Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vaya Con Dios, Dude

Andy went forever home on Sunday. I can't imagine a better place for him than the home he went to, but my house is still that much quieter without that big, dumb rottie boy.

Not that I'm going admit to missing him . . .

 . . . He's better off where he is now, trust me.

I believe that all dogs come into my life to teach me something, even the foster dogs, and Andy was no exception. Like all my fosters, the lessons he taught make me a better owner to my dogs. At the heart of it, Andy taught me that I can still foster. My herd isn't the same as it was four years ago when I had two easy-going, dog-friendly and dog-savvy canines. There are some volatile personalities in my current herd, not the least of whom is Rubi. All this considered, everyone was fairly well-behaved these last seven weeks. The generous application of stuffed and frozen Kongs helped, I'm sure.

Rubi - well, I'd say she conducted herself like a lady, but my brain has trouble putting "lady" and "Rubi" into the same sentence.

Suffice to say she did better than I thought she would. She was perfectly willing to be distracted by her Kong while crated with a strange dog in her house. She didn't make a peep watching him through the baby gates. One of the on-going problems B has had is the way she relates to other dogs (well, duh, right?). She has two methods for dealing with them: fight or play. When she meets a dog that doesn't want to play with her, she invariably harasses them so much that the other dog tells her off - and then it's game on. But with Andy, I saw something new. She would bump him a few times, play bow, and when that didn't work she would go find something else to do. She willingly ignored a strange dog.

I honestly didn't know she had it in her.

Andy also reminded me of a few lessons I'd forgotten. For instance: there's no age - or size - limit on puppyhood. Don't put tasty things in the garbage. Watch boy dogs carefully lest they get the urge to pee on your TV. When a 90lb dog is running at you full bore, get out of the way. Don't leave your wrist splint lying around on the kitchen counter where dogs can eat it.

Most importantly, Andy reminded me of the simple joy of saving a dog and finding the perfect home for him. That's a thrill that makes all those other lessons pale in comparison.

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