Friday, July 29, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Foster an Animal: #6

 Reason #6: Fostering an animal can be a wonderful experience for your resident creature(s). Our resident canine princess, Beatrice, is an outstanding dog in many ways. But she has had struggles getting along with some other dogs. God bless her. She’s a gamey pit bull who lives to play, so she can be a bit much for dogs who, for instance, don’t love to be tackled 29 times a day and/or have their ears and feet pulled during a wrestling match. She’s not a dog park dog, and she’s an only child, so her opportunities to play with dogs could have been very limited.

But when she was a year and a half old, we began fostering dogs through CBBR.  It was the second best thing we ever did for our dog. (The first was taking her to really excellent training classes.) As we slowly introduced one new dog after the next into our home, we watched Bea’s overwhelming, spazzy joy at meeting new dogs turn into something altogether different. Our crazy dog became a mentor. We didn’t teach her. She just had it in her to slowly assess what each new foster dog needed from her and then provide it. With happy-go-lucky pups she too was happy-go-lucky and let them crawl all over her. With dominant Scarlett she was attentive, slow, and respectful. With terrified, shut down Rosemary (now Betsy Biscuit) she was a reassuring best friend.  Without fail, she has taught our foster dogs how to enjoy life again.
Because we shared our home with so many needy dogs, Beatrice has not only gotten the socialization she craved, but has become a rescuer in her own right.  I will never forget the day I first let her meet Rosemary. After we found her dumped on an 8 lane highway, she had been curled up in her crate 24 hours. She trusted me, but she was terrified of the world. She commando crawled wherever she went. After some careful planning, I allowed Beatrice to approach Rosemary’s crate. I stood back to watch their body language. Bea moved slowly into a play bow. Rosemary stretched forward to sniff her. They almost appeared to be whispering to each other. And then Rosemary stood all the way up for the first time and wagged her whole body. I started to cry like the mush ball that I am because it couldn’t have been clearer that Bea had simply told her that everything was going to be okay.
Pictured from top to bottom: Delilah and Bea, babyLinus chewing on Bea's face, and Betsy Biscuit and Bea having a post-adoption playdate.

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