Making Yourself at Home

When you first meet someone that you like, you show all your good sides. You’re polite, respectful, careful not to say anything too offensive or expose how much you don’t know about say, football or lawn mowers. But as your relationship solidifies you can cut loose a little. I think that’s what’s happening with Stich (Symphony).

She’s reasonably confident that we aren’t going to kick her to the curb so she’s relaxing and letting her real personality out. A personality that is hysterical. It matches her goofy smile. Somehow the shape of her head and her enormous mouth combine to make her look like she is always grinning – literally ear to ear. She looks cartoon like. You can’t be in a bad mood when you’re hanging out with this dog. She’s just too funny.

DSC_8549I am her chosen person, but she keeps careful note of where everyone else is, rarely does she lie down unless we’re all in the same room. Nick and I have offices on opposite ends of the first floor, so when he works from home she spends her days in the room between us, keeping herself busy accumulating a cache of belongings in her crate (just in case?)

Maybe it’s the fact that she was living on the streets prior to coming here, but she is a hoarder. I was talking with another OPH foster a few weeks ago and listening to the funny story of how their dog, who was also a street dog, was an incredible hoarder, piling up everything she could gather and then nesting upon it. This has been Stitch’s strategy.

DSC_8550She accumulated her stash very quietly. I rarely saw her moving things around, but the shoes in the back of her cage piled up. She didn’t chew them like Galina, she simply gathered them. I applauded this activity because it saved me from nagging children to put their shoes away. Then she began rounding up all the dog toys and loading them into her cage. Next were any abandoned socks, a few random pens, and Ian’s graphing notebook.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed her crate had been cleaned out. There was only the blankets we’d put in there originally, none of her loot. I was the only one home, so I know it wasn’t a child with a sudden case of I’ve-got-to-clean (not that my kids have EVER had this little known condition). I looked in the living room and found Carla’s bed piled with Stitch’s stash. She’d even added two pairs of snow pants she’d pulled out of the Goodwill box in the hallway.

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Guess she was moving to nicer digs. I put everything away as she watched. Smart dog that she is, she simply waited until I’d gone back to work and began loading up her crate again.

And then I heard a strange dragging sound. I emerged from my office to catch her toting the entire bag of dogfood to her crate.

DSC_8555She’s also grown confident enough to test her voice. She’s a quiet dog, but we have finally heard her bark in the last few days. She was cheering on the cat who was toying cruelly with a baby bunny on the front porch.

For her first five days, she never once got on a piece of furniture, but she’s been hanging out with Carla a lot. Incorrigible Carla who loves a soft spot (and her foster mommy who has a hard time telling her no).

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She’s discovered the porch furniture, but as she is an industrious, busy little girl, she never sits for long.

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And just today, she finally came up the stairs. Normally she waits at the bottom for whichever member of her pack has gone up the mountain, waiting patiently until he or she rejoins the herd so she can relax. But this morning I got out of the shower to discover Stitch sitting cautiously at the top of the stairs, unsure about her new surroundings. When she saw me, her fact lit up and she bounded back down the stairs to wait.

DSC_8602I can only imagine the fun to be had with this dog in your life. Here’s hoping someone snatches her up before I get any more attached. Ian said just the other day, “I think we should keep fostering dogs, but just keep them all.”

I wish.

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Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

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