WANTED: The Perfect Adopter

WANTED: one adopter. Must be a long-distance runner or hiker or have a securely fenced, large yard. Must be a patient person with a good sense of humor. Must be smart and not intimidated by a smarter dog. Must be creative and willing to adapt to my needs. Must not be a person who is overly attached to their belongings and/or is a neatnik and never leaves valuable items lying about. Must be kind and understanding and willing to accept that we all have our own histories, habits, and hang ups. Must be a one-dog kind of person. Must be allergic to cats (okay, maybe not allergic just not inclined to ever own a cat). Proclivity for road trips and adventures, a plus. Adopter should be looking for a dog who not only provides excellent and enthusiastic company, but also personal protective services. Lifetime commitment required.

That’s the ad that Gala would have me place. We discussed it on our long run this morning.

This dog.

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She is breaking my heart. Continue reading WANTED: The Perfect Adopter

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Some of Us Are Remedial Learners

Sometimes I’m slow on the uptake. This week’s adventures have reminded me that I am still a rookie foster mom over here. The lesson is a repeat from Galina days, but it appears I needed to learn it again. And the consequences may mean more than a three-dog weekend, they may lead to a three-dog month.

Here it is: Never look a gift-adoption in the mouth. Or something like that.

On Wednesday the perfect adopters (and I mean perfect like I made them up myself) were approved to adopt Carla. I had a lovely conversation with her future adopting mama. We made plans for the family to meet and adopt Carla on Thursday. Hooray!

And then, because there were actually two other applications in the system on Carla, I made the bold move of agreeing to take a new dog from this week’s transport.

Symphony is adorable and part Border Collie – a breed I have always coveted.ec8a4b9e7073391214973fb2f291133d22d9073b

She even has a great story (a street dog picked up by paramedics), reminds me of the dog on the Little Rascals, and looks to be the perfect size playmate for Gracie. Carla is too big, Wheat Penny was too small, but Symphony looks just right. All was well with our dog world.

And then Thursday morning I received an email from the potential adopters saying there had been a drastic shift in their situation and they would sadly be unable to adopt Carla at this time. Whoosh. (That was the rug being pulled out from under my carefully laid plans.) Continue reading Some of Us Are Remedial Learners

Galina Gets Her Forever Family!

Galina is gone.

The house is very quiet. For the past month, whenever the house was quiet I would panic – what has she found? What is she chewing?

I have to confess that it’s somewhat nice to get dressed and not worry about setting your socks down on the chair for a minute and having them disappear to the far reaches of Galina’s crate. It’s also nice to finish writing a note and leave the pen on the coffee table with no worries about that loud crunching sound you hear a moment later.

But I miss her. I miss the happy little whimpers she made when I opened her crate in the morning and she crawled out like a soldier under fire to lay as a little fur ball of ecstasy at my feet. So happy to see me, she couldn’t even stand up.

I watched basketball last night with no little snuggle muffin to make it worth my while (and also prevent me from snacking on the couch).

There were no late night dog-chasing-dog shenanigans. Gracie went to bed uneventfully. It’s too quiet.

But…reports are that Strider, the dog formerly known as Galina, is happy as a little clam in her new digs with her forever family.  Her new mommy sent me a video of Galina rolling in the leaves of her new yard which is fenced in so she can run leash-free and reach the speeds she could only attempt while she was here which inevitably led to such a sudden end that I worried the leash would snap her neck.

It was a topsy-turvy weekend for us. We discovered Friday afternoon that Galina’s newest adopter had chosen another dog. Once again, hopes dashed. This seemed to be a repeating pattern for our little girl. But by Friday evening I received an e-mail that there was a new adopter approved! I was in the middle of a presentation at a nearby college, so I sent a quick note to the potential adopter.

I knew that Donna and Geoff were the perfect parents for Galina when in response to my honest warning about Galina’s chewing habits, Donna wrote, “We know about the chewing. Our previous beagle mix chewed through our home. I didn’t own a pair of flip-flops without teeth marks in them!”

Sometimes this world seems utterly random and at other times, like this weekend, I see fate clear as crystal.

In preparation for Donna and Geoff and Galina’s new brother, Gimli, to arrive, we put Gracie in the garage. It seemed like a cruel thing to do, but Gracie, you will recall, has social issues with other dogs. I didn’t want her to dominate the meeting of these two little soon-to-be-bestest-buds-ever. And it was too many G-dogs in one room. Kidding. Gracie seemed to sense she was about to reclaim dominance of her domain, because she was surprisingly calm and quiet in her quarantine.

Gimli was Galina-size and cute as button with those crazy taco-bell dog ears. Donna and Geoff worried he would be protective and aggressive with Galina, but she won him over in mere minutes. That’s my girl.

I was super happy to see Galina warm up to Donna and Geoff even faster. When she meets new people, Galina generally hangs back, shy and unsure, until she gets to know them. Not with these two. It was almost like she recognized them. Hey, it’s Mom and Dad! She was all over them, completely relaxed and happy to follow Geoff when I gave him her leash so we could take the dogs for a walk.DSC_8057

Now that she’s gone, I keep thinking of things I should have told Donna and Geoff. Sometimes when you’re walking her she’ll duck from certain cars and then spring after them when they pass. I did remember to warn them that she loves to eviscerate toilet paper rolls, so they should never be left loose and available. (Sadly, Galina was not able to train my children to put the roll on the holder in her time here, but I had been hoping…)

I forgot to tell them about her favorite toy – the one that you can hide a treat inside. We used it whenever we needed to keep her out of trouble and occupied for at least ten minutes.DSC_7937

Before they left, Ian selected one of Galina’s stuffies from the toy collection and her favorite sock that had not yet been completely unraveled and gave them to Donna and Geoff, along with the rest of the bag of her favorite bacon-flavored treats and the probiotic powder that OPH gave us when she arrived (my husband calls it “puppy PCP” because that’s what it looks like and he’s a Neanderthal).

DSC_8043 - CopyI’m sure it won’t be all smooth sailing, Galina is an imp, but I do believe she’s found her forever family. I had a lump in my throat all day, but no tears. I think I held on to a piece of my heart throughout our whole time with Galina because I knew this day was coming. I had to remind myself again today that Galina leaving meant we could help many more dogs. She was the first and so she’ll always hold a special place in my heart. Maybe that’s the part I was holding on to.

[New foster comes this Friday. She looks like Gracie’s mini-me!]

Counting the Days and the Blessings

Galina’s days are numbered. Well, her days with us. We knew it was coming, I mean, that’s what this is all about, right?DSC_8043

I know we will be sad, but my worry is more for Galina now. I love that her potential forever mommy referred to her as a “floppy-eared princess.” Makes me think she will be treated like royalty and that warms my soul. [NOTE: Since this was posted, Galina’s potential adopters opted for a different dog and never had their audience with our little princess. Once again, she’s left alone at the ball….]

This little dollbaby deserves nothing less, except when she’s chewing up the retainer case. Then, it’s off with her head! No, I don’t mean that, but c’mon, the orthodontist is gonna start charging me for new cases. At least the retainer was in the child’s mouth and not the case at the time.DSC_8040

At the check-out desk at our orthodontists’ office there is a mangled, half-eaten retainer inside a shadow box with a sign that says, “Dogs love retainers!” We’re on our third set of braces, so I’ve been seeing this picture for about seven years. Every time I see it, I think – What kind of person would let their dog chew up a retainer? Hard to believe I was ever that naïve!

We are savoring our little floppy-eared princess now. Snuggling more, polishing up the house-training, teaching her to fetch (she’s all about chasing down the flying tennis ball, not so much about the bringing it back).

Here’s what I will miss most. Every day that Galina has been here, she has made me laugh. It’s been a long, hard winter and my stress-level has been reaching epic proportions between my work and our son’s college search and the mess that is my house. Daily laughter has been therapeutic.

Sometimes it’s Galina sneaking off with something she shouldn’t – like this stuffed elephant that is so big she couldn’t see where she was going and wandered in circles – Continue reading Counting the Days and the Blessings

Fostering is Bitter Sweet

Feeling very grateful this afternoon. Just made it home from Pittsburgh after having to extend what should have been a 2 day trip to a 3 ½ day trip thanks to weather.

I agonized about whether to stay safe in Pittsburgh or chance it through the mountains in a snowstorm to get home. I felt bad leaving my husband in charge of my menagerie. But good man that he is, he cleaned horse stalls, hauled buckets, took Galina for endless laps of the yard, mixed up her semi-complicated food concoctions, and vacuumed up all the exploded Beanie Babies. He said – stay there, I got this.

And still I hedged.

The kids would miss school I worried. Surprisingly, the kids were not at all concerned about missing a day of school.

Finally, I realized that the biggest reason I wanted to get home was Galina. I worried that she was confused by my lengthy absence. We’ve bonded quite well in the past week. I didn’t want to be yet another adult deserting her.

And I just plain missed her. It didn’t help that my husband was sending me adorable pictures via text all weekend while he was in charge of her….

Like her run-in with a roll of toilet paper….

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And her sweet face and wagging tail blur as he talked to me on the phone…. Continue reading Fostering is Bitter Sweet