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Adios Boogie…and the Great Retriever Caper

img_4457Boogie has left our little family and moved on to his forever home.  He packed up and headed out on Thursday and while we enjoyed his short visit we were not heartbroken to see him go.  Mostly because we knew he found an amazing family to join and secondly because Brandon, Paterno and I were exhausted.  We hadn’t experienced a puppy in almost 10 years and it was tiring!  After Boogie’s departure Paterno just slept on the couch for two days before he perked back up.  He had enough of a puppy in his face, pulling at his ears, hitting him on the nose and licking his face.  As we recover we can celebrate that our second fostering adventure was a success and our fostering record is at a respectable 1-1.    I think I really knew it was a success when Boogie’s new mom came to pick him up and she gave me a hug before leaving to thank me for watching after Boogie for her.  I realized we were a small part in helping a family become more complete.   It’s not just about finding a dog a home but it’s also about making a family complete.  Nittany and Paterno were such an integral part in making our family what it is today and we helped another family do that same. It didn’t take long after Boogie’s departure for us to start talking about what the next dog we fostered would be like, and we are hopeful to be part of more dog’s story as they come to Colorado and find their forever home. images

On Tuesday night after Paterno and I got back from our daily walk we had an unexpected knock on the door.  Paterno and I hopped off the coach to see who was at the door and were surprised to find a middle aged man we had never seen before.  Because we didn’t know him I wasn’t overly eager to open the door so I politely asked through the closed door how I could help.  He began to explain that he lived up the street a couple of houses and he had lost his golden retriever.  I immediately felt for him and his lost dog and was about to ask how I could help…and then he opened his mouth again…He said that the neighbors had seen me with a golden retriever and he believed I had his dog and asked how long I have had my dog.  Before I could answer he went on to say that he lost his dog three months ago and believed I had found his dog and was keeping it as my own.  I did a 180 from wanting to help to being really pissed at this complete stranger.  My reluctance to open the door went away and I swung open the door so he could get a good look at Paterno.  I bluntly asked if his dog had a deformed leg?  I then introduced him to Paterno and let him know that we had Paterno for over ten years and came to us from the rescue with a birth defect and we had taken him in because no one else wanted him.  He looked at my blankly not knowing exactly how to respond.  He just went on to tell me that he had left for work over three months ago and he had left his dog unattended in the yard and when he got back hours later the dog was missing.  He also added that the dog was not chipped and did not have any identification like a tag or collar.  My anger boiled because not only was a stranger accusing me of stealing his dog he was also giving me a laundry list of how much of an irresponsible dog owner he was.  I managed to apologize about the loss of his dog but also reminded him that if someone found him they would have no idea how to return him without proper identification.  He wanted to pet Paterno and all I wanted was for him to take his accusations and leave.  Finally, after a couple more awkward moments, he left and Paterno and I returned to the safety of our living room.  I don’t remember being this mad in a really long time.  What type of person does something like this?!

There was so much I wanted to say to this stranger but I was so mad I couldn’t even form the words.  First being if I were to steal your dog why the hell would I walk up and down in front of your house with him a daily basis for you to see?  Secondly, we have lived in the neighborhood (with Paterno) for four years and you have never said anything to me but thought it was completely appropriate to come and accuse me of stealing your dog.  And who the hell were the neighbors that tipped him off to us being the ones that stole his dog?  I wanted to yell that if we wanted what he believed to be his golden retriever back I would be more than happy to gather up his epilepsy medicine, his special boot we made for his bad paw, and all his toys and he could just pay us back for his medication, vet bills, pet insurance, and registration fees and he could have him!  (Don’t worry Paterno I would have never really given you to this horrible stranger). I also wanted to tell him that we are such bad people that we were currently fostering another dog and helping him to find his forever home…or maybe we were just planning on stealing that dog too…

It’s been an eventful week at our house and we are enjoying a nice calm weekend full of breweries and food trucks before heading in to another week.  I hope your weekend is everything you want as well!

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More Adventures in Fostering…and Boogie’s Happy Ending

We have successfully survived out first weekend as foster parents.  It had its highs and lows and ups and downs but at the end of the weekend Boogie has found an amazing home…and it’s not us J  I know we had many doubters who thought Boogie would end up the next member of the English family.  But instead Boogie will be leaving us on Thursday to move to Georgetown and start his new life with his amazing forever family.

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Fostering has been a very educational experience.  Boogie was a dog like no other.  We have been parents to a black lab golden retriever and a golden retriever that we got as itty bitty puppies.  Both had lived pretty charmed lives before coming to our home and came without any trauma or emotional baggage.  Boogie was a completely different story.  We have no idea what his life was before he got to us but we can tell it wasn’t good.  He was nervous and timid and afraid of everything except Paterno.  His second day with us involved a trip to the vet to find out what was going on with his ears and to check out a scratch on his leg.  They found a bacterial infection and he was immediately put on antibiotics.  The trip to the vet pretty much terrorized him and he retreated to his crate for the remainder of the day.  Friday he spent the day with Brandon and was showered with love and more importantly…treats!  We found that Boogie is pretty food motivated and was starting to take food out of our hands.  He still didn’t allow us to pet him but he was accepting bribes which was a good sign.  Saturday was another terrorizing event when the first family that was considering adopting him came to visit.  He hated that experience more than he hated Brandon and I.  He wouldn’t come out of his cage to meet them and when we finally pulled him out of his safe spot he just stood on his leash shivering with nervousness.  The family didn’t really seem interested in the intense time commitment it would take to get Boogie to the point of being a “real” dog and headed out pretty quickly letting us know they would call us if they were interested…they never called back (and we were okay with that).  The rest of Saturday he retreated back to his crate once again only coming out to eat and go outside.  On Sunday Boogies luck changed.  A second family came to meet Boogie and they immediately fell in love with him (he is pretty cute and lovable despite is current personality).  Boogie was his usual illusive self but even with that they loved him and could see him as part of their family.  For the first time I knew Boogie was going to be okay and had found his forever home. After meeting his new family Boogie was ready for some more alone time and once again retreated to his crate.  For the rest of the weekend we have been working with Boogie trying to get him more comfortable with his surrounding and people in hopes of a smoother transition to his forever home.  He has been making baby steps but often heads to his crate for sanctuary.  We are excited when Boogie chooses to be the same room as us for a couple of seconds or lets us touch him…like I said, baby steps.

The taking care of Boogie has been the easy part.  We know how to keep a dog healthy and safe so we just brought Boogie in to his family and treated him like our dog.  The difficult parts have been the emotional parts of fostering that we never consider.   Wondering if Boogie would get a family, meeting a family who was a horrible fit for him and wondering if the potential adopters would all be like that, thinking Boogie might live with us forever even though he wasn’t exactly the dog we wanted, and finally the relief of finding the perfect family for him.  Fostering can turn in to quite the emotional rollercoaster.   The first day or so I was so upset and even a little depressed that Boogie didn’t want anything to do with me and feeling so bad for the life he lived before making his way to Colorado.  But, I realized that I can’t focus on that I can only meet him where he is, be there for him, and not to take anything personal.  I was doing the best I could do.

We know that dogs like Boogie need a good family but he just wasn’t the best fit for our family.  Paterno wasn’t that excited about having a puppy who would only pay attention to him (Paterno enjoys snuggling and cuddling and had gotten used to being the center of attention) and we want a dog who will cuddle and let us touch them.  Also, I am pretty sure we want a female dog because we need to even up the boys vs. girls team around here!   Like I said fostering has been a very educational experience.  We were happy to share our home with Boogie but I think there is a part of us that is excited for him to go to his forever home on Thursday.   I am excited to be able to clean the house and doing laundry without scaring the bejesus out of Boogie and Paterno is looking forward to snoozing on the living room floor without being pounced on by a puppy!

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