“Adel is a fox princess,” says Janna, one of Adel’s caregivers. "She is pretty and poised and, in her opinion, perfect. She steps lightly and is golden red like a fox. While she is secretive like a fox, she’s also very curious and likes to know what's going on. When she is feeling brave enough she'll choose to engage.”

I met Adel at Maggie’s Mercantile (her home at the Sanctuary) with her run mate Ratchet. Ratchet has never met a stranger, so he helps Adel be brave by modeling people-are-awesome behavior for her to see. She’s come a long way in the one and a half years she’s been with us.

Dogs with limited social exposure like Adel need more time and help figuring out how to live with people. Adel is moving along at her own pace and making great progress. She was a little nervous meeting me, but she accepted treats (which means she wasn’t so scared she couldn’t eat) and accepted gentle pets after a few minutes. She can get spooked and will alarm bark. In the past when she was inadvertently pushed, this fox-like creature has been known to give an unfamiliar person a solid muzzle punch, but not today. Today, Adel felt pretty comfortable and enjoyed her one-on-one time in the sun with her caregivers and me.

Caregivers work with Adel to help her feel braver. It’s hard work that requires skill and more than a little patience. But Adel is a wonderful example that slow and steady works when building confidence. Adel will always retain some of her fox-like secretive ways. It’s part of her nature, but it’s also endearing and a trait that her eventual forever family will love and cherish ― right along with her rich fluffy red coat, giant ears and soft sweet eyes.