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New foster dog coming in today, so …

I’m headed to another town to pick up a foster dog. I’m not ready for this. I told the local group I’d start fostering this summer, but things have been so unsettled I was considering ways to weasel out of my commitment. This is such a sad case, though. I couldn’t say no.

The incoming dog is a nine-year-old who’s bouncing back to the group because a placement made six years ago has gone sour. The dog, a female black Lab mix, was very much loved. Then the adopter had babies, and “Betsy” never took to them. Eighteen months ago, Betsy bit one of the kids (under circumstances that even the mom says were understandable). The adopter cared enough to work with a dog behaviorist. She tried her best, but Betsy just never adjusted to the children.

The local group is no-kill. But that’s a term of art that means “no adoptable animal will be euthanized.” Dogs with intractable behavior problems or health conditions sometimes have to be put down. With her age and history, Betsy is probably not adoptable. So we’ll see. Permanent foster care is the other most likely option.

The two girls in my pack, who’ve never particularly liked each other, have been pissy to the point of drawing blood lately. Adding another female is going to be … like the seventh grade all over again, I fear.

The one bright spot is Robbie who, after 10 years of being Mr. Dog-Aggressive Bully Boy, has suddenly decided to mellow out and accept that other canines have a right to exist — and that other dogs might even occasionally be likable.

Anyhow, that’s my story. And here’s some miscellany for you while I wander off:


  1. Pat
    Pat May 10, 2011 9:05 am

    I’m sure the new dog will get settled quickly. Who knows… maybe Robbie will “protect” her, and the other two will fall in line and start to accept each other a little better too. Good luck.
    Wonder if there’s a way to see — and hear — out when the Safe House is closed up. I wouldn’t want it on open property though, it could easily be found and bombed.

  2. woody
    woody May 10, 2011 9:37 am

    As you already know every dog has something special to offer if we can only recognize what it is. I’m sure that you will find it immediately and she and you and the pack will adapt and prosper. I haven’t the emotional strength to foster a dog. Once they find me they stay here forever. I have 3 at the moment.

    This is the fourth home for Otis and it took awhile for him to believe that this wasn’t just another temporary stop. After he had lived with us for 14 months his former owners came to visit him for a couple of hours. He enjoyed the visit immensely, but when it became obvious that they were getting ready to leave he made it plain that he didn’t want to go with them. After they left it was just like a light bulb went on in his head. He realized this was his forever home now and his attitude changed noticeably. A day never passes that he doesn’t tell me how happy he is to be here.

    If I believed in heaven it would be a place where I am reunited with every dog who has ever shared their life with me. I loved them all and they each took a little of me with them when they died.

  3. Ken
    Ken May 10, 2011 9:47 am

    I think I read on your old blog that you once lived in a travel trailer and liked the book “travel trailer homesteading” a few days ago I spotted another book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat that deals with the same issues have you read this book if so what did you think about it…

  4. Matt
    Matt May 10, 2011 6:21 pm

    I guess all of my dogs could be considered “foster” since I didn’t set out to find a dog at all, much less a dog just like them. One came from a box at the swap meet, one came from the pound (left by my daughter as she moved out on her own) and one was rescued from a family that did not love him. They have been joy and aggravation and a constant source of love and worry. The current pack only try to kill each other on occaision, so have only stitched them up for about $300 this past week. I hate the vet bills, but honestly they are worth every worthless fiat dollar.

  5. Claire
    Claire May 10, 2011 6:34 pm

    Ah, our dogs. Yep, I hear the voices of experience — all that love, all that exasperation — and all those stitches. I hear you there, Matt.

    Woody, I love the Otis story. And I share your idea of heaven. I remember a visiting minister telling me, when I was about five, that there would be no dogs in heaven because they had no souls. I wasn’t yet aware of how much I loved dogs, and I was too young to question adults. I assumed ministers were solid experts on the contents of heaven. Still … I knew that was just plain wrong. The more I see of life, and humans, and canines, the more wrong it seems. Most dogs have greater souls than most people; funny that an all-knowing God would fail to notice that.

  6. Claire
    Claire May 10, 2011 6:37 pm

    Ken — Paladin sent me a review copy of “Dirt Cheap” a week or two ago. I definitely plan to blog about it. Soon …

  7. Mary Lou
    Mary Lou May 10, 2011 7:08 pm

    Good luck!

  8. naturegirl
    naturegirl May 10, 2011 7:41 pm

    Aww, Woody, that was cool….

    I hope I see all the critters who’ve owned me over the years, again someday….even the ornery goat…..

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