Monday, July 01, 2013

The Holiday Hound

Didn't have anything planned for the weekend.  I can't even tell you what kind of rarity that is in the McD household.  It just doesn't happen.  I was very much looking forward to doing nothing except mow the lawn and catch up on laundry.  Which is one of those realizations you get that you're like, a real grown-up now.  All excited to mow the lawn.  What - when did that happen.  Ugh.

The Mister took me out to breakfast Saturday morning, so we could map out our to-do list over my life's-blood: A cup of joe.  I checked Facebook on my phone while waiting for the mug to cool down enough to drink, and I saw a list pop up.

The SPCA needed help with some dogs - the shelter was stuffed to the gills and needed short-term foster homes for a few of the pups in order to get some things done on their own very important to-do list.  The list was names of dogs who needed someone to pick them up and love on them for a week or so.

Fostering isn't really something The Mister and I have been super gung-ho about in the past.  Mac is a very good dog, and our house is fairly small.  It would be hard to be able to commit to bringing another pup into that space and working with them - training and manners and getting the balance right in our household again.  We've thrown the idea around here and there, but in the end, we both recognized it just wasn't something we could make happen, particularly when the timeline is so variable - you never know when/ if your foster dog is going to find a new home.  And we have heart-strings.  You know where I'm going with that.

Still, I saw that list and looked up a few of the dog names through the Petango site that the SPCA lists their adoptable pups through, and a dog named Addie struck something in me.  So across the little table in the diner, over our eggs and bacon, I asked The Mister what he thought.

"Do it."  (aka: more moments to add to that list of "I 100% married the right dude for me.")

I called and they put our name down for Addie.  We took a few hours to clean the house and get Mac's old crate out (so she had a den-space), and then we went and picked her up.

Here's the picture of Miss Addie-pants (Which is what we took to calling her almost immediately.  You can go ahead and imagine us saying it in a high, sweet, baby-voice that I would usually mock others for using.  Because we totally do that) which is posted on her Petango profile.  And when they walked her out from the back of the shelter to us, that picture is exactly what she looked like, but with a little more forlorn, and a little less vigor.

As I filled out the paper-work and The Mister squatted down to try and offer her a cookie/ pat her head, the volunteers at the shelter gave us the limited background they were privy to:  Miss Addie came to the SPCA from a project called the Rescue Waggin, which takes dogs with lower adoptability, but high pet potential* out of kill-shelters that have low adoption rates, and finds spaces for them in shelters with no-kill policies and high-adoption success.  She'd been at the SPCA for a while, and was exhibiting signs of depression - sleeping almost all day, not being very social with other dogs or people, low confidence.  

You could tell from the way she looked at The Mister - uncertain, out of the corner of her eye with her head hung low and sad - that every word of this was the truth.  

It took us a bit of coaxing to get Miss Addie to walk with us from the shelter exit to the car - we didn't want to push her, we wanted her to come to the conclusion on her own that we were okay people.  We got her home and let her check out the whole back-yard.  Sat with Mac on a leash next the garden so she could get used to the idea of another dog without having him rush her at her face.  We let her check out the house and meet Bubba - she made a tentative sniff and decided he was fine but not worth exploring.  Bubba decided the same about her (we breathed a sigh of relief - our biggest worry was how Bub would react).  

And then she wandered, head hung low, over to the corner by the door, lay down on the tile floor, sighed and looked at us as if to say "well, okay"  in a very Eeyore sort of way.

We gave her space and affection, and in just the few days she's been staying at Ché McD, Addie has opened up into another dog entirely.  We're celebrating the small successes that have come around:
  • She wags her tail and holds it high when we talk to her.
  • She will take treats from us, and be at least mildly excited about it.
  • Last night instead of hiding in a corner of the crate, she slept on Mac's dog bed -which is at the end of our bed, in the bedroom.  (We brought in a second bed for Mac to sleep on, of course.)  
This was Mac's "if she sleeps down there, I guess there's no where else for me but here, right?" attempt.  He has always been such a "glass is half full" type of guy.
I still think he liked his first {co-ed!} slumber-party.
  • She ate/ showed interest in her food.
  • She picked up a stuffed toy from Mac's toy chest and sat with it for a few moments, looking very pleased - a revelation in the idea that toys exist, and are for her.
  • When our alarm clocks went off this morning, she put her two front feet on the bed and wagged her tail at us, as if to say "Good morning peoples.  I slept well!"
  • Before I left for work, I let her into the backyard with Mac for business, and she took a brief run - the first sign of any desire to play on her part - then turned around and gave me a look like she'd had some kind of epiphany about what a joy such a short gallop could provide.
Little Miss Addie Pants** is coming around, and I'm so happy we get to be a part of that.  Possibly my favorite thing of this whole weekend though, is how quickly Addie decided that The Mister is her favorite person.  I think, sometimes, The Mister gets discouraged when I'm around critters, because 90% of the time, critters will prefer me over him.  But not Little Miss Addie Pants.  She waits for him.  She follows him.  She makes a point to sit in the same room he's in.  She did this when he came home and wagged her tail when he came in the door.
It's the man-people!  I like him best.  Maybe he will pet my ears.

Addie makes a powerful case for the power of a foster home.  Because look at this face.  She just wants a people to call her very own.  Thinking of adopting or know someone who is?  Maybe you could help her find her very own people.  Here's what I can tell you about Miss Addie Pants:

  • She is shy, but comes around with time patience.
  • She is polite.  Ridiculously polite.  Gentle.  (maybe this is just the difference between boy and girl dogs, but she actually puts her tongue out to accept a treat from you as gently as possible, as opposed to Mac's crazed "OMG GIMME BACON!" mad-grab style)
  • She loves being outdoors as much as possible.
  • She's an adult dog who seems to understand that the out of doors is for business.  She has yet to have an accident inside.
  • She's on the low end of the active scale.  I have a feeling once she figures out the joy of sitting on a couch instead of the cold, hard ground, we'll be hard-pressed to ever get her back down.
  • She's a hound mix of some type - though she's been very quiet so far (I'd love it if she got comfortable enough with us to let us hear her talk), her nose is always going, and like many hounds, she's not afraid to put her paws up on a table or a counter to check a smell out.  We've been gentle in reinforcing this as unwanted behavior, because as much as we don't want to encourage it, we both think it's far more important at this point to cement with her that we're not to be feared.
  • She's patient.  The poor dear had some ear-mites when she came to us.  Not a big deal, and very treatable.  While I'm sure it's a bit uncomfortable for her, she's very patient with me as I put drops in her ear and massage it around.  She sat still when I gave her a quick bath(she's VERY soft to the touch now), and she let me brush her last night even though I could tell the sensation was a foreign concept to her.
We'll be hosting Miss Addie Pants until next week sometime, but she remains available for adoption through the SPCA of Southwest Michigan.  You can get more information on that process through the website here.

and meanwhile she'll get plenty of rest and relaxation while she waits for her forever people.

*Highly adoptable dogs:  Puppies that look like golden retrievers or little fluffy balls of cute.  High energy dogs who will rush the cage and give puppy-dog eyes to passer-by at the shelter.  Dogs that make a point of tugging at your heart strings.  Miss Addie-pants, while she is a fantastic dog, is calm and shy, and also an adult; people just don't tend to look as hard at such dogs, but Miss Addie deserves the attention.

**Everytime I wrote "Little Miss Addie Pants" I turned to her and sang "little miss, little miss, little miss Addie Pants" ala the Spin Doctors.  She likes it.  I can tell.


Lulu's Mom said...

Hi. I've been reading your blog for a few months now and this blog just touched me. I would love to adopt Addy. I live in a suburb in New York. Please let me know how I can contact you.


Kp said...

Hi LM!
I mean, welcome to the blog and thank you for posting, but most importantly - that is awesome to hear you're interested in helping Miss Addie Pants find her forever home.
As the short-term foster parent I don't have much involvement in her adoption, but if you visit
You'll find some preliminary information about adoption from the SW MI SPCA. Usually they do not do out of state adoptions, but if you e-mail, they can tell for sure if it's possible or not and how to make it happen. :)

Queen Holly the Magnificent said...

Oh my. I don't think I could take in foster dogs without ending up with a whole mess O' dogs in my house.

Anonymous said...

We are also hosting an SPCA foster for the week, named Snowbird, and the story is SO simliar it almost brings tears to my eyes! We adopted our 'Lana' last year in May and have a wonderfully comfortable family life. She is our family. We, too, were tenative about adding another dynamic to the mix with a temporary foster and in just 6 days have seen Snowbird (aka: Snowy, Snow-girl, Birdy...)make dramatic strides into being a happy dog. Not the skittish, anxious-looking dog we picked up up a week ago. She is full of love and affection and plays so nicely with our Lana. She wags her tail when people come in the room, she jumps up into bed now (when invited by us) for morning-time snuggles. She has accepted us as some of her people.
It has been so good for Lana, too! She is more patient and has learned to share a chew-toy (OMG!!). My heart is so full of joy for the bonds this little dog has made in a week. If anyone is interested in adopting Snowbird they will be so rewarded with calm affection. Thanks for sharing your/our story about fostering.
Shannon S.

Kp said...

Shannon, thank you for sharing! I've met Snowbird, and I'm so glad she had this time to be a real dog with a real family - she deserves it in spades. :) Can't wait for both of these pups to find their forever homes.