Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Waiting out the Storms

(Pictures Left:
1- Daisy, when first rescued. 2--The symbolic darkness, ice and storms, Daisy had to wait through before finally finding the sunshine and new hope and beginnings.)

Daisy, our beautiful Retriever/Chow mix was adopted yesterday by a fantastic family from Connecticut.

Daisy had a amazing, if not always pleasant journey from the Euth list at the city shelter, to boarding for almost 6 weeks, to foster, to finally and hopefully, her loving and forever home.

Daisy was one of those dogs one feels horribly guilty for putting in boarding.

A young, vivacious and human needy dog, Daisy went virtually stir crazy while being confined almost 24/7 in boarding.

When first rescued and suffering from Kennel Cough, Daisy had to go into "isolation" at the boarding facility. A small cage in an empty ward with almost no stimulation, it seemed enough to make even Lassie or Rin Tin Tin go crazy.

Those times I went to the facility to try to walk Daisy, she was so wild and uncontrollable on the leash, I could barely get to the corner with her.

A couple of the staffers at the facility complained that Daisy was "aggressive" and difficult to handle, though I personally never saw aggressiveness in Daisy. I saw only need and anxiety.

Daisy haunted me during her stay in boarding. Her behavior seemed so wild and hard to control, I was not optimistic about being able to place her.

Who's going to take a dog that can't even be walked? I wondered. How long will Daisy have to remain in this high stress environment and situation? Is it not, in fact, cruel?

As time passed with no inquiries on Daisy or real hope for adoption, I worried constantly.

I didn't know what to do.

As grim as matters seemed however, there was a glimmer of hope.

Fiorouzeh and her boyfriend, Mike volunteered to help walk boarding dogs a few times during December. When taking Daisy to Carl Shurtz Park, she seemed to do better when we all took turns running with her.

Another time, Fiorouzeh informed me that Daisy seemed to love and respond well to children.

These events provided some hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel for Daisy.

Perhaps it was just a matter of waiting out the storms and worry.

When Jewels, our little older Shepherd mix was finally adopted, it opened up Carrie (our primary foster) to take another dog.

I did not ask Carrie, but thankfully she offered to take Daisy home to try as a foster. Daisy was in fact, our most urgent case in boarding. But I could not be sure how Daisy would be with Carrie's three cats or Carrie's other foster dog (Spencer, the Cocker Spaniel). We were at least reasonably confident (with the information from Fiorouzeh) that Daisy liked kids and would thus, be OK with Carrie's two young daughters.

Amazingly and thanks primarily to Carrie's now extensive experience and ("dog whispering") skills with rescued dogs, Daisy flourished in Carrie's home.

Daisy learned to walk better on the leash and the fact that she was getting so much human attention and love resulted in a much happier and secure dog who was not only housebroken and eager to please, but actually very well behaved in the foster home. Daisy even proved to be a "whoose" with Carrie's three cats. -- If anything, the cats bullied Daisy!

The fact that Daisy was doing so well after a couple of weeks in a foster home that contained not only children, but cats and another dog as well, meant that I could then advertise and promote Daisy as a "excellent family dog."

This is what in fact, facilitated her adoption into a country home with other pets and two children.

It was indeed a happy day yesterday. One that we in fact had been hoping and waiting for since before the holidays.

Watching Daisy frolicking happily in the snow and joyfully jumping in the SUV next to the little girl and family she was going home with was sheer heaven for one's eyes.

But, its a sometimes long and troubled journey from rescue to the loving home we all so strive for in animal rescue.

One that sadly often presents with a lot of guilt, worry and "storms" along the way.

I am extremely fortunate to have volunteers like Fiorouzeh, Sarah and especially Carrie due to her commitment, family situation and vast knowledge and experience with dogs.

Without them, the "storms" might otherwise be endless and without foreseeable light. -- PCA

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