As many of you know by now, Chip and I both love dogs. Like really love dogs. We spoil our Wrigley far too much but he’s our buddy, our special friend. Due to my love of canines, I’ve become very passionate about shelter dogs in the last decade or so. My heart goes out to these animals that have either gotten lost from their homes or have been abandoned by their owners. It sometimes embarrasses me how quickly I can cry and get upset about seeing a lost, hungry dog, but with Chip’s encouragement I’ve realized and embraced that this is the way God made me. He gave me a heart full of compassion for these animals and is something we are to use as a gift. Because of this, I’ve been wanting to foster a dog (in all honesty, I would love to start a dog sanctuary, but that’s not in our budget :)). I’ve learned that fostering a dog actually saves two dogs – the one you welcome into your home and the one that now has an empty kennel to fill at the shelter. We have a pretty big yard in our home and plenty of love to give, so it was only a matter of time before we took our first foster.
A few days ago, I got an email from a fellow coworker about some dogs that were going to be put down at Animal Care Services. Sadly, there is a stray animal overpopulation in the city, so animals are being put down everyday. Luckily there are great organizations across the city that take in these animals and try to find them foster or permanent homes before their time is up at the shelters. One of this organizations is CARE and on my coworkers has been doing a lot of work with this agency. So in this email, a woman from CARE had been able to save a group of dogs, but needed people to foster or adopt them as soon as possible. One of these dogs was Duke, a 3-4 year old lab mix. When I saw this email, I forwarded it to Chip to see if any his coworkers were looking for a dog and also to see when we would be comfortable fostering a dog. After several emails and text messages, we decided that this was a great opportunity and Duke would be our (first) foster dog.
So yesterday, I picked him up from ACS after work. Overall, it was clear to see that he is pretty scared and timid. He was shaking when he got out of the kennel and would occasionally try to bolt away while we walked out. It took about 20 minutes to go from the kennel, to the veterinarian building next door and then to my car. But we got there and eventually made it into my car! I’m thankful that Chip was already at home and was able to get Wrigley on his leash so we could try to hold back his excitement and allow timid Duke to come in the house at his own pace.
Since we brought him home yesterday, we’ve already seen an improvement. Yes, he’s still timid and is hesitant to approach us, but he seems to be interacting really well with Wrigley and has made himself comfortable in the backyard. He’s been so content in the backyard that he didn’t come back inside the house until about 10 minutes ago even though we’ve had our backdoor open all evening yesterday and today (and he really only came in because I got him on his leash and made him come in so he wouldn’t be outside during the rain tonight…). But I have hope that he’ll soon put his barriers down and be the more carefree and relaxed dog I believe he can be.
All of us will be playing a role in finding Duke a home. Wrigley has been assigned the task of socializing Duke and helping him become more relaxed and playful. Chip and I are going to help him put on weight (his hips are so skinny right now!) with hearty helpings of dog food, be gentle with him to help create trust for people and show him what it’s liked to be loved. So San Antonio friends, if anyone is looking for a sweet, gentle dog, we just may have the right friend for you! More posts to come on his progress :)