followed hesitating with every step. This is the first time she has met a stranger here, but remember they were outside not inside. We took 3 steps out into the garage and I sat in that chair and she came in close (she usually sits on my right side and on top of my foot she stays very, very close). The neighbor said quietly, “Oh! You caught her! She is so scared?”. I explained that she has only been outside without her crate this makes the 2nd day. Just then I felt Mystery begin to shake. It dawned on me the neighbors husband was out front and talking to larry, he resembles Ryan. If you remember she was very concerned about Ryan when she was in the trap. So I leaned down, she had her head buried and hidden between my leg and the empty chair next to me, and I said “Its okay girl, I am right here!”. When I raised up she followed me putting both front feet on my lap and burying her head between my arm and my stomach! At that point it hit me I AM FINALLY HER SAFE PLACE! I took her leash and I said “Come girl lets go inside”, she darted through the door and was headed straight for her crate, I kneeled down and said “It’s okay girl you did great! I know its scary out there but you made me proud!” She sat down in front of me waiting for the pat that she knew was coming and I got my first OFFICIAL KISS!

“Ok, I guess I will say Hello!”

I put her back in her crate and gave her dinner my son Jorgen (6) was sitting at his desk, between her cage and my Lola’s doing his homework. I told him as I always do, “Leave Mystery alone don’t touch her, don’t bother her. Okay?”. “Yes, Mommy!” he replies, and I go back outside. I step back in to check on them and he is still sitting in his chair but he is smiling ear to ear and he is doing homework? Something is very wrong with this picture! “What are you smiling about?” I ask. “Watch this!” he says, and he reaches down into the side of Mystery’s cage and he is PETTING HER! He stops and she looks up at him! She is doing it, the kids aren’t so scary anymore!

Mystery has shown great improvement in the last week, However, she still has a long way to go if outside more than a minute or two she will fight to get back INSIDE to SAFETY!  The wind, the birds, the lizards and all the other sounds of the outdoors Terrify her!  We will work daily going back outside, in and out, in and out.  My focus is on desensitizing her to everyday sounds in and out of the home she is spooked very easily and when she gets spooked you better have a good hold of her.  Despite all of that I can say shht!  and she will give me an immediate sit and she will look either to me or straight to the ground.  We are working on Confidence and Self Esteem.  She is getting there slowly but surely.  One Baby step at a time!

Nothing can touch me here! Cant see me either

She has taught me so much, and while all of you see what I am teaching her, I don’t think anyone has stopped to think about how much she has taught me. The very first day,that dark morning she ran out in-front of me, I said “we will never get close to this girl but I am going to touch her or die trying!” After seeing her several times at her den, on the trail, etc… watching her run at the first sight of me, and seeing her now run to me when she is scared is such a rewarding feeling to know that I have shown her how to trust me. It is up to her to trust everyone else and she is working on it one baby step at a time. It was up to her to change and she just needed someone to show her the way! She chose what to do with what she was shown, and so far she is doing AWESOME!  She has shown me such an INCREDIBLE amount of Bravery and TRUST in the last week!  The photo below tells it all!

Happy Smiles
Happy Smiles!!! What a difference in just a week.


April 19th

It was a fairly uneventful day today, Mystery and I made several trips out to the garage with the garage door open.  Today was a day for her to become comfortable with all she has accomplished and gain some confidence in what she can do already.  Without this confidence I don’t want to ask her to do more, she is only doing it because I want her to and the only thing she will learn is the trust, we have that now (Maybe even a little too much).  I need her to start gaining self confidence and being a little more sure of herself and her actions before we go too far forward with new things, so today we will not change our routine or do anything new.  Just lots of repetition, Reassurance and LOVE!


April 20th

Today was a CRAZY BUSY DAY!  I had the Central Florida Earth Day event in Orlando with TDL and lots of our TDL Peeps, so I was out most of the day.  As usual Mystery started me off with a SMILE this morning.  We went out back to potty and rather than going directly into her cage she went to the right of it and she squatted to potty in the yard OUTSIDE OF THE CRATE!  Yay! Lots of praise for her today!!!

She returned to the door and in we went. I was pressed for time this morning so we had little time to just sit and relax together.  She wanted in her crate this morning so that is where we went.  I removed her leashes and she laid down, I stayed to love on her for a minute before I had to go let Miss Lola out.  I took Lola out and came back in. When I got back inside Mystery was watching the door waiting for me, as I entered the dining room (where the crates are) she stood and came to the crate door to greet me!  Great way to start my morning! I gave them each  food and water in their crates, gave them hugs and kisses and off I went.

Before I walked out the door I stopped to entertain my thought “Should I take her? I could put her in a crate next to me and it would be good exposure for her”.  Following my gut feeling I decided that I wouldn’t take her while it would be good exposure it would be forced and I don’t know what the surroundings will be like but what i do know is I would be  STUCK in Orlando in a park if she really gets overwhelmed and upset I would have no way to remove her from the situation.  So I made the choice to leave her home this time she isn’t ready, even though I push her hard, I think that would have been too hard and we would have moved backwards.

Several of us TDLer’s spent most of the day and early evening at the event, and while I had a great time and it was a great experience, I was missing my Mystery already!  Just then Dusty arrived with his Lilly who is a smaller version of Mystery, and she loves me as much as I love her!  I referred to Lilly as my therapy for the day…

As the day went on we had a great turn out and several inquisitive minds ,but I also had a few  people approach us just to ask “Where is Mystery?”.  One stood out in particular.  Gisele, Dusty and I were standing around talking amongst one another and a gentleman approaches out of the crowd “Brittney?” I turned to look, I don’t recognize this man and would be safe to say I have never seen him before… “Yes?”, I replied.  “Where is Mystery?” he asked.  “Oh! She is at home I don’t think she is ready for all of this yet.”  I am still standing there looking at him as if he were a ghost, I still have no idea who this man is!  Later in our conversation I learned that it was a gentleman who works with my mom who is also following Mystery’s Journey. It was a proud moment to know that we were making such an impact, and not just here in Florida as Mystery has followers countrywide.

After a long day at the event in Orlando I invited Gisele to my house to visit with Mystery for a moment on her way home and allow her children to meet the New and Improved Mystery.  So everyone stepped into the garage and sat down scattered across the garage, I went inside and got Mystery.  I leash her up and said “Lets go say Hi”, to the garage we went.  I open the door, she is so focused on me and where we were going she failed to notice that there were 4 other people out there.  As I turned to close the house door behind me she seen them, she looks to me like “Really??? Why? Ahhhh!!!”  I asked her to come I start to sit down in the infamous chair and she walks up to Gisele to greet her!  Is this really happening?  She really just greeted someone face to face without burying her head in my lap and showing them nothing but her rear end? YAY!!!  I was so proud of her and her confidence.  <– There is that word again.

After a short lived visit with Gisele she returned to me and sat to my right as she always does.  After a few moments of conversation I approached the children with her, two on my left one on the right, they were very close to the open garage door.  I asked that they be very still and not make any sudden movements.  I start to approach she follows very close behind, I kneel down and she moves in close.  Gisele looks to me and says ” She is shaking…?”.  I reply with, “Yes, she is too close to the door.  She is terrified of being outside.”

Gisele was baffled, I mean just a week ago she was terrified of being inside or near ANY OF US.  Now she wont leave my side and doesn’t want anything to do with being outside.  Before I took her back in I made it a mission to have Ryan, Giseles son, touch her.  If you remember when I first caught her she was very leary of him and she was frightened by him Amazing what a little Trust and CONFIDENCE can do!

*Just wish I had my phone on me during all of this because we didnt get any photos of her while meeting all the strange people…*


April 21st

Today was another cram-packed day for me, so I was in and out most of the day.  I had considered bringing her along, but i just didn’t feel in my gut that she was ready for such an overwhelming adventure.  When I would come home in between errands I made sure to stop for a moment and spend just a moment with her.  Before I knew it the day was coming to an end, it was starting to get dark outside, so I hurried to take her out one last time.

I don’t like to go outside with her unless it is well lit,  so that she can better see her surroundings,  it helps to keep her calm.  We leashed up

OUTBACK for the first time out of her crate!
At the end of her leash =)

(only using 2 now) and out the back door we went.  Just outside my back door is the bottomless crate she has been using to go potty.  Normally she would walk right out the door and straight into the crate, but NOT TODAY!  Today she decided she wanted to go into the back yard instead!  I was still a little nervous, I am still nervous anytime we are outdoors, she still gets scared so easily and she will start to back up and spin.  NOT TODAY!  Today she walked around her crate in through the lattice gate to the small makeshift fenced area (This is not securely fenced, It couldn’t hold a turtle let alone a dog )   she walked around sniffed a little and turned to look at me.

Okay, This is better… I think I’m close enough now!
What Now?

She realized that she was at the full length of the leash, that was short lived.  She sprinted back to me sitting at my feet to look up for what to do next.  I gave her a nice rub and asked her to go potty.  She stood walked two steps to the right and done just that.  When she was finished she returned to me sitting and looking up to me she let out a whimper and then a loooooong drawn out whine, She wanted inside!

Scary over there…
Scary over there too…

We walked back to the door and in we went, but not before we sat outside and took in all the sights and smells.  She needs to touch all that is out there to help her to overcome her fear. When she realizes that those leaves are there everyday and those squirrels aren’t leaving anytime soon, the grass is going to touch her and the birds are going to chirp; it won’t be so scary anymore.  It will take several trips but today was a great start to this next step.  She sat quietly watching listening and smelling in every direction. Making me proud!

We walked back to the door and in we went.  When we come in from outside she knows that I have to be sure the doors are secured (no escape routes for her), and so she comes in and immediately sits, facing me, waiting for the command “okay, lets go!”.   At which time she walks, in a bit of hurry, to the glass sliding door.  I ALWAYS enter the door first (I am pack leader) she will follow behind and then immediately sit so that I may shut the sliding door.  Where we go from there depends on her mood she has been wanting back in her crate lately so I have given her her space over the weekend but TOMORROW is a new week and we are going to work more on laying on a doggie bed/pillow in the living room FLOOR and not the couch.

Before heading to bed my son Jorgen (6) asks me, “Mommy, can I feed Mystery tonight?” and much to his surprise I relied with “Yes, you may!”  He was recently bitten by a dog and now has a fear of them that we are working to overcome.  I explained he needed to move slow and she would take a few bites and then take it away from him, and that when she does he needs to let her have it and close her crate up.  “Okay..”  I filled her water bowl and opened her food for him and he done the rest!  She did everything she was supposed to, she hesitated at first to eat from his hand.

I will take it from here =)

Jorgen waited with patience, and once again patience paid off! I was so happy to see them both face their fears together and overcome them because of each other. Jorgen had a fear of being bitten and she had a fear of him altogether, but because of patience they both realized it was worth a shot. Jorgen whispers “Mommy, she’s doing it! Mommy Look!” Even if it was just for a few short moments seeing them both face their fears head on and to have it pay off in a HUGE reward for both of them was well worth the wait!

From Gisele:  While this story is going viral, please remember that it’s because of your kind donations, donations of all kinds that keeps us going.  We receive donations from our Amazon Wish List, through the United Way, and through Paypal.  Used items are welcomed here at TDL, every little bit helps.  We had a raffle not long ago where TDL made $50.  To us, that’s huge for that pays for a round of de-wormer, some flea preventative, or maybe an extra large bag of dog food!  Every little bit helps.  I want to thank all of you who have donated to help one of our dogs.  Look at how we started, and where we are today.  It is truly amazing, we are truly blessed to have you!  Mystery’s story is far from over, but there are many dogs out there just like her to end up at the pound.  We want to be able to have the funds, and the manpower to rescue them.  Please, help us if you can!

April 22nd ~ There is such a thing as JOY!I left you with a lot to take in yesterday with all that we accomplished over the weekend.  Monday left me with even more to share!  What a great day it was here.  Morning routine started to take place and it was time for potty breaks (Mystery appears to now be FULLY housebroken).  We walked out back I was curious to see will she go to the crate or will she go to the yard?  Without hesitation she walked into the back yard, YAY!!!  After she finished her business we walked, yes you heard me correctly.  We took a WALK around the back yard,  she has never been more than 3-4 steps inside the gate.  Watch this video you won’t believe the amount of devotion she has to pleasing me.  Just a short time ago I didn’t dare walk her 3 inches outside the door, and we are now walking all over the yard!!!!After our first walk and some bonding time, I had a few errands I needed to run so off I went… I returned home in the afternoon around 3:30.  Upon walking in the door I noticed she was fidgeting in her crate??? This was abnormal she ordinarily wouldn’t acknowledge I was coming or going with anything more than a lift of her head, this triggered a bit of curiosity on my part.  So I approach her crate and I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! I got a tail wag, I got an Aussie speech (whines and whimpers) and I even got a kiss!!!  What did she get out of it? She got Yummy people food! =)  This was very short lived but it was HUGE!!!! SHE FOUND HER JOY!  I don’t think very many of you understand how incredibly happy that made me!  Whatever I am doing (I have no idea) something is right she is learning to be a HAPPY DOG!*The video is pretty dark but you can see the butt shakes and the kisses and you can hear her talk to me*~Brittney~ Proud Foster =)April 23rdToday we worked a lot on off leash walking (inside the house of course) Mystery done well.  Took some coaxing to get her off the couch but once she was off she done well.  We even visited Jaidyn and Jorgen in their rooms to tuck them in for their naps.  Mystery helped herself to Jaidyn’s bed getting her down from there was kind of like getting her off of the couch!   We walked back down the hall stopping to work on our focus and sitting.  She is getting to be pretty good at an automatic sit when we stop!  She is shaping up quickly. Oh! and boy does she LOVE her couch!

We are getting better and better outdoors and going further and further from her comfort zone.  i don’t have a lot of interesting news to share today as I have been giving her time to become accustomed to routine and taking in all the new things she has learned.  I have pushed and pushed I want her to process all of this before we move on!  She is still struggling with other dogs I get a low growl and then she will retreat to the corner of her cage when that is corrected.  She is so sensitive to correction a simple “Ahht!”,  and she is hunkered up in a ball and hiding in the back of the crate. =( poor thing… right?  NOPE!  She needs to learn boundaries and limitations, and she must learn that guidance and correction is a part of everyday life.  When she realizes I am not going to hurt her but yet show her the right way she will slowly start to let go of the fear of consequence.  Of all the things that I have done with her, you will notice, none of them is feeling sorry for her.  We move forward here not backwards =)

April 24th ~ “Are You Insane?”

So this morning after our routine, I got a phone call, I needed to meet Larry to pick up the key to his truck.  Mystery and I were sitting on the couch working on a post when the call came in, I only had 5 minutss to get there (he’s working and was just passing through).  So I asked Jaidyn to go get in the truck and I grabbed 2 leashes.  After leashing Mystery up she ran straight for the glass slider, as that is where we normally go outside, not today!  I asked her to the front door she followed we stepped out she done her business (she will go every time I take her out).  I opened the  door to the truck curious how she will react, I looked down to her only to find her looking back up at me.  “Load up!”  I said, and much to my surprise she jumped straight in.  YAY! Mystery!


I started the truck, she jumped.  I backed up, put the truck in drive, she jumped.  Got out to the stop sign and it was getting a bit warm so i cracked (and I mean cracked) her window and the rear windows, she jumped.  It was a touchy ride for the first little bit but before we arrived to the gas station she had settled down.  I pulled in and parked and she was very scared she started to look around and I kid you not she knew where she was.  She was very nervous and she was using that nose like crazy!  she would watch out of every window her eyes were big almost to the point of CRAZY EYES!  I snapped her out of that real quick, and it was up hill from there.


Crazy Eyes…..

Larry arrived with the key it was now 8:30am I started back home but to get there I have to pass where I originally found Mystery.  Just yesterday the friends at Benson Junction Trading Depot had asked for an update and photos of Mystery, I will do them one better we will just stop in and say Hello.  Benson Junction doesn’t open until 9 so we had a little bit of time to kill, I said “Hey girl, lets check something out!” and I drove her back to the woods where her den was.  She got a little nervous and I could see her mind racing again she was sniffing the air and she knew.  She starts to breath heavier and she starts to pant, her pupils grow and I say “Shht!” and she sits down and looks at me.

looking at her old den…. Does she look scared or is it just me?
No, I don’t want to go back there I want to go HOME!

We did it!  I have complete control over her at this point!  We waited in the parking lot for the employee’s to arrive we said our Hello’s, and she got her “Oh my goodness look at her eyes” and her “I can’t believe how well she is doing.” speeches.  She was unsure but accepting as usual, While our visit was short it was a nice test and was good to see how she would react in HER TERRITORY!  She done GREAT!

This afternoon I had a visitor, a friend of mine has a new baby (human), and she brought him by for the first time.  Of course my dogs were locked up I walked up to each crate with the baby and allowed them to sniff, both done very well.  The baby and I sat on the couch and he laid in a soft fuzzy chair and at one point he laid on Mystery’s blanket on the couch for a moment. Why is that important?  Because, she is going to be on that blanket later and the scent of that baby will linger all new sights and smells and now they are indoors!

Picked my son up from school and after coming back home a friend of mine wanted to come get their mower from my house.  When they arrived and loaded everything up Mystery and I went outside.  She walked out into the garage with NO HESITATION.  Even approached the both of them politely and on her own!  So Proud!  She was insecure about the whole situation but she was GREAT!  She followed commands and she  sat to be petted and only a few times did she stare them in the face (I do NOT allow her to look anyone in the face but me especially when they are kneeled down to pet her. )  She was proud of herself and I was really proud of her!  EXPOSURE!  EXPOSURE!  EXPOSURE!

Home Sweet Home…. You can literally SEE the relief!

April 25th

This morning we woke up continued with our morning routine but when Mystery and I went outside straight to the back yard as usual and then instead of coming to the door we walked completely around the house and entered in the front.  All new territory and she done very well she is starting to get a little pushy with the leash she is no longer extremely fearful of the sound of the tags clinging or the sound of the chain collar cinching up.  However, when she is interested in something she is starting to pull on the leash a little we will work on this over time but, the way she has been progressing, I don’t see any issues.  I allowed her to sniff and explore most of the side yard. She has recently taken up a vegan diet =), Seriously she loves vegetables and anything else green. Before we went inside I wanted to show you all how well she loads up and jumps out.

After our test run with the truck we came inside, just inside the door she sat on her own while I removed her leash.  She, immediately, retreated back to her safe couch.   I left her there off leash.  She was acting very strange this morning, periodically whining and whimpering, she was restless but the heavy breathing she has exhibited from day one has stopped.  Now, we are dealing with whines, restlessness and whimpering???  What is going on? I noticed on the floor there was a baby doll.  She was watching it and she would whine, and toss and turn, at one point she actually scooted her entire upper body off the couch sniffing the baby doll, you could see the concern in both her body language and in her eyes.  So i got up picked up the baby doll and laid it on the couch.  She immediately sniffed the baby, licked it and then sniffed the blanket where the REAL baby had laid yesterday.

So now the question stands is she familiar with babies was that why she was abandoned?  I seen nothing from her that would make me believe she ever harmed anyone.  However I can see her becoming possessive of the baby.  I tested her several times picking up the baby and holding it like a real baby rocking it and cradling it in my arms.  She showed much concern during all of this,I made sure to pick up the baby and lay the baby down again and again.  Several times we did this and each time she would investigate the baby.  at one point she scooted the baby to her never using her mouth she just scooted it.

Now, I haven’t mentioned this to anyone except Gisele and Jen, but Mystery’s teats are a tad bit saggy and her nipples show signs of being nursed.  She has birthed at least one litter possibly more.  I don’t believe she had puppies in the wild as she doesn’t appear to be retaining any milk.  So was she a breeder that didn’t mother her pups well?  Did she have an issue with a newborn family member?  Did she have a majority of deaf /blind puppies?  There are several scenarios that I can play out in my head in just a matter of minutes.  Added to the fact that we believe her to be partially visually impaired in her left eye, I am sure she has been misunderstood, mistreated and mistrusted.  While I would like to know what happened to her puppies and where she came from I can’t let that cloud the achievements we have already made or the rest of our goals.

On a brighter note we go to the groomer in the morning at 9. Pun intended. Cant wait to see how she does walking across that parking lot and in those doors.  To be honest I can’t wait to see their faces when they see her coming in that door walking on leash and following command.  I am going to talk to Serena to see if I cant snap a few pics during her bath.  I am most curious about how she is going to do without me there during a bath with a strange person all over her and even more so the blow dryer. Yikes!  Rest assured just as I done last time, I will  ensure that my girl is NOT taken outside, for any reason.  The only chances to be taken with this girl will be taken by me, I just don’t trust anyone else with her.  Can you blame me?  I mean even Gisele questioned my own sanity just yesterday. =)

Next time you see her she will hopefully be Brighter than bright, smellin’ pretty and CLEAN!

April 26th

We started our morning just as we always do only today is Spa Day!  We carried on with our morning routine and then I leashed her up, double leash.  She knew we were going to go somewhere, I leashed her with the dreaded chain leash. (The sight of the chain leash terrifies her)  We walked out front and loaded up in the truck.  On the way there I continued to reassure myself that this was going to be flawless.  I talked to her on the way there explaining that she was going to be walking out there and she is to walk like a big girl.

Once we arrived I asked my daughter to get out first I handed her my keys and my phone and she started to the door to be ready when Mystery and I got up there.  As I got out of the truck Mystery followed me flawlessly we stepped on the grass and she got a little fidgety and I corrected her.  We continued to walk forward once we reached the sidewalk she froze.  I asked her to come on and she of course complied.  She was hesitant but she listened.  We traveled up the stairs and to the door.  Jaidyn opened the door for us and I walked inside, mystery hesitated but with one “Com’on Girl let’s go!” she followed.  She was glued to my side as the other clients and especially employees of Newman Veterinary Centers watched in awe.  What an improvement from the last visit.  Afterall, she was brought in on a catch pole last time and left being carried out the back door to my truck.  As we started to sit down, Serena noticed us, she looked and looked again, we got several double takes as we entered the office.  What a big girl she was!

We sat waiting our turn she was nervous a couple of times she was on the chair next to me and I would put her down as she was not invited.  Once she decided my lap was a good place to be and again I placed her on the floor as I did not ask for her to be in my lap.  It was our turn now, Serena came over to say hello and sneak a pet or two Mystery was accepting looking back to me for reassurance.  I explained a few quirks to Serena, she took over the leash and they walked away (or at least Serena did).  Mystery was not liking the idea of leaving my side she fought Serena with every step of the way.  Serena was firm but kind, It was heartbreaking to watch her have such a hard time with leaving us, but she has to learn to trust other people.  She can do this I said to myself as I gathered my things and we left.

Serena called this afternoon and said that Mystery was ready to be picked up.  She reported “She done very well she freaked out about her bath but by the 3rd one she realized what was going on. Oh yeah and she is WHITE! Yay!”  I picked her up this evening because I had plans for after I picked her up.  When I arrived to get her Lani said to me “She looks so pretty!  I tried to pet her but she wouldn’t let me she moved away?”  I smiled and said, “Don’t worry you get her out here to me and I will let you pet her.”  Knowing now that she was being stubborn and treating them the way she had treated me in the wild.  I couldn’t wait to see the expression on Lani’s face when she seen the real Mystery the one that was hiding inside, behind the scared Mystery.  A few moments later Lani went back to get her.  I could hear her practically begging Mystery to cooperate and let her get her out of the cage.  Someone ended up helping her (stubborn? and aussie? NEVER!)  I could hear down the hallway Lani still begging and coaxing her out to the lobby I listened to the struggle long enough and I said “Hey Where are you? Come On Girl!, Mystery” then you could hear her tearing into the tile floors.  Was she dragging Lani?  Sure enough they rounded the corner and she WAS practically dragging poor Lani to get back to me!  I was videoing all of this for you to see (I apologize for the period of nothing but wall and floor, she knocked me down) she got close and Lani dropped the leash and she flew into my lap, Lani continued the video for me so you could see the excitement this girl had!  Lani got to see the real her and sat in amazement as she seen what the REAL Mystery was like, oh and yes, Lani got to pet her too.

Boy do I look and feel better!

We completed our paperwork and headed out.  We struggled a little on the way to the car she was confused and excited and just overwhelmed.  After a few HEY!’s she got it and we walked to the truck got in and we were going to visit my mom!  Unsure of how this would go she has never been here and there are several people over there my grandparents my brother, my mom and her husband.  SINK OR SWIM GIRL!   We arrived I ha`d Jaidyn make sure my moms dogs were outside, and we went inside.  After sniffing everything she crossed paths with she went to greet EVERYONE!  I was proud of her.  She even sat on the couch with my mom and grandmother eating pill pockets (Yes, pill pockets) and string cheese getting compliments on her beautiful coat and how soft and clean she was.  We visited for a while and then we headed home.  She had a BIG day today and handled it well considering.

I was a good girl Mum…

As we arrived home she seen the familiar sight of the trees in our driveway and she stood up in her seat you could see the happiness pouring out of her eyes!  She was THRILLED to be home. I have never seen her this Happy or Excited!  She is JOYFUL! It is so rewarding to know that I have helped her from the Terrified stray in the wild to a prospering family pet! Its amazing what a difference a little leadership and structure makes. =)

We’re almost HOME!!!




April 27th ~ It’s touching me!

It’s touching me!!!

Today was really just a lounge day. The only thing we did today was introduce the girls on leash out of the crates. They done well. A lot of avoidance but avoidance is good. They gave a few sniffs more Lola than Mystery but after a few moments they both sat down and somewhat relaxed! At one point Lola was closing her eyes because Mystery was touching her. Mom! It’s touching me!!! Get it away!!! Okay, If I close my eyes it will go away… Nope! It’s still touching me!




April 28th ~ What A Day!

I had a dinner commitment at Gisele’s house this evening. As I began to gather my things to leave, I thought, Hey! Why not take her. There are going to be a few people there that would love to meet her. So I grabbed yet again the chain leash and called her to come along. Once the leash was attached she remembered where we were going. She went straight for the front door. After getting through the door, she stopped wait for me to get the door closed. She loaded up perfectly, my son asked if he could tag along, she sat quietly in her passenger seat as he climbed in and buckled up (even when he shut his door). As I started the car and began to exit the driveway I thought I would test the waters a little, I rolled the window ALL THE WAY down. Would she try to jump? Would she get scared? How would she react?

She investigated the new sights, sounds and smells and laid down to enjoy the ride. She never lays down for an entire ride she will go back and forth sit, lay, sit, lay. She was especially nervous on this ride because my son was with us. She is,understandably, very unsure of him. He is a high strung six year old boy, who doesn’t always think before he acts. She is an amazing dog! Several times he has ran up behind her and touched her with both arms extended and she will whip around, and just when any scared dog would bite, she spins away from him and just moves away. She has so much patients and just aims to please!


On the drive to Gisele’s I found myself a little anxious about taking her someplace new. What will she do? How will she take to Gisele’s pack? I didn’t notice my level of anxiety until I looked over to her and noticed she was no longer riding comfortably she was panting, breathing heavy, her heart was racing and she was extremely nervous. It was then that I said out loud, “you know what? NEVERMIND all that! We are going to get out of the car and walk up here like a pro! You are going to do fine.” She settled back down and rode the rest of the way just looking out the window.

When we arrived to Gisele’s several people were already there. Les Paul was being adopted, and everyone was in the side yard. I heard Gisele ask Les Paul’s adopters if they had been following Mystery, they said “No?” Gisele responds, “There she sits!” pointing to my truck. I waited in the neighbors driveway until Les Paul and his new family left and then I pulled in. As Mystery and I got out of the truck and approached everyone, Mystery stuck to my side. Gisele asked me to pull forward so that Dusty and Sarah could move their cars to the driveway. I handed Gisele Mystery’s leash and asked Mystery to stay. With each step I took to my truck she became more and more concerned. Was I leaving her? Where was I going? Why isn’t she with me? She gave a few whimpers and managed to prance in the sitting position, but never took her eyes off of me. As Gisele stood there with her hand wrapped up in the leash prepared for a rodeo and ready to control with the other hand, I heard her say “She acts just like China!” and she does! China will do whatever it takes to be with her person, who just happens to be Giseles daughter, Sarah. When I started the truck she stood up. Gisele tightened her grip on the leashes. I pointed one last time and said “Stay!”. She did, as I pulled forward and shut the truck off I told Gisele to loosen her grip and just watch. Knowing that they were about to witness first hand just how HAPPY she is when I come back for her! I stepped out of the truck and shut the door and started to walk toward them she stood with her entire body shaking and she even gave another whimper!

We see dogs everyday that have no joy, dogs in the shelters, puppy mills, dogs that weren’t ever family dogs. We see them do miraculous things we see them make changes we never expected but I think all of us, myself included, are in awe about the multitude of her devotion and will to do ANYTHING I ask of her. She has such a STRONG personality and a KIND HEART! She really is a GOOD GIRL! Well now that the show was over, we needed to figure out where we were going to sit. The back yard it is! and we will introduce one dog of the pack at a time. Mystery and I went through the side yard into the back yard and sat down to wait for everyone else. When I chose a chair she claimed the ottoman. Okay fine, as long as you aren’t in my lap that is fine with me. A few moments later everyone came out. With her being in a strange place she cringed when the door opened and when people started out the door she took one good leap and was in my lap with her head buried under my arm. They can’t see her there ya know. I removed her from my lap and placed her back onto the ottoman. We let Ozzie (Gisele’s brainless Border Collie) out the door he walks up to sniff her and she jumps with every sniff. I am correcting but it is too much she can’t handle it she leaps back into my lap yet again. Afraid of her CLAIMING me more than being afraid, I remove her once again, and place her back on her ottoman and ask Ozzie to leave her alone for now. While Ozzie is playing frisbee with my son and chasing squirrels she is watching closely to everything that is going on.

We let BoBo out, she did a lot of the same things but BoBo kept his distance and I was able to prevent her from leaping into my lap. After a little while she looked to me and I called her to my lap (on my terms), she of course accepted the invitation. She sat for some time when Gisele suggested we get a crate and set it out on the porch and let her have the crate for comfort and let her meet the girls of the pack. Dusty and Gisele brought out a crate for her, I got her a blanket and a toy and she went into her crate we let out Lady Di and China. As Lady Di approached the crate I could see Mystery cower but her body language told me she was going to growl. So I gave an “Aat!” She looked at me and I said “Be Nice, NO GROWLING!” She laid her head down and dealt with it. When China approached barking at her (China cant hear herself she is deaf) Mystery gave a growl, I corrected her. Gisele said let her growl. Lady Di approached them head and tail held high, letting everyone know she is LARGE AND IN CHARGE! Moments later Mystery had calmed down a little not as stressed and China approached again Sarah B. watched Lady Di get up and correct China, telling her to leave Mystery alone!

We had many conversations about how I caught her what led up to where we are today. How did I go from a dog who was afraid of her own shadow to this in just 3 weeks? A lot of HARD work and repetition. Stopping behaviors before they start, and reading her body language it requires a lot of attention to subitle messages given by Mystery. Not many people know how to properly read the body language of a dog, it was imperative that I properly read what she is telling me each time, one misunderstanding and it could end in disaster. I was fortunate with Mystery she is very caring and tolerant.

When it was time to eat I brought Mystery to a crate inside the house. She could not see me from her crate from the moment I sat down she whined and BARKED! I remember Dusty making the statement that she barked like a little girl. She does have a rather prissy bark. As we continued to eat I shushed her several times, she would stop for a second and then bark again. Normally when she whines like that she is thirsty, so I gave her a bowl of water, she drank it and then started again. What? Really! Why won’t you be quiet? I happened to glance over at the stove it was six o’clock on the dot! She was hungry! Yes, she still eats at six o’clock on the dot. I got up once again from the dinner table and gave her food, but she wasn’t happy that she wasnt in her crate at home with her bowl of food. The minute I placed the food in her crate she took her nose and dumped it out! She is hungry but, she wasn’t interested in that food (its the same as hers) and she wasn’t eating out of that bowl! I took her outside for a minute and then brought her back in and put her in the crate. What does she do? She lays down and waits patiently for me to tell her it is time to go HOME!

Finally! I could sit down and finish my dinner. I had to hurry though I had other plans and Mystery wasn’t going to wait patiently, forever. I finished my dinner and said my goodbye’s. Outside Dusty and Sarah were able to pet her and tell her goodbye, she stayed close to me but was happy to get a pet or two from the strangers. She has done so well today, with the new environment, and all the new people/dogs touching her. We loaded up in the car and off we went.

I had to stop at Autozone on the way home, I didnt think they would appreciate her joining me inside so I asked my son to get out first and then I snuck out. She watched me through the store window until I disappeared and she began to pace back and forth, back and forth, front seat, back seat, passenger side to driver side. My son watched her from the window as I grabbed what I needed practically running through the store.


I did it!

With the employees looking at me like I was absolutely NUTS, I explained the short version of her story they were amazed! She acted as if she had been with me forever, once she regained sight of me through the storefront, she settled back down and waited patiently never taking her eye off me. We completed our purchase and my son and I left the store trying to figure out how we were going to go about getting back in. I asked him to wait until I got in and got ahold of her before he opened his door, he did just that and it worked flawlessly. She is very observant in the car and she doesn’t miss a beat! We neared our STREET and she sat up, I’m almost Home!!!

Inside she was more than ready to retreat to dinner in her OWN BOWL! What a Day we had, but a GREAT DAY!

April 29th ~ Getting to know you…


Today we worked a little more with introducing Lola and Mystery!  We lounged around the house, we are still working on laying on the floor and not on the couch.  Don’t get me wrong she will at every given chance LEAP onto the couch and hide her face.  If she buries her head in the blanket its okay because I wont see her, Right?  She is getting pretty good at getting down when I tell her to, a big improvement from before when I had to literally pick her up and move her.  The girls have done very well over the last few days and today, I will take a big risk and I am going to turn them out and see what happens.

Finally starting to relax!

April 30th ~ Remind me not to do that again!

Coming soon! Update coming in the morning.


May 1st ~ Patio Picnic, Anyone?

Coming soon! Update in the morning.


Sarah and China, Fall of 2010

Recap Mystery 05/10/13:  Gisele here!  I’m stepping in here, to write a bit out Brittney and her Mystery.  If you have been a TDL follower for a while, you know the story about China, and my daughter Sarah.  You’ll remember that  on Christmas day of 2010, I gave China to my daughter as a Christmas present – meaning she was no longer available for adoption.  It was the only time that my family used the word “keep” and I listened.

While in foster care, China truly created an incredible bond with my daughter.  Even though Sarah asked me several times a day if we could keep China, it wasn’t until I saw this photo that I realized that it was my daughter that needed the dog, almost as much as the dog needed my daughter!  China gave Sarah self-esteem, and unconditional love.  Even though three years have passed, Sarah adores her dog, does everything for her, and we love her.

Brittney was working at Newman Veterinary Centers when I brought China in to be spayed.  She remembers how scared China was, and Brittney fell in love with her.  Months later, Brittney and I became friends, and she came to my home to meet China again.  China was still afraid.  It took several visits before China trusted Brittney, and of all of the gorgeous dogs I have had come through my home, China is truly one of Brittney’s favorites.  Is Mystery Brittney’s China?

The Keep Look!


When I was looking through Brittney’s photos last week, I saw it.  That one photo where the dog’s expression (Mystery’s) was that look I have been waiting for – the “Keep” look!

Oh sure, I tease Brittney about keeping Mystery, and we have discussed it a few times, but no decision has been made either way.  However, last night, I really pushed the envelope.   It’s time for Brittney to give this a lot of thought, just like I did three years ago!


05/12/13 Happy Mother’s Day!  It is official. Mystery is Brittney’s for keepsies. “I could never let her go. I thought many times about how an adoption would go and all I could think about was Dale’s Winter and Sarah’s China… I just can’t do it! We built each other… and she is, believe it or not, an inspiration for me!” Brittney said this morning.

Brittney, her Mother Brenda, and her new dog, Mystery!
Here is Brittney, and her Mother Brenda, and her new dog, Mystery!

Welcome to The Dog Liberator Mystery!

From time to time, we do update Mystery’s Photo album on Facebook, so for the latest updates, visit her album!

08/29/13:  Completely off leash in a strange area with nothing but thick brush and dunes surrounding us! Mystery did great! ~ Brittney Myers
08/29/13: Completely off leash in a strange area with nothing but thick brush and dunes surrounding us! Mystery did great! ~ Brittney Myers

7 thoughts on “Brittney’s Mystery

  1. I would be interested in Mystery when she becomes available for adoption. I have a 4 yr old male tri Black Aussie named Winston that would be a great companion to her. Please let me know what the possibilities are. I live in Jacksonville Fla. and would be willing to come down and spend some time with her to assess our compatibility. You can view Winston on my face book page Time Line. Thank you Joseph

  2. Oh my goodness, just read Mystery’s story to date. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into catching this beautiful girl. I look forward to following her progress. I have no doubt she will be perfectly fine and eternally grateful in due time.

  3. Smiling from ear to ear with the progress the last few days! You have certainly become her safe place. She is just gorgeous and her eyes say so much. Mystery has a big fan here in South Florida!

  4. Brittney , you are an inspiration for Dog Lovers to be so dedicated to go through so much to help this little girl. She looks so much like the Aussie we lost a year ago named Molly. Will continue to track her progress which I’m sure will take some more time.

  5. Only your mother knew… you were teaching each other, that is why I said to you… I think it is you more than her, I had given you time to build the courage, but I know you… I raised you… you never ever back down from a challenge… so I challenged you with that statement… It was food for thought… for you… and you responded exactly as I thought you would… and you are now moving forward with this adventure. Mothers often nudge their young… 🙂 Love you … Mom

  6. Loved this update! Reminded me of something that happened to us. When we found our dog Gomer it was clear he had been on his own for a while and was so thankful to be in our home. We had a trip planned not long after we found him and had to board him at our vet’s office. I was so worried he was going to think we abandoned him there. When we came to pick him up he literally jumped up into my husband’s arms. He was SO happy to see us.

    Anyway, Mystery’s reaction to you reminded me of that. She looks fabulous and seems to be making such great progress with you. =)

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