Keeping up with the Fosters.

12249752_10154395995783242_3180926758913808838_n I have a friend who has a dog rescue called Rescues For JoJo. They mostly save the pooches from the high kill shelter in Memphis. They try to take the ones who are the least likely to be adopted and transform them into the creatures God intended. I’ve watched her do this for a long time, secretly envious of the people able to foster and rehabilitate these pooches because with  all we have going on here on the hobby farm, participating seemed impossible to me. Especially since Steve and I had decided to not have anymore inside dogs.

However, as fate (or God) would have it, I am now the proud foster parent of Bess. This sweet introvert with security issues and black spots on her tongue. She’s only been with us since Sunday the 22nd, so the only sure fire thing I know about her is that she is in tune with the world around her. She may be withdrawn, but her ears hear everything and her eyes are always looking, even when her head is withdrawn. I can tell she is extremely smart. I feel as if she knows some commands, even though she doesn’t follow them, she is alert to certain words. She looks to be in pretty decent shape for a stray found living in an abandoned building. Her ears are really clean and her personality just seems to say she had a family once. She’s had at least one litter of pups in her life. She has a distrust, fear, or dislike for people, although she was quite taken with my 2 year old Sophie. She’s the one in the photo. Bess would actually eat from her hand on day one and even reached out to smell her head. She VERY quickly picked up on using the potty on pads. I wish I could say that she goes outside, but as of now, I’m unable to get her to tolerate being on a leash. All she does is flip flop and barrel roll constantly. She chews on the chain thinking with all her might she’s gonna be able to break free and run away. She stands in the room we have her in and stares out the windows and paces around the door to outside. I’m not sure if she is missing something, or if it’s just fear of being confined.

Tonight after dinner I went down and opened her crate. She came out and drank some water, trotted around the room, then walked back into her crate and laid down. I climbed halfway in the crate myself and scratched around her ears and neck and sang You Are My Sunshine until she relaxed. She flinches when you touch her paws and legs. So I say and held her sweet paw for the longest time. As I sat in front of her crate, watching her look so distant and lonely, I had to wonder what in this world happened to her to make her so withdrawn and scared. After 4 days of love and food, most stray dogs move right in and take over the couch. Not her. She puts off an aura that she’s just waiting for the right time. As if she thinks there is no forever home and that I’m but one more stop on her mysterious journey.

I try not to assume she was beaten. I try to not believe someone dumped her off. I really try not to think about what happened to her puppies. I try to believe she was someone’s fur baby, and somehow she was lost. But I know I can’t lie to myself and help her. She’s been abused somehow. She doesn’t flinch and hide for nothing.  I’ve been scouring the internet reading articles and advice columns trying to learn all I can so that I don’t screw her up more or delay her recovery. I’ve learned that time is the champion, with love and consistency hand in hand.

To tell the truth, it’s hard not to take it personal at first. I found myself wondering if I was the right person and feeling sorry for myself as I was filling her water bowl. I mean, animals love me. I’ve saved animals my whole life. I’ve stopped traffic on more than a few occasions to get turtles out of the roads. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve stolen my share of abused dogs straight from the yards they were prisoners in. I’ve dewormed, demanged, debrokened a few dogs in my lifetime, so I had it in my head that ‘love is all ya need…’.  Now I’m being tested, because I’ve never had a true abused animal, but only neglected ones. This is a whole new thing. Dogs love naturally. They bond with humans and give themselves completely naturally. It’s NOT natural, for a mutt especially, to be withdrawn and fearful. Not just shy and cautious….. She has NO INTENTION of getting to know us. As far as she’s concerned, this is just another kennel with a concrete floor. She feels safer outside all alone than in a warm house with good food. I wonder what hell she’s been through.

So Father Time will you  help me out? I’m going to start treating her like I would treat any dog in my care. She probably thinks something’s up with how I’m always trying so hard to console her. “Here comes that weirdo with the high pitched voice…”   I don’t feel she’s defeated, but I know she’s indifferent to love right now. She does not trust anyone will be there long. She is now programmed to escape and flee and survive. (tapping fingers on keyboard thinking on what to do to help her)

Wish me luck if you will and send advice if you have any. This wont be a short road for anyone caring for her. But I do believe it’s possible sooner than later because of how engaged she is with her surroundings. She may not see me, but she hears. She may not trust me, but she sees me there.  The day will come when she stops staring at windows wishing for wings.

{You can find more info on Rescues For JoJo on Facebook and Instagram}

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