Catching Up With Nadya

Nadya is a little Chihuahua mix female who was part of Martha Stewart’s pack on Dead Dog Beach. On the beach, Nadya was so skittish and scared I could never capture a good photo of her! Here she is, the little dark shadow following Bo and Martha everywhere. Those three were extremely bonded.

Chrissy and I spent countless hours trying to socialize with the entire pack… Mostly in vain, until Bianca managed to catch Julia (whose puppies made it to the Puppy Bowl, remember?). Unfortunately, Bo and Martha died on the beach before we could rescue them. Chrissy and I were heartbroken. And we knew that without her pack Nadya was alone to fend for herself. One of her back leg seemed broken or underdeveloped, which made her even more exposed to abuse.

Suddenly, she started bonding with one of the local fishermen who ultimately helped our team rescue Nadya. This is a photo of them hanging out on the beach.

After her stay at our vet’s office, she flew to New York and got adopted by a lovely family in Manhattan. I was really wondering how she was going to adjust to city life, and to being surrounded by people.

Last Sunday Nadya, now called Lea, came to my studio with her mom Nicole, for her official Sato Project headshot. After a few minutes of gauging me, she starting warming up as I handed her treats. I asked Nicole how Lea was adjusting to her new life, and she shared the most precious stories with me. Lea is still shy with people, but she does this funny thing: she will maintain a deep, sustained eye contact with whomever she meets. Most people think she is asking for attention, but as soon as you approach your hand she shies away. Lea looked deep in my eyes. Those eyes are saying so much. It’s quite something… Lea is still afraid of men, like many satos who’ve suffered abuse, but she is working hard at becoming Nicole’s husband best friend! Lea is clearly very bonded with Nicole. When she finds a chicken bone on the street, instead of eating it she brings it to Nicole. She also shares toys and treats with her new mom. The cutest story Nicole shared with me is this one: Lea loves “burying” treats in a blanket that’s on the family couch. She digs around like she is still on the beach, pushing the sand with her nose. Nicole captured it in this sweet video. We are very proud of Nadya/Lea, and how far she’s come! That kind of happy ending fuels our work.

Sophie Gamand