Stuck With Each Other

DSC_9641The decision has been made. Frank is not staying. Well, he’s staying for a few more weeks, but then he’s off to a terrific new life with a wonderful new family.

After much debate and waffling, we made the decision not to adopt Frank. We love him, maybe too much, for which we will decidedly pay in a week or so, but we cannot keep him.

The biggest reason is my darling personal dog whom I malign on a regular basis on this blog. So for the record – I love Gracie. I do. But she drives me nuts and she is everything I don’t want in a dog – disloyal, disobedient, disrespectful, and for lack of a better word – dumb. But, she’s our dog. We’ve had her since she was a puppy. The kids love her. This is her home. Gracie is going nowhere (even though I do occasionally flirt with the idea of switching pictures on the OPH website and giving Gracie away to an unsuspecting adopter….).

When I explained to my husband that we couldn’t keep Frank because it would make Gracie seem even more inferior, he said, “Gracie has always been the second tier dog.” True. She was second fiddle to the best dog I ever had in my life – Lucy, who passed away almost a year ago after 17 years with us. When Lucy passed, dog people told us that Gracie would now step up. She’d be more mature. She’d be more loyal. Wrong. She still runs away when I call her. She still acts as though she’s going to take out the milkman and UPS guy throwing herself at the door, tearing the screen, snarling and drooling like some crazy Rottweiler on PSP. (and then licks them all over if we open the door.) She still yanks my arm off and drags me into the road each time I give her a second chance to be my running dog. She still barks at the cats, horses, and chickens whenever she sees them out the window, as if they haven’t been here for the entire seven years of her life. She still jumps on every visitor, runs through her invisible fence, and gets on the furniture when we leave the room.

Here's Frank trying to sit for his treat on our wood floor while his legs slide out from under him.
Here’s Frank trying to sit for his treat on our wood floor while his legs slide out from under him.

For better or worse, we’re committed to Gracie. And Gracie is decidedly jealous of every dog we welcome into our home, especially Frank. Yesterday when I was trying to teach Frank to sit, Gracie sat repeatedly for me (a skill she rarely demonstrates any knowledge of).

The foster dogs have been good for her, kind of like when your mom forced you to eat your peas.

Gracie is learning to eat her dinner when it’s served (instead of leaving it to soften and collect flies before the cat claims it and then barfs it up later). Galina and Stitch taught her that. If Gracie didn’t gobble down her dinner when it arrived, they would have it for dessert a few minutes later.

Carla taught her to walk on the leash. I looped Gracie’s leash over Carla’s and when she attempted to dart somewhere, Carla’s bulk held her. And when she lagged behind, as she’s wont to do when she’s had enough or we’re approaching the house with the scary dog, Carla dragged her along for me.

I’m hopeful that Frank will teach her to come when she’s called. Right now, she’s getting very good at coming when I call Frank. I yell, “Frank, come!” and both dogs barrel into the room. (I don’t have to do this very often as Frank rarely lets me out of his sight.)

Frank is having a hopefully minor health issue, so we will address his problem with a six day worming regimen. His new wonderful family will come collect him a week after that. (I’d share the issue with you, but there was enough discussion of poop in the puppy posts.) All of that means that we get to enjoy his company for two more weeks. He is a treat to have around, so nobody minds. (Except my daughter because he won’t stop licking her legs! He really likes her, but she ignores him. I’ve tried to explain that if she’d just pet him, he’d probably be happy and stop pestering her. She won’t, so he continues his campaign.)

I do have to brag that Frank is doing great.

He’s looking even more gorgeous –he’s putting on weight steadily, his coat has developed quite a shine, and his markings have become more pronounced.

He happily accompanies me, off leash, everywhere I go – to hang/take down laundry, feed the chickens (he has to stay OUT of the pen, though, he’s much too curious about those little critters), weeding, watering, harvesting, even getting the mail. I’ve just started running with him. He’s doing pretty well, but tends to want to stop to leave his mark frequently. It’s hot and humid this week, so I don’t mind the little breaks so much.

Snuggling with one of his stuffies
Snuggling with one of his stuffies

I don’t know if two more weeks of Frank will make us regret our decision or be happy we chose to let him go. It probably depends on whether he gets his teeth on a chicken and whether Addie finally decides to pet him.

Either way, the decision is made. It needed to be. That option is closed. I promise I won’t entertain the idea of foster failing anymore on this blog. I’m not saying that foster failing is failing. It seems to have been a great option for plenty of people. I’m just saying for us, for Gracie, for right now, foster failing is not an option.

Trying to keep watch over me as I work on my computer.
Trying to keep watch over me as I work on my computer.
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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.

2 thoughts on “Stuck With Each Other”

  1. So sorry I made things harder for you. I guess one of the best parts of what you are doing with fostering is making Frank’s, and all the pups you care for, transition a good one. At least you know Frank will go to a good home. One thing I didn’t think about before suggesting you give in, was that it would affect your future with fostering. Thanks for sharing and caring, Cara. I love what you write. Thanks for helping me see things in a different light.

    Like

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