Why I Adopted the Most Difficult Foster Dog I’ve Ever Had

by concepcion luz 13 days ago in dog

Sometimes a foster dog chooses you.

Why I Adopted the Most Difficult Foster Dog I’ve Ever Had

When Oreo first came into my life, I had been fostering dogs for three years. I was accustomed to the bittersweet goodbyes that came when a foster dog found their perfect forever home.

Fostering a dog means taking in a homeless pup for either a predetermined period or until the dog is adopted. Most of the dogs I’ve fostered were pulled from high-kill shelters, but there are many reasons a dog might need a foster home.

Oreo was dropped off at my house in October. She was rail-thin and skittish.

I sat crisscross on the floor to be on her level, which is recommended for initial interactions with fearful dogs. I allowed her to sniff me and explore her new digs.

She sauntered over to my dog, Tipsy, with her tail between her legs. Tipsy gave her a few licks right on the snout.

Oreo took to Tipsy almost immediately. Her long and rather peculiar curly tail started to wag ever so slightly. She reciprocated Tipsy’s French kisses. In dog lingo, this means “I come in peace.”

I adopted Tipsy from the Humane Society when she was just eight weeks old. At three, she’s practically a professional foster sister. She plays rough with my big dog fosters and displays motherly protection toward the little ones. Tipsy has unknowingly taught a handful of foster dogs how to be dogs again.

Oreo is a striking mutt. The vet estimates that she’s between three and four years old. She looks a lot like Petey from The Little Rascals, sans the drawn-on ring around one eye, hers is au naturel. She’s black and white (hence the too obvious name that I didn’t give her), tall and muscular, and currently about 55 pounds.

Upon arrival, Oreo weighed just under 40 pounds. Every rib was visible.

The shelter workers didn’t know any details about Oreo’s past but suspected that she’d experienced some sort of trauma.

My boyfriend, Patrick, had recently moved in with me. This was his first experience fostering a dog, so he had no idea what to expect.

Patrick is a compassionate and a total animal lover. He’s the type of person who will always pet a cat if given the opportunity, despite being incredibly allergic.

When Patrick got home from work that first day, it seemed apparent what she’d been through. She went from laying at my feet comfortably to cowering in a corner behind the sofa.

The first few weeks were pretty rough.

Patrick and I assume that she was abused by a man in her previous home; her trainer and veterinarian agree. I say “assume” because a dog who fears men wasn’t necessarily abused by a man, it can stem from a lack of socialization.

The first few weeks were pretty rough.

Patrick and I assume that she was abused by a man in her previous home; her trainer and veterinarian agree. I say “assume” because a dog who fears men wasn’t necessarily abused by a man, it can stem from a lack of socialization.

Although she had a fear of men, she never displayed any signs of aggression towards people of any sex — which was a relief, because she had a lot of baggage.

Moderately loud noises had the potential to send her into an anxious frenzy. Not closing the refrigerator door quietly enough made her react like she’d heard a nearby gunshot.

Oreo had stomach issues, which were partially anxiety-related. This made it nearly impossible for her to put on much-needed weight. She regularly got sick during her first month here, typically on my chic white area rug (RIP) which has since been replaced with a dark-coloured, machine-washable rug.

Although she adored Tipsy, she only liked certain other dogs and would lunge and bark aggressively at any dogs she disliked during walks.

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