Adding Chaos to the Calm

Why I keep adding chaos to an otherwise calm situation is beyond me. We’d just settled into a routine with John Coffey and Gracie (who have become great buds) and then I go and answer a plea for a foster home for a returned puppy.DSC_0775

Not sure what made me take this one. Maybe it’s my puppy addiction. I’m owning that now. Puppies are my crack.

Or maybe I just want to ease the heartbreak that surrounds any return. I know the puppy will be confused. I know the adopter will be in turmoil. It’s not an easy thing for any reason. I see the dogs and puppies listed as returns and I want to just swoop in and take them all. Make it better. This is my third return and the heartbreak in the eyes of the returner was evident once again. Poor people. Poor dogs. But it’s for the best and I’m just grateful a decision was made. No dog should have to stay where she isn’t ABSOLUTELY wanted and loved. And no adopter should keep a dog out of GUILT. Not healthy. Not good. For anyone.

This made me think whether or not I keep Gracie out of guilt. There may be a sliver of it there, but it’s mostly that I made a promise to this pup (and the kids that love her). She is absolutely wanted and loved by four out of the five people living here. Fostering has given me a new appreciation for her. She’s consistent. She’s trying. She’s doing the best she can.

Gracie, our personal puppy
Gracie, our personal puppy

So on Wednesday, Foo Foo (who had been named Daisy and seems to answer to it despite only being with her new adopter barely two weeks) moved in. She came with a plethora of pink – pink collars (2), pink leashes (2), pink toys (many), pink harness, pink sweater, even a puffy pink jacket. There was a hot pink crate, but I declined it as we already have three crates cluttering up our space and no pink room to match.

A plethora of pink

Foo Foo is not pink. She’s gray. Steel gray.  Even her eyes are gray. She’s sleek like a seal and her long nose and skinny head remind me of a seal. Pink looks nice with gray, but in honor of her new start, I slapped a gender-neutral neon yellow puppy collar on her because it’s padded and much more comfortable than the stylish skinny pink one she arrived with. I’m not a girl who will suffer for fashion. I don’t imagine this puppy is either.

Foo Foo has quickly stolen a few hearts around here. Oh my goodness is she sweet. A total cuddle-muffin. At 13 pounds, everyone wants to hold her. She’s fine with this. In fact, the only thing she likes more than being cradled like a baby, is food.

The girl can eat. I’ve never seen a dog eat so fast. It’s good that her kibble is teeny-tiny puppy kibble because otherwise I am certain she would choke. With horses, you can add large rocks to their feed bin to slow them down, I’m thinking Foo Foo could use a similar therapy. I’ve decided to feed her many small meals instead of two big ones. Maybe if she knows there’s always another meal coming, she’ll chill.

We’ve got her set up in our kitchen where she can have front row seats to the action. John Coffey is decidedly jealous. He peed on her puppy pen the first night. AGH.

Foo Foo’s presence has sent him into overdrive. He’s competing hard for everyone’s attention. I feel guilty about this. He was beginning to calm down and now he’s back to being SO EXCITED at all times.

When I finally allowed them to play together, it made all the difference. Miraculously, Foo Foo wore out John Coffey. She will play until she can’t keep her eyes open.

DSC_0882 DSC_0879

John Coffey is much bigger and heavier than she is and I worried that he’d hurt her, but he quickly realized his role as the big brother. He lets her attach her alligator like mouth to his neck and just walks around dragging her like a fancy scarf. DSC_0861He’ll wrestle and play with her, but it’s not the hardball he plays with Gracie. When she gets too big for her britches though, he’ll sit on her or knock her down with a quick swing of his hips. Eventually, I have to put her in her pen. She won’t quit.

(I think Foo Foo looks like a fruit bat in this picture)
(I think Foo Foo looks like a fruit bat in this picture)

Foo Foo looks like a dog-version of our cat Hermoine. They would make a nice matching set. Hermoine, so far, is being patient. She knows Foo Foo is a baby so she’s going easy on the hissing (she saves that for John Coffey and his ridiculous enthusiasm). I’m hoping to get them to pose for some better pictures.DSC_0789

Crash, on the other hand, is more than happy to school Foo Foo on proper etiquette around royalty.

Crash explaining to Foo Foo that she must bow down before royalty.
Crash explaining to Foo Foo that she must bow down before royalty.

We may only have a few days left with John Coffey, so I’m spending as much time as possible with him. And we’ve stepped up the don’t-jump-on-people training. He’s crazy-smart, though, so I’m sure he’s going to need that lesson taught on a person-by-person basis. He knows he can’t jump on Nick, who’ll only knee him in the chest, or Addie, who will shriek and aim her pointy shoe at him. But he doesn’t seem to take Ian or me seriously, so it’s a daily do-over. He’s become an excellent running partner and other than his penchant for chewing up paper, he’s a pretty good office dog.DSC_0767

Loving these dogs and letting them go isn’t easy, but I see it as a tremendous privilege. They are only here with us for a few weeks. And then their lives will be upended once again. I don’t know the road that brought them here, but I hope when they leave us they go with a little more confidence, a healthier body, and a heart that’s open to love.

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Published by

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.

4 thoughts on “Adding Chaos to the Calm”

  1. Wow! Just wow! People like you are a godsend. I’ve considered being a foster mom to dogs as well, but I realised I just wouldn’t be able to let go again without being emotionally drained every time (the same goes for my husband as well). I adopted 4 abused/abandoned animals instead (a dog, a cat, and 2 bunnies), and I always feel like they’re so grateful for that. Or maybe I’m just lucky in always adopting extremely sweet animals :). Anyhow, keep up the good work! Glad I’m following your blog ❤

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    1. Letting them go is harder sometimes than others. I can tell already that I’ll have a hard time when Foo Foo leaves – she’s pretty special. It does hurt, but it’s what’s required to help more dogs, so I do it. It really is more joy and fun, than pain, though. Truly.

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