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Bonding of the Bear and the Bull

by Jeff Carter 7 months ago in adoption

Foster Friends to Full-time Family

Toro & Oso

I knew I wanted to adopt a dog, but I did not think I would be adopting from, of all places, Overstock.com. In 2014 the partnered with local adoption agencies where I found this adorable picture at my local animal shelter.

Oso, at 4 years old, at the Humane Society

Oso was being sheltered in the Foster Program with his brother, Tiny. (We changed his name to Toro, which seemed much more fitting for his personality.) Both puppies were 4 years old.

Toro (formerly Tiny,) at 4 years old, at the Humane Society

When I asked for Oso I was told that the two of them came as a package. We were asked to take them on a walk to see if we wanted to host them for a week before an official adoption took place.

If you need some help picturing this odd couple imagine a standard watermelon standing next to very “barkative” grapefruit. Oso is a 25lb Doxle (Dachshund/Beagle(?) mix) and Toro is a 7lb Chiweenie (Dachshund/Chihuahua mix.) Both are a beautiful black and tan.

Two little sausage loafs came out barking an introduction to us and we proceeded to walk around the shelter grounds.

Before I get too far into the adoption story, I should give you a little background: Oso and Tiny were both brought to Utah from California shelters where they were a little lost in the system. Oso’s origins are unknown, but it was clear that he was heavily abused. Toro was a stud in a puppy mill, also very abused. It’s apparent in their botched ear notching and overall demeanor. They tightly bonded on their journey to Utah and were fostered together.

Both dogs were quick to receive homes with caring families, but their loving bond was so strong that they became depressed and stopped eating without each other for company. Both dogs were brought back to the shelter under the impression that the dogs couldn’t bond with their families.

When we finished our walk with the pair I was ecstatic to be able to take them home. While I spoke to the foster program leader my partner sat to the side in a small chair with both dogs on leashes. This was the moment we knew the dogs were meant for us: Oso, unable to contain his excitement, leapt unexpectedly into my partner’s lap.

About 3 seconds before Oso's excited leap into his new dad's lap

The foster program told us that we were required to keep them a week and then bring them back for an assessment. I told them that it was a pretty done deal as far as I was concerned, but I would be happy to come back and sign off paperwork the following week.

I remember one of the program leaders telling d me, with a stern look, “these dogs are going to need to be walked every day.”

We brought the pair home and put out their little dog beds. They smashed together in one and wait for our next move, so we took them on another walk… and another walk… and another walk. After 4 days I called the foster program and told them if they wanted me to come sign the paperwork early, I would be happy to and they asked me to come in the same day.

I’ve walked them every day, rain or shine, for the next 7 years and going strong.

Summer Walks

Winter Walks

I’ve had people ask me before, “isn’t it harder to take care of adopted dogs? You don’t get to see them as puppies.”

Dogs, in general, will love you unconditionally. I look at my little fuzz buckets and know that they will be waiting with wagging tails for me when I get home from work. I know that they want to eat dinner at 6pm and that they will sleep in until 10am if I let them. I know that they will kiss me on my hand and shy away from pictures and that they hate lightning, fireworks, and strange people in their home.

None of these things change because I got them when they were 4 years old.

What does make me sad is that they didn’t get to know us when they were puppies. They were so timid about playing with toys that it took nearly 6 months before they were comfortable with it and even then they wouldn’t play unless we were in a different room.

Someone hurt them and took the puppy out of them. I get to spoil them like they deserve and put the puppy back into them.

Oso has had his health issues and Toro is horribly terrified of… well, everything… but again, these wouldn’t change if I had met them day 1 or day 1,000. I get to hold Oso’s hand at the vet when he gets his shots and cuddle Toro when he’s attacked by a maple leaf in the wind.

They know we are safe. They know we are home.

We know they are part of our chosen family.

Family Portrait 2020

adoption

Jeff Carter

I enjoy writing short stories in magic realism, horror, and the bizarre. I have ambitions to write a novel.

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Jeff Carter
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