One big puppy

A facebook friend posted this picture and I almost fell out of my chair. That’s my dog. And she was saying that his family was moving suddenly and he had to find a new h0me. What? Actually, that’s one of the 11 puppies I fostered over 2 years ago. My adventure into craziness that changed my life.


I agreed to foster this litter with their mom on New Year’s Day 2010. Why not?! How could I know they would have such a huge impact.  They were 2 pounds, 3 weeks old when they came to live with me. They were cute and wiggly and slept a lot. That all changed on Day 2. Then on each subsequent day, they changed even more. Suddenly, they were 8 weeks old and ready for their forever homes. And not a moment too soon.

They all found homes, except for Chief. We kept that dude. And I continued my journey down positive-training-lane.

Then one day, I found myself back at the shelter, training shelter dogs. Fun, interesting, rewarding. Who walks through the door? One of my puppies.

Zorr was 9 months old, lots of energy, crazy. I understood perfectly because I had Chief and was walking him twice a day, throwing in obedience sessions about 5 times a day. It was a lot of work, but it had to be done or one of us would have lost our sanity. Zorr lived at the shelter for a few weeks, but I spent every extra moment with him. He was adopted to a wonderful family who spotted him downtown while I was walking him, trying to give him exposure and exercise and training all at the same time. Zorr became Zee and now lives with a boy and his family.

So when Roscoe showed up on facebook, I wanted to hate his family. What kind of people give up their dog? What brings a person to just walk away from a living, breathing, loving, needy dog?

Roscoe’s family had been trying to sell their house for a year. Suddenly a buyer showed up, paid cash and wanted them out in 7 days. That means out, now. Everything: family photos, furniture, memories and of course, the family dog.

I approached the house, didn’t want to be there. The teen-age daughter and dad were throwing stuff into boxes and packing the pickup truck. I just wanted to take the dog and leave. While they tried to find the vet records and bag up his toys, I noticed that my kitchen has the same tile counter as theirs; they sit on the same white plastic chairs out back that I have on my deck; and we have the same pointer/lab mix dog.

I grabbed Roscoe’s stuff, leashed him and headed for my car. “I’m just going to take him now; I’ll find him a great home.” The dad turned away, his whole body shook as I started down the stairs. His daughter kissed Roscoe, told him to be a good boy and sobbed, waved me away. Roscoe bounced into my car, unaware that his adventure would take him away from his family, forever.

On my way to the shelter, I had to stop 3 times – it’s hard to drive when you’re crying. Each time, Roscoe put his head on my shoulder, licked my face.

This morning, Roscoe was running on his 2 acres, visiting the neighbor dog, checking back in with his dad for a cookie. Tonight, he’s sleeping in a kennel at the shelter. I took him out tonight to swim with one of his brothers. That family is going to help me exercise this boy and get him into his new home as soon as possible.

We are all just one step away from giving up our family dog. It’s not our place to judge. We’re here to help. I’m grateful to facebook for letting me know that one of my puppies needed my help and I’m grateful to be back at the shelter to offer that help.

Roscoe, Chief, Newt, Ava, Zee, Einstein, Emma, Bailey, and the other 3 will always have a soft place to land.