Those Dogs or Foster Failed….Twice!

Our family has two “rescue” dogs.  One is a pet store Cockapoo that we took in nearly 5 years ago (she’ll be 10 in January), and one is a re-homed many times, grumpier than can be believed, Dachshund cross.

Stella is a cute as a button, well-trained, bonded to her person dog.  Max….is not.  He’s cute and he’s bonded, but he is a rotten little boy.

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Stella can be off-leash and will not stray further than 15 feet in any direction…..Max is deaf and has the dog version of ADD.

Stella may not let just anyone pet her, she’s not aggressive, she just isn’t willing to accept pats from strangers, nor will she eat treats that she takes until one of us takes it and gives it to her.  Max will bite your face off, and if there is a child, he will hunt it – he actively hates children.  He will warn an adult that he doesn’t want to be touched….a child, he won’t….needless to say, we keep him well away and have a muzzle on hand.  He will eat anything – at all.  Someone could feed him drain cleaner & he would take it.

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Stella is allergic to chicken, beef, pork, bison, potatoes – basically any inexpensive, common ingredient food – Stella has an allergy.  Max can eat absolutely anything.  He managed to scoop up a tiny piece of a Thai red pepper (those hot, hot, hot ones) and rolled it around in his mouth before thinking he should spit it out.  I fed him some yogurt – not because it seemed that he really needed it, but because I was trying to prevent the canine equivalent of “ring of fire”.

Stella has developed Cushings Disease, which is an enlarged and over-active gland in her body that throws everything out of whack.  She has medication twice a day, every day, until we get it a little bit under control.  Max, despite the life he’s led, has no issues other than old age.  He’s going deaf and blind.  He stretches after a nap and his colon blows us kisses.  His teeth are ghastly, but the vet is pretty sure that he’s too old to do well under anesthesia to fix them, not to mention, most vets are actively scared of him.  His breath is horrible, but he does not give a damn.

Stella has those Cockapoo eyes, which is why a temporary stay became permanent.  Her story is:  She once lived in a home with her brother, a black cockapoo, and another dog.  Her mom and dad split up and the split was pretty nasty.  There were monthly moves, hiding, tracking devices on cars – scary times for any person, let alone a dog.  Stella and her siblings were often taken to a dog daycare and one day the question was posed….does anyone know of anyone who can adopt these three?  So, two people were interested.  One person took one dog and another took Stella and her brother.  Then they brought Stella back to the daycare, tied her leash to the door at 5 in the morning at -25 degrees and left her there (the daycare is 24 hours a day, someone was there) – they didn’t want her, they just wanted her more rare brother.  By the time someone found her, her feet were frozen to the sidewalk.  So, my daughter brought her home.  And I fell in love with her.  And she stayed.

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Max has what our downstairs neighbour used to call Blueberry eyes.  They’re brown, but they are perfectly round and when he’s trying to con you, he changes the shape to a little triangular at the top and no one can resist.  His story:  He has been through an estimated 32 homes.  A previous owner tried to drown him.  Another owner used to take him to Tim Horton’s and get him a small coffee and a donut all the time.  Eventually, after never disciplining him, she decided he was too much work and was going to euthanize him.  Someone my daughter worked with at the dog daycare took him in.  She then couldn’t keep him, so she asked if we could watch him for a couple of months, until she got her living situation figured out.  That little dog hated me, hated Stella, hated life.  Loved my son on sight, respected my daughter, quickly respected our cat (she was queen of all).  We had to feed him in an enclosure, otherwise he snarled and snapped so much, he didn’t get any eating done – it took a month before we could take down the gate.  Somewhere along the way (about 6 months), he became mine.  He bonded with me – how did this happen?

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I suppose this is a story about two foster failures and the sweetened up version of how they came to live with us.  Stella is so easy to love, despite her separation anxiety and health problems; Max is so tough to love, but so worth the work.  If you’ve ever had that pet, the one that you had to work so hard to bond with, and then it happened, you know what I mean.  When I come home from work, Stella comes to greet me, teddy bear in her mouth (that means she loves you so much, she can’t even….).  I will go change my clothes and Max will be conked out on my bed, buried in the pillows.  I won’t make a sound, but within 10 minutes he will come out of my room, looking for me and his little body changes posture.  It’s the most rewarding thing ever.  To have given him enough love and stability, that he can return it.

So, to quote the rescues:  Adopt, don’t shop.

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