I adopted Miss Zoe in February 2012 from the Cheyenne Animal Shelter when she was a year and a half old. Danny didn’t live in Wyoming yet, but was visiting at the time. I had found a little dog on their website that I wanted to go visit (I had convinced myself that a small dog would be a smarter choice for various reasons if I was going to get one). Once we got there, the little one I went to see had already been adopted, but after walking through all of the rows of dogs, the only image I had in my head was a skinny white husky mix pup who had been sitting quietly looking at me from her cage. Danny didn’t remember which one I was talking about, but I had to go back and see her. Her name was Kodi. The staff brought her to one of the visiting rooms so we could meet her and no question… it was love at first sight. And smell. All I remember from that little room was the terrible smells that kept coming out of her and the hair… hair everywhere! :) But that didn’t stop me. We took her for a walk… and sure enough she was terrible on a leash… pulling me every which way. But that didn’t slow me down either. When we got back inside the staff proceeded to tell us her story… she had been a young mom; she had already had a litter of pups and was then brought in my her owners… they marked her as aggressive toward animals and she was said to have killed cats. Almost every staff member we ran into said things like “did they tell you about her aggression?” or “are you sure about this one? she killed cats”. They also suspected she had some kind of inflammatory bowel disease and/or food allergy… she was very picky with her food, was shedding profusely and refused to eat most of the food they gave her. They marked her as “very skinny!” at her initial exam and she proceeded to lose 8 pounds since she had come into the shelter. I listened to everything they said, and then asked how soon I could take her home. :) Zoe and I had an adjustment period, for sure… we went through the escape artist phase… and then the destruction phase. My rental property suffered the most. But at the end of the day, my sweet baby would lay her head down on my lap and make me forget about everything else. The little princess is still a picky eater (Danny says she is like the girl in high school who would give away any healthy parts of her lunch and only eat junk food and candy), but after a number of visits to the vet, procedures, and lab work… they decided that there was officially nothing wrong with her; her vet even said she is at a healthy supermodel weight. As for the aggression… she still gets excited when she sees bunnies when we go for walks, we do not leave her alone with any cats, and she only gets to hang out with the smaller dogs at doggie daycare, but I have faith that she is progressing. With continued socialization and positive feedback – this one is well on her way to being as well behaved as she is adorable.
Fast forward to July 2012. Danny was now in Cheyenne and I had convinced him we should start fostering. I’d started volunteering with Black Dog Animal Rescue a few months earlier, and wanted to take my volunteering to the next level (a.k.a. play with more pups). :) So we did. And it was amazing. Six foster pups later, fast forward to January 2013, we had moved to a nicer place and I was slated to deploy soon… sooo once our current foster at the time got adopted we decided to hold off on fostering. In February, I found out they were indefinitely postponing my deployment because of budgetary issues (it was going to be amazing by the way… it was supposed to be on the USNS Comfort for a humanitarian mission to Central America). But anyway, once I found out it was postponed, just about the first thing I did was start scanning the list of available pups to foster. There were two adorable young black lab/hound mixes on the list… one girl and one boy. I couldn’t resist the ears on the little boy, so I suggested him to Danny. He said no… that he looked too big in the picture (we’d found that Zoe did better with the smaller fosters). So I sent an email off and asked if we could foster the girl, only to find out she had just been adopted (yay for her!). The foster coordinator at the time asked if we would be interested in another one on the urgent list that looked very similar… a boy. So we said sure. I figured he was the same one, but we weren’t positive by the way she had described him. Sure enough it was him. I went to pick him up from the center on a weekend when Bethany was visiting. I instantly wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. He was a big, strong, skinny lug who started barking viciously at another dog that was there and almost pulled me to the ground multiple times on the way to the car. Because of his reaction to the other dog at the center, I was very nervous about the impending meet and greet with Zoe. It’s always tough the first time they meet… you never quite know what’s going to happen. But all of our meet and greets had been successful so far with other dogs, so I hoped for the best. I decided to keep Zoe in her outdoor kennel while I let Finn roam around the house and the yard, getting all of his sniffing taken care of. As soon as he ran out to the kennel to sniff Zoe, I got nervous, but I watched and waited. No growling, no hair standing on end, no barking… just sniffing and excitement like they wanted to play. After a little more time, I decided to go for it and let her out. They started playing right away. It was an oddball match made in heaven. Danny quickly fell in love with this dog who he never expected he would even like (to be fair, he was a cat person when he moved to Wyoming) ;) and after scheduling him for his first adoption drive, we had a long talk and decided we couldn’t bear to see him go yet and put him on hold (BDAR lets potential adopters put a dog on hold for up to 7 days to give them time to make a decision). It really wasn’t a decision; I’m pretty sure we both knew Finn had already inserted himself into the family… it just took us a few days to realize that we were officially foster failures (a.k.a. when you fail as a foster parent and adopt your foster). It’s the only time in my life I’ve been so excited to be a failure. Finn has since almost doubled in weight, he has destroyed more shoes than I can count on my fingers and toes, and he has attempted to eat us out of house and home… and I absolutely could not be happier that he is now a part of our lives.
PUP LIFE RESOURCES:
- Black Dog Animal Rescue – find adoptable pups and learn about this amazing no-kill Wyoming organization
- Black Dog Syndrome – learn about the origin of BDAR’s name… and why black dogs statistically have lower chances of being adopted from shelters
- Breed Specific Legislation (BLS) – what it is and why it doesn’t work
- K9 Kennels – it took me a while, but I finally found something that was escape and destruction-proof… amazing products
INSPIRING DOG BLOGS: