Sunday, January 29, 2012
Or as he is officially known, Jai (pronounced "Jay," from the Sanskrit word meaning "victory").
One of the best parts of bringing in a new foster is getting to know the dog. And there sure is a lot to figure out about Jai. All the information I had to go on when I picked him up from St Paul Animal Control was "Katie and Lara say he's a nice dog, MNPBR wants him but doesn't have an open foster." That's it. I don't even know if he was a stray or a surrender or what his background was. It's like he magically appeared in the SPAC kennel one day.
So far, I've learned that Jai is a great big dork. He's eighty-ish pounds and play bows to cats. He likes kibble and Kongs and hot dogs and snow. His favorite thing in the whole wide world seems to be peeing on stuff (as a side note, can't wait to get him neutered). He's a Class A+ snuggler, which in my world means "likes to lean and be touching you but doesn't feel the need to be on top of you." He doesn't know sit, but he's a quick learner. Not as fast as Allister, but not as slow as Piper. This boy's just right.
People seem to be drawn to dramatic stories. They have a morbid passion for telling people how poor and scared and abused their dog was, when in truth, it seems more like that their dog was simply under socialized or not stupid enough to try and argue with an obviously aggressive person (Your dog hides when you yell? Shocking). I wish I had a collar for every time someone has asked me if Maus was abused. As far as I know (which is pretty well), no one has ever raised a hand to Maus. He's just a naturally skinny, twitchy dog who doesn't like strangers. It's who he is genetically.
So you can imagine that I don't say it lightly when I tell you that I think someone has beaten the shit out of Jai. He's a sweet, solid dog who jumps when you touch him and he doesn't expect it. He flinches if you move your hands too fast. He winces when he hears the word "no" in casual conversation - a word I don't use at all when training my dogs. The first time he saw my husband, he pancaked to the floor, eyes wide, ratty tail clamped to his balls. He crawled up to Zach, the tail under his belly spasming a mile a minute, lip licking, throwing out every "pleasepleasedon'thurtme" cue in the existence of dogdom. Jai is a well put together dog who loves people and is terrified that people might hurt him.
Every once in a while, someone asks me if giving up my fosters to their new families is hard for me. It's not. This is the part of rescue that kills me. Jai is a happy, friendly, teddy bear of a dog, and someone in his life went out of their way to hurt him. Every twitch, every wince, every cower makes my heart ache. How could you, humanity?
So here in writing is my oath to you, Jai: I can't guarantee that everything will be perfect for you. But from here on out, dude, it's going to get better. We got your back.