The Taming of the Shrew (Meet Marcy)

Marcy’s is an interesting story unlike any I have encountered before.  Born on the street, to parents unclear, in a not so nice section of town, she is a pint-sized girl, a survivor of distemper (per vet observations of her enamel) and despite her small size, a survivor of the street.

I have posted to the Run A Muck Ranch Facebook page, sniglets of Marcy’s life in captivity, and as happens on social media, comments were posted.  One comment to one post stands out the most.  Underlined emphasis added by me:

“Wow, heart breaking to see a puppy sooo scared, but bless you for taking  Marcy in.  Time will heal her and even she will realize how beautiful she is.”

Here’s the thing:  Marcy already knows she’s “All that” and there is nothing in her life that she needs healing from.

Marcy has never been mistreated by humans. She hasn’t had much use for them in her life other than occasional handouts.   It’s kind of hard to mistreat a dog you can’t even get close to.


Marcy on the street, before she was trapped.   She looks very young in this picture.
Marcy on the street, before she was trapped. She looks very young in this picture.


Somehow, this tiny girl survived on the streets, living off garbage, and yes, food was provided by people from time to time, but for the most part, she was on her own – for around 8 months – and she really didn’t have a problem with it.

Marcy’s tribulations began the day she followed a hot dog trail into a live trap.  Once trapped, she was whisked away from the only life she knew, one of freedom, and one she was pretty happy with, and forced to live in a building, closer to humans than she would ever voluntarily choose, and all the absolute freedom she had, was gone forever.

In 2012, a local organization SOS Project (Save Our Strays), a program of Pittie Me Rescue, realized a need in a South Phoenix neighborhood.  Dogs were dumped there on a regular basis, most, if not all, unaltered.  And the unchecked  breeding created yet more dogs.    Many of these dogs were shot or poisoned by persons unknown, and others were removed by scum trolling for bait dogs.  Those that escaped those tragic ends continued to breed.

SOS, working with the local residents, began a program wherein dogs were trapped, placed in foster care, and eventually rehomed.  Additionally, SOS worked with residents to get their own pets altered.


Marcy when she was handed off to me.  She was transported in the trap.  We had to get her out of the trap and a collar on her in a closed garage.  Look at those eyes!
Marcy when she was handed off to me. She was transported in the trap. We had to get her out of the trap and a collar on her in a closed garage. Look at those eyes!


All told, in it’s first year, SOS was able to capture 74 stray dogs.  To give you an idea of the scope of the stray dog problem:  These 74 dogs were removed from a neighborhood of less than 4 blocks.  If you do the math on that, that is approximately 17 dogs per block, and those 17 were 17 that survived.

Marcy was #73 of the 74 captured.  She was believed to be the last of a litter born 3 months prior.

So, the question is, did SOS do a bad thing?  Ask the residents living in a 17 stray dogs per block neighborhood, and the answer would be NO!    Ask the 74 dogs that are still alive, the ones that were taken away from a very high probability of death due to unnatural causes, and I would think 73 of them would say THANK YOU SOS!   Ask Marcy her opinion a couple weeks ago, and she would shake her raised paw in defiance and say “My life was just fine before you messed it up! ”



When Marcy came into our home, we had serious doubts as to whether we were helping her.  Her terror was absolute.  It was worse than the fear an abused dog shows.  For the first 48 hours, she trembled non-stop.  Her eyes and the fear in them was awful.  For nearly a week we had to carry her due to her ‘leash terrors’ and where ever we placed her, she never moved an inch from voluntarily.  It got to the point we started calling her “The Paper Weight”.

At the time, the discussion was had as to whether she would be better off at a sanctuary, away from a lot of physical contact with humans.  We were going to give her a few weeks, and if she didn’t settle down, SOS and/or other interested parties were going to find a sanctuary to take her.



As we fast forward through the 3 weeks she has lived with us, our doubts are gone.  There is no way Marcy would be happy in a sanctuary, but there are certain tweaks to her new life:

Marcy prefers inside to outside, and she loves a good dog bed.

If Marcy is outside, and she wants inside, where before she used to throw herself against the door, now she scratches, loud and impatiently.

Eating on a regular basis works for her too, though she still won’t pass up an opportunity to launch herself into a dog food bag or garbage between meals if she can.



Perhaps her most favorite part of domestication is being inducted into The Idiot Group of Run A Muck Ranch.

All that being said, she would still prefer the 2 legged residents move elsewhere.

Yup, though it was 2 leggeds that brought Marcy to a new life, one she seems pretty happy with, she still finds them to be a bother.  Other than the hallway, just inside the back door, (she really can’t get away since the hallway is pretty narrow),  we can’t approach her without her running away.  While the act of ear scratching is heaven to Marcy, in her mind the pre-capture, or the entry into her personal space by a human is Hell.  That Hell being the reason she is not so sure, she really NEEDS ear scratches.

The intent was to tame this little shrew and then rehome her.  Problem is, how many people out there will accept a dog into their family that will scream like a banshee on a leash?  Marcy is absolutely adorable… who wouldn’t want to cuddle her?  Problem is, in Marcy world, humans have only 2 purposes: opening doors for her and feeding her.  Note that picking up, cuddling and petting are NOT on the list.   Not so good on a resume for a dog looking for a home.



SOS will list Marcy as adoptable, but we are not holding our breath.   We don’t blame the rescue for not knowing Marcy’s condition.  74 stray dogs, in a very small area does not a lot of personal relationships make.  SOS believed Marcy was from a certain litter.  We were ALL stunned to find out she was significantly older.    The fact that this petite little girl survived so long on her own is a testament to her abilities, sans humans,  To be that strong and independent her whole life, who can blame her if she isn’t rushing so fast when 2 leggeds are telling her she has to do what THEY want.

I am not announcing a new permanent resident to Run A Muck Ranch at this time.  Who knows, maybe there is a home out there, with existing fun dogs that will accept her for who she is.  The purpose of The Marcy Chronicles category of this blog are for people who might be interested in her.  I want to show the good, the bad and the ugly so they will know what they are getting into.

But know this:  If no one steps up who wants to add Marcy to their family, she is safe and accepted right where she is.  Good for Marcy, bummer for SOS.  Afterall, who else is going to keep a dog that they can barely touch?  We already have 12 we can’t beat off with stick, do you really think it bothers us that Marcy prefers to stay away from OUR personal space???  I am sure SOS will encounter more Marcys.  If Marcy stays with us, we can’t foster for them.

Some of the videos you have seen were kind of disturbing.  There are some fun ones on their way, all absent any humans.

15 thoughts on “The Taming of the Shrew (Meet Marcy)

  1. I’m glad that you took Marcy in, knowing that it will be an uphill battle. Maybe (hopefully) with a lot of time and patience she will learn to accept more from humans. From what you’ve posted before she’s already come far.

    1. She’s come a LONG way! Finding a family that will be patient with her will be difficult. If it takes too long, the mutal attatchment problem will override the need to rehome her. Still, you may find this hard to believe, but we reallly don’t need another permaent kid.

  2. Marcie’s history is quite a bit like Litchi’s. Litchi could not be touched, was perceived as people aggressive (due to her fear) and wanted only the company of other canines. Now she wants people most, adores getting loves (although always faces away from you to get them) and I use her in large groups of children to teach them animal body language. Things can change. It’s just a smidgen harder with dogs that have grown up without human contact. Good for you for taking her in. Looking forward to the updates.

    1. Marcy will be fine and if she ends up staying here, we will be beating her off with a stick at some point in the future. Emmi took 5 months, and part of the reason she was so ‘easy’ was that for the first couple, she couldn’t walk. The problem with kids like these, on a rehome situation, is that 99.9% want instant cuddlefication. Marcy will take time. Hopefully the 0.01% that will give it to her will find her.

  3. I see what you mean about treating an abused dog as easier- somewhere there must have been a “good human” and you can build on that. With Marcy it is much more difficult as she has never had much contact with humans good or bad.

    1. Exactly Edgar! We have no prior memory to work from. It is a little scarey knowing that WE are the memory she will build on to decide whether people are ok or not. Hopefully we do well!

  4. This is such a great blog and great way to let potential adopters know more about Marcie and what she needs! Hope all is well with you, the crabby man, William and all the other dogs… 🙂

  5. The next time someone says that you are insane (Which you always have been), just tell them that your Dad is very proud of you and Dan.

    1. Easy enough for anyone to do… I’m sure there is a pound near you where you can get Harley a project sibling. Just saying…

      1. Your Mother has a lot to say on things like that. Remember, this is the same Mother who refused to take a 3 week 50th anniversary trip because she would not leave Harley in a kennel. So, there are other factors involved.

      2. Hey, the way I see it, if you aren’t going anywhere anyway, why not get Harley a sibling?

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