The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Small Part of the Big Picture

Not a care in the world
This is my foster dog, Brady, about 9 o'clock this morning lying in a warm spot on the back of my couch dreaming of barking his fool head off, running up and down the fence line while I bring the sheep in at night. He could be dreaming of his 1st home from which he was ejected for being a...well, for being a dog, or maybe of a bright future where the phrase, *foster dog* becomes unnecessary. Apparently we have that one in common.

6 months ago I had it on my heart to foster a dog for the same rescue that brought me Dexter, my little man. Since that 6 pound mutt transformed my life with nothing more than his being, I figured I owed 'em one. As you can imagine, they had one that needed to be moved right now. 

After an owner surrendered him at a couple years old on some lame excuse, he changed hands a few times in foster care, then came to me. I assessed the situation and decided he was stressed beyond the pale, and a little frantic over who knows what beyond the shifting sands under his itchy feet, red from food allergies. He had some odd behaviors. 

He had trouble sitting still, relaxing was out of the question. He paced, he barked at everything and nothing, and he pee'd on my $1,500 curtains...twice. Welcome to the world of fostering dogs. Dexter tolerated him, but did the Mexican hat dance, or at least a hat-less rendition, whenever I so much as said Brady's name. Brady tried to ignore him, but banished himself none the less to the back of the cushy armchair, or the arms of the couch. Out of my reach, but more importantly, out of Dexter's. 

After a couple of false starts, (the curtains,) the 3 of us found a rhythm. I secured  a Border Collie kennel with an ex-pen making it little-dog proof, and that's where Brady went while I was at work with his treats, blankets and toys. The 3 of us had breakfast together, then Brady went into the dog yard with the Border Collies while I did chores. Into the kennel for the day, then into the house for dinner and the night. No way would Dexter allow him on the bed, so Brady managed very well in his crate, and there was peace in the kingdom. But there was no permanent home on the horizon, and I began to feel a foster-failure coming on.

After 6 months together, that all changed with an email from Barbara. Her beloved MinPin, Solo, had passed away from old age, and Bruce insisted she needed another. Barbara wasn't sure she was ready, but thought Bruce might know better. I think Bruce needed another. I think they both did.

I'm just back from making the change. The image I have burned into my psyche today is of Brady's face staring after his truck as I drove away. He looked confused...and worried. He looked like the *after* pictures I see posted on rescue Facebook sites of dogs that have just been dumped at shelters by sorry excuses for human beings who thought it was OK to dispose of their dog. I didn't dispose of Brady. I loved him. Sitting here hours later, that sad, little face makes me cry. 

Eventually, I hope to replace that image with this one. 
The 3 Bs, Bruce, Brady and Barbara
Will I foster again? I think so. I'm going to take some *us time* for me and Dexter and see how I feel after Meeker. Playing a small part in Brady's quality of life is rewarding. Knowing Bruce and Barbara is tremendous. I instantly liked them. Watching Bruce attentive and tender with Brady restored something in me that was waning. Remembering Brady will be heartbreaking for a while, but we'll be in touch.



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