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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Return of the Dog Woman

A few years ago, after I'd moved into my town home association, I went to an annual board meeting where I met a few of my neighbors.

As a couple neighbors and I introduced ourselves to each other, we discussed our pets and one of them asked if I was the one with the "two big dogs".

Ayup. "I'm the Dog Lady,"

They both immediately nodded enthusiastically, commenting on how they'd seen me with my two canines.


That's when I realized the truth about myself:  I grew up to be the neighborhood Dog Woman.


Well, then my greyhound got bone cancer and one day as I helped him limp around our building to relieve himself, a neighbor stopped her van and asked me what was wrong with him. I told her sadly that he had cancer and didn't have much time.

And it wasn't much time....a week after that he was gone. And on that day, while I was getting the mail, another neighbor asked me how he was...and I had to tell him I'd had to put him down that very day.

Dang, I still cry just THINKING about it!

For a long time, I've considered fostering as I know I can handle two dogs in my house, albeit within certain limitations.  As you recall, a few weeks ago I wrote about this possibility. I knew back when I lost my greyhound and I know now that I can't afford to adopt another dog, but it costs me nothing but time, space, and a little piece of my heart to foster.

Well, it seems my application has been conditionally approved, although the first dog slated for me apparently never made it to Minnesota.  This weekend, though, I received a call about another shipment, and one dog  in particular the organization thought would work in my little household.

The dog in question belonged to a breeder who decided he was of no more use to him, so he dumped him off at a local shelter. Apparently this discarded stud is sweet, gentle, and shy, just in need of a good home.  As he's older he'd probably do well in my own quiet abode.

Of course I read his story and turned into a big ball of mush, as I do with so many discarded-pet tales.  As it is, I'm the 4th or 5th owner of my current German Shepherd, and seriously don't understand what others thought was "wrong" with her. I know part of her story and even met a past owner (that's an awesome tale), but the rest....BAH!

All I can say is:   What is WRONG with people????

So I said yes to this, and I'm going to try my hand as a "foster Mom" for dogs. 

Now, I know some troll is going to come by and insinuate that I hate children or don't find abused children to be so compelling as I'm not fostering THEM, etc. etc.  (There seems to be one such troll in every crowd).  So let me just head that question off:

 I am a single woman and the fact that I love animals and am available to foster dogs doesn't mean I'd be a good foster MOTHER, adoptive MOTHER or that I'm called to MOTHERHOOD at all.

And the last time I checked, it's not lawful to lock a child up in a kennel and go to work all day.

However, the treatment above is RECOMMENDED for dogs and I'm actually equipped for that.  I also seem to have a talent with abused and discarded animals, so maybe it's time I put it back into use. Some person or family will one day benefit, but for now, I'm making room in my home and my heart for another pet.

This is going to be hard, I suspect, as is anything worthwhile.

The dog in question does have a name, but I always swore that if I got another German Shepherd, and more specifically, a male, I'd name him Benedict after our dear Papa, our German Shepherd.

So from here on out, this dog  to come will be known as Benedict I, or "Ben" for short, maybe to be followed by other "Ben's".  We'll see how this one goes first.

I guess the Dog Woman is back.

** Note: Pictured above is my dog, not the "Unknown Benedict I"


sandy said...

Good for you!Looks like any dog could not have a better foster home!

Melody K said...

"... the last time I checked, it's not lawful to lock a child up in a kennel and go to work all day." LOL! That just struck me funny; yeah, fostering a child would be a WAY bigger responsibility.
It's neat to watch an animal come out of its shell and be happy again. We adopted two cats from the shelter a couple of years ago. They were from the same household. The shelter manager said the owners had to give them up because one of the children had severe allergies; said the lady was crying when she left them. The male cat is a big teddy-bear who wears his heart on his sleeve, and his heart was broken. He spent the first week with us hiding in the furnace room. Then gradually he started to trust us, and we found that he had a completely different personality than the one we first saw. I know the former owner's name from the vaccination records; I have thought about sending her a picture of them and writing a note that they are doing very well and not to worry. But maybe I should just let it go.
The only bad part about adopting a pet is that you know you will get your heart broken, they don't live as long as people. That's one advantage of fostering, you don't have to go through that. Good luck with your venture; I'm sure it will be rewarding!

Charlene C. Duline said...

Adoro, the naming of your foster baby reminds me of when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in a village in Peru. My roommate and I named one of our dogs, "JFK." One day the school principal asked us why didn't we like our president. We said we loved our president. He asked, "Then why on earth would you name a dog after him!" We explained that it was in honor of the president that we named the dog for him. The look he gave us told us that we had just confirmed his notion that Americans were indeed crazy!
Bring on Benedict I. Can't wait to see him!

Abbey said...

Bravo! You know your limitations and you adhere to them. Adoption, animal or human, is HUMANE! Doing one's part in the world cannot be judged in terms of big or small, animal or human . . . Happy New Year!

Adoro said...

Sandy ~ Thanks, I hope so!

Melody ~ Yeah...I don't think I'm even CLOSE to being equipped to foster a child and being a single woman, well, I think children need an actual family. Although of course I realize foster homes are often not ideal (I know lots of horror stories, actually) But...I digress.

It IS fun to watch a pet "bloom". Once adopted a dog who had been in a shelter for over 18 months. He was a handful of separation anxiety and fear aggression. Worked with him, ended up giving him up to my ex-boyfriend, who got married, had a little girl, and that dog ADOPTED that precious baby! Right there...that was the real reward. I watched him learn to be a dog again. But in being a real dog, he found his place as a very special guardian. Unfortunately he died of a heart tumor that burst. :-( Saber was a very good dog.

My grey was pretty shy when I adopted him, but became the "welcoming committee" at meet and greets in local pet stores. I'm guessing a lot of greys were adopted because of his ambassadorship, in part!

And my German Shepherd...we had some tough times in the beginning but she is my girl, very loyal and I think she's more teddy bear than dog (at least as much as a GSD can be! lol)

Melody.....also, I happened to meet my current dog's owner's the story:

Charlene ~ lol, must be a cultural thing! We tend to name our pets after people and things we love and respect the most! :-) So much of the world things dogs are dirty creatures (and they would be if we didn't keep them clean!) :-)

Abbey ~ Oh, yes, and to be clear, I'm not adopting this time, but fostering so that someone else can adopt this dog. Of course, the danger with fostering is that maybe he won't be adopted so in effect will become my dog.

To that, I say: God's will be done!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

God bless your kindness

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Oh you are a wonderful woman! These poor animals need loving homes. I don't understand the "use them and leave them" type on any level.

Fostering is awesome, but I know I couldn't let the cutie pie leave if it lived under my roof for any length of time. We were lucky to be able to adopt our pound dog, Sallie, the sweetest thing in the world!

That said, I will need advice when our 13 year old Shiba Inu passes on. She has been with me through everything, and I don't know what I will do without her when she goes on to her next phase of life, whatever that might be.

Adoro said...

Oh, Cathy....I'm not kind, I'm just mush!

Katherine ~ Well, I'm a bit afraid I'm going to get very attached to the dog that's coming. Then again, he could be a huge pain in the keister and I might be thrilled to see him go! LOL! We'll see. But the reality is that I can't afford another dog right now, and my life is very likely to drastically change in the next couple years so it would be best for all if I DON'T adopt another dog.

But help out as a waystation? Sure! It's a legitimate need and heck, my carpets and furniture area already crap so what's the difference? :-)

Sara said...

Great job! Fostering is very rewarding but it is hard letting them go. I am on Number 11 foster greyhound - Rocky, a big lump of a lad that is as soft as pie. We have had him since September - he will be safe and loved with us until a forever home is found for him.

Owen said...

A beauty. Who knows what further lessons God will have through this dear animal. St. Francis pray for us.

Adoro said...

Owen ~ lol - as noted, the dog in the picture is NOT the one I'm gettng. It's MY dog, my current one who is a permanent fixture at my house.

I'll update pics of the foster dog when he comes. :-)

nazareth priest said...

Dogs and cats, unfortunately, are expendable in this culture...children, as well, born and unborn.
We have two very high-strung dogs here and some days, well, the pound looks mighty good...but I could never, NEVER give them over.
As obnoxious as they can be, they don't deserve that.
We took them and promised to care for them and do the best we can.
Animals are not a replacement for children; no way. But they have a part of God's plan in our lives.
Our dogs are loving and very sensitive and yet, they are a pain at times.
Great post!

Mary333 said...

I have two dogs. I used to have a third named Callie but she had cancer, too. I held her in my arms when they put her down, I literally cried for weeks so I know how hard this can be. Like you, it still hurts to think about it. I think it's great to foster a dog, Adoro. They are so lovable and sweet. I have one dog who is a little terror, he is a schipperke [they call them demon spawn at one online site], but even though he is a handful he is still a little love.

Owen said...

"A beauty." I was referring to the post, not the dog photo :) I should have been more clear. Being mostly away from the Internet during the tale en3d of Advent and nearly all of Christmas has been excellent but my online talking skills have dulled some.

Adoro said...

Mary ~ I held my greyhound's head as he died when we put him to sleep. But my heart had been breaking for weeks while I watched the cancer eat him away. It was almost a relief but I STILL cry!

Owen - no worries, internet is always hard and often disconnected!