We sure don’t have to look very far to see tragedy and madness around us. The loss of balance at every level seems to be dominating, as well as threatening my/our world. I guess it was a need to do something familiar, to feel like I can affect change, to step out of my day-to-day frustrations, that got me looking into the eyes of some of the dogs available for adoption at our local shelter.
I called the Director and offered to foster a dog that needed a hand. I talked it over with my furry fam and they agreed that it would be OK to bring in the “right” dog.
I visited the Shelter to meet Grunt, a wonderfully rambunctious Lab mix that I decided would over run all of us. Next was Cody, a foxhound mix that was pleasant … but when I released him in the shelter play yard – and he leapt a good 6 feet up onto the 8 foot fence, I worried that he would soar over my 5 foot fence and never look back. So I called the Director again and said I needed to stick to a dog under 25 pound that got along with dogs and cats. Nothing like a picky foster Mom.
She suggested I meet Lady Bug, a little beagle that was picked up as stray. Lady Bug had had a major hernia and had been through 2 surgeries to correct things. She was terrified and it was difficult to get her to eat. She joined my little ark on the evening of March 6.
Things got worse for her before they got better. I have to admit that I rushed her meeting with my gang and nine noises sniffing and welcoming her was just too much. She set a few boundaries to back the gang off. I needed a strategy – I needed to go back to my basic training tools for really wary dogs … and with a plan in hand, we all committed to making it work.
Almost 2 weeks later, I am so happy to report that Lady Bug is totally integrated with the group. After refusing to eat her first three days here, I finally cooked up some pork to get her rethinking the whole “I’m not eating” thing, and she has figured that out. She even almost understands about not doing her business in the house.
I would guess that Lady Bug was in someone’s hunting pack, and when the hernia developed, he just conveniently didn’t bring her home from a hunt one day. The Shelter folks think she is around six years old. She is learning now how to be a companion, how to trust that not all people are mean, and that life can be fun.
She loves to chase her tail. She tries to get the others to play, but so far they are not buying in to that. I think her early warning system on day 1, while never repeated, planted a seed of respect in my normally playful group. They don’t play maybe, but they let her snuggle and run with them with no problems. They are not even jealous when she sits on my lap. My guys are so awesome.
My hope is that in teaching her how to live in a house – that we are preparing her for her forever home. My hope is that this is not her forever home, but she is welcome here for as long as it takes, and that maybe as she goes to a wonderful home, we can help another dog. My hope is that we all find balance in our lives. My greatest hope is that you will take this tale and give it some thought … that maybe there is room at your hearth and in your heart to help a dog (or cat) from your local shelter. Nothing puts life in better perspective then giving a hand to another living creature in need.
And BTW, Lady Bug is available through the Orange County Animal Shelter, along with Grunt and Cody. Here is some contact info.