Meet my new foster, Chelsea:
Chelsea came to the rescue group with her litter mates, when she was around 5 months old. At that time, she had not had any socialization, training, etc. Due to this, they were all very timid and scared. Now, obviously by the picture above, you can see that Chelsea is not 5 months old. That is because she was adopted out to a family as a puppy. Chelsea is now around 2 years old, and has been returned to the rescue. Basically Chelsea was last on their priority list, and she was living most of her life in a kennel because no one had the time for her. Probably not the best thing for an already timid dog, right?!
I can not wrap my head around the lack of loyalty and committment people have these days. I’m not saying I ALWAYS follow through, and I am not even close to being perfect. But I do my best to be there when I say I will be, I try to show loyalty and love to those closest to me, and I help others when I can. I also try to pass the important life lessons on to the next generation, via my son. I teach him about respect, committment, following through, and helping. Again, everyone makes mistakes and has regrets, including me. To bring this back to dogs, I know that things happen. Unexpected life events can turn your world upside down. That, I get. In those circumstances, I understand a person finding a better home for their dog, because they truly believe that they can no longer care for the dog appropriately. What I do NOT get is when someone adopts a dog and then returns it because “he got too big” or “she ripped up a package” or “we are busy and don’t have time for her.” Did you research the breed(s) to see an estimated size? Did you supply her with toys and training? Did you think about your active schedule BEFORE adopting a dog? Dogs live for several years. They are meant to be a part of your family. Dogs can be fun, they are good motivation to get out and exercise. BUT they are also beings that require long term care! They need food, housing, baths, vet visits. This is not some new unexpected thing. It’s just so frustrating! When I look back at my fosters, all but ONE have been returned dogs. Toby-adopted & returned after a YEAR; Petey-adopted & returned after 5-6 months; Sassy-adopted & returned after 3-4 months; Chelsea-adopted & returned after a year & a half!! Being that I was the foster home for these dogs, I can say 100% that they are all wonderful, adoptable, loving dogs. Sure, I can look at the positive side, seeing that they all NOW have found amazing forever homes. And I am beyond thankful for those people, and truly believe that they WILL be the forever homes of these pups. However, all of these dogs have had anxiety fears (some worse than others) because of the lack of loyalty they have been shown. No wonder there are so many stories of divorces, cheating, and lying out there! We can’t show the slightest bit of loyalty to our faithful furry friends, so why would we for our human ones! (To read a fantastic post about commitment, check out my friend’s blog post here!)
Ugh, ok, sorry I digressed just a little there! Back to Chelsea! She came to me on Friday, and it was hectic, to say the least. I had Lucy, Oscar, and Sassy (dog-sitting), as well as my mom & her friend in town. Whoa! Chelsea was pretty much terrified, and wanted nothing to do with us humans. She was ok with the dogs, but wasn’t quite sure about them either. She had her tail between her legs, wouldn’t look at anyone, and just wanted to hide. So, I set up her kennel in my room, and let her go in there to de-stress.
Saturday was a little better for her. She played well with two dogs at a time, but three was too much. Sassy & Lucy are very much alike, high energy excitable girls! So the two of them together was a bit much at first for Chelsea. And she still wanted nothing to do with any of the humans in the house! (By that I mean, she runs away. She has shown absolutely NO aggression whatsoever towards any of us 2-legged beings!)
By Sunday, she turned a corner…a very small one, but it was a step in the right direction! She played well with any of the dogs I put her with. She ran and ran and ran some more! She leaped and jumped and wagged her tail…until a human looked at her. Then she ran to the door to go hide.
Now that Sassy has gone home, and our house guests have left, life has gone back to a semi-quiet, normal routine. This is a big help for Chelsea. She is already wagging her tail more, and I have even gotten a few kisses from her! She gets very happy in the morning when I tell her to come wake Jayden up. I let her jump on the bed & smother him. This makes a fun morning for both Chelsea & the grumpy sleepy 6 yr old!
Chelsea is SO sweet, and seems to be bonding with me quickly. She will even look me in the eye now, but I still can’t point the camera at her without her running away. (Hence the coming, blurry pictures!) She is great with the dogs, and has a lot of fun outside. She is very protective over her kennel though, and does not like either dog to even walk near it. (She doesn’t mind us humans though!) She also is funny about toys. She’ll be playing & then all of a sudden causes a little situation. I am not sure if it is too much excitement, or if she just wants it all to herself. Either way, she is easily manageable & I know we can fix this!
I will admit, this is the first foster that I have gotten, that I thought “Uh oh…I don’t know if this is going to work.” And then I literally wanted to kick myself! How could I say that?! Isn’t that what I have been getting so mad about with these adopters that just back out on their committments? However, my thought process behind it was about the best situation for all involved. I have a disabled pup (Oscar), the sweetest dog in the world (Lucy), and a child to think about. I would never forgive myself if any of them were hurt. But, I also know that Chelsea has been hurt. She believes that the kennel is her only safe place in the world, and everything else is scary and uncertain. I am determined to prove her wrong! I will research, and read, and ask questions, and share her story. I will do whatever it takes to help her, because if I won’t, who will? She has already showed signs of trusting me, and I am going to use that to the best of my ability. I am working on getting her signed up for doggie daycare. She will get to go once a week, where she will play with dogs & continue to build up her confidence. I am also going to take her on pack walks. This way she will see that dogs and humans can enjoy life together. Chelsea is a totally different dog around other dogs…you have to see her, to understand it. (I will try to get videos to share soon!) Here are some pictures of the pretty girl…of course, they are blurry, because she literally runs when I point my phone camera at her!
I will continue to share Chelsea’s progress. I know she will make big strides, as she has already improved in just a couple of days. I am giving her lots of hugs, and special attention, as well as letting her have tons of supervised play time with the dogs. If you have ever experienced something like this, and you have tips or tricks or advice, please feel free to share! And as always, thanks for reading! 🙂