Friday, 13 July 2012

Foster Failing 101 - Do not Choose your "Ideal Type"

Talla & Cosmo
By Kori Gray

I have been involved with MMDR almost since the beginning as a foster, now Volunteer Coordinator.

Growing up our family dog was a little Maltese named Buster. I loved him but could never imagine having another little white yappy dog. I LOVE big mutts and have a 10 year old 140lb dog named Beau….now that is my kind of dog!

Last spring I was asked if I could come pick up a Miniature American Eskimo to foster. There were several Eskies brought into care at the time that were pulled from an animal hoarding situation. I did not know what to expect as I have seen some awful cases involving animal hoarding. My mother came with me to pick up the dog as I did not have a kennel and wanted someone to hold onto the dog in the car. When we got to the director Sara’s house to pick the dog up, we had to wait a few minutes for Sara to pull the dog out from under the table she was hiding under - she was petrified. The dog was Lilly, a three year old mini Eskie. We took her for a walk around the block so she could get used to us before putting her in the car. She was so afraid I was expecting her to growl, or bite but she just sat there, she would not look us in the eye. She sat on my mom’s lap for the ride and at one point my mom said ‘If this dog could commit suicide she would’…If you saw the expression on Lilly’s face you would have agreed. When we brought her home, she ran in straight to the farthest corner and backed into it. When she walked she would scale the walls, I think she was used to being trampled and that was her ‘safe’ way to get around. After one night she was in totally in love with our big dog Beau, every morning she would wake up, run to Beau and clean his ears and eyes for him. I do not know if Beau enjoyed this but he let her get away with it. Lilly slowly began to come out of her shell, she would want to be in the same room as us but we still weren’t able to reach down to pet her without her running from us. She found a new friend in our cat Cosmo and tried to follow him all over the place. Lilly would follow Beau around and we could see that he was showing her the ropes. She obviously needed a lot of patience and time to come around and reach her full potential. 

We had Lilly in foster for a few months and eventually decided that we would adopt her. I honestly felt that no one would be able to work with her or make the same progress as us (which is naive) but we felt that another move would traumatize her...which is silly but we had made so much progress I felt the need to see it through. It has now been over a year since the adoption, Lilly is now called ‘Talla’, she is such a joy, she is smart, sociable and having a blast going out to the cottage and parks with all her dog buddies. She still has some fear issues when she is in the house but is getting so much better every day. She sneaks into the bed and forces us to put a hand on her head while she sleeps and is so eager to learn new tricks. She can dance, walk on her back legs, bow, spin, “leave it”, and much more. She is a great addition to our family and we are so glad that she came into our lives.

It goes to show you that you may have a certain type of dog in mind but you never know what shape or size the perfect dog for you will end up being, take a chance, I bet you will be happy you did!

Talla, Beau, Ella & Franko

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