I have had Sandy for about two weeks now and have learned many incredible lessons about resilience, the ability to trust, and the importance of opening up to love from this sweet little energetic furball. In many ways, fostering a relationship with a four-legged companion isn’t so different from forming friendships with friends and partners.
Admittedly, Sandy and I got off to a rough start. Two minutes into the apartment, she peed on the rug. When I took her out for walks alone, she would pull and bite on her leash and decide that jumping on me in the middle of the street was completely acceptable behavior. Because I wasn’t completely aware of some of the characteristics of this breed, I became frustrated and didn’t know what some of her actions meant. I felt, at times, like I wasn’t doing a good job as a foster mommy.
One night it was just the two of us in an otherwise quiet apartment. I turned on the television and Sandy took her spot next to me on the sofa. She gently placed her head in my lap and looked up at me with understanding and grateful eyes. She was thankful for a home and some love and comfort. I could see it in her. I looked at her scars and couldn’t imagine all she had been through in her short time here on earth. I had a new mission: I could never let her down.
In the past week, I’ve realized that having a dog is not so different from having a child. (Stay tuned for a follow-up post where I discuss how having a baby is nothing life having a pup.)
Here are just a few observations:
- I have said the word “no” more times in the past week than I think I have said my entire life. Also, repeated use of the word “no” is usually futile.
- Bryan and I have rescued a gummy bear, a piece of wood, and assorted chewed-up dog toys from her mouth. “Virtually indestructible” means nothing to her.
- Just because I’ve finished playing doesn’t mean she has, too. Despite the fact that she’s not allowed in the bedroom, she managed to sneak in, place a toy under Bryan’s pillow and then she CLOSED THE DOOR behind her, like she was never in the bedroom in the first place. She’s a sneaky little girl, this one!
- I’ve had to monitor her poop for the past two weeks to make sure she’s absorbing all of the nutrients of her new diet.
But the reason I feel that having a dog and having a baby are at least somewhat similar is because I want her to be surrounded by love and comfort always. This gal has really done a number on me in a short period of time I’ve had her and I want what’s best for her. That’s what we always want for our little ones, yes?
If you are interested in fostering a pup or kitty in the New York/New Jersey area, I highly recommend checking out the available animals at Liberty Humane Society. And if you want to fall in love with the cutest little mischief-maker this side of the Hudson, check out Sandy’s profile!
Update: Sandy eventually went on to live with a wonderful family in Jersey–here is her happy ending photo!