We had a Jack Russell Terrier with us at Spot’s House this month, a little girl who’d been bounced around until finally landing Nowhere — that place you reach just before Nowhere To Go.
We’ve always had four here at home, and anytime the pack has diminished to three, we’ve been found by a foster in need. We’ve had great luck: the pack has done well, and the fosters have found the BEST forever homes. After losing Broadway just before Christmas I figured we’d see a new arrival in the not too distant future. Still, I wasn’t “there yet” when this little girl’s need arose. But I couldn’t turn her away.
So little Lexi joined us. All went well at first. Sweet as they come, Lexi had her challenges. Her skin allergies common to Jacks were healing thanks to a simple dietary change, and her funny sideways gait and bobbing head from brain-related motor-skill impairment were more endearing than problematic. She’s no dummy, just a little wobbly.
So there we were with our new little brown-eyed lamb. I figured we had months to find her forever family.
Then she turned she-devil . . . on blind, TINY, 10-year-old Scout. The first time Lexi attacked her without warning, Scout screamed her siren until I could extricate her neck from Lexi’s jaws. I held her, both of us quaking from the unexpected violence.
I kept careful watch after that. Still, it happened again. I knew then that no matter the precautions, this was playing with fire. After the second unprovoked attack (everyone was lounging!), Scout cried long afterward. And while she’s tiny, she’s tough. I was heartsick.
So I shifted into looking for another safe harbor for sweet Lexi (she IS sweet! Aside from her prey-drive apparently triggered by Scout, she’s a loving, smart, obedient little girl). As one door after another closed, I pressed on, filled with dread.
Among those I reached out to was a friend who just weeks before had asked for help finding a JRT. We hadn’t talked since, so I didn’t know if he’d found one. He hadn’t, and he wanted to meet Lexi!!! I made sure her “special” traits were clear. Clark said, “That’s my dog.”
And what do you know — she was! Clark and Lexi (now Daisy) found each other and love the same day. As they prepared to leave I had to excuse myself. Treading the narrow wall of no answers in sight — while vigilantly monitoring Scout’s safety and Lexi’s sense of normalcy so as to not add damage to a girl who’d already endured too much — had taken a toll. After indulging in a 90-second fit of wailing in the furthest-most bathroom at Spot’s House, I returned to celebrate our girl home — in the arms of a man in love.
This might be my last venture in fostering for awhile. But, it might not. My biggest lesson here was how much I didn’t know about breed tendencies. And with my current population of little old-lady couch potatoes, that matters. So, yeah. We might see a number 4 any day. But if we do, you can be sure it will be one who’s completely at ease with a few small, older, lay-abouts. One of whom “has a V for Victim on her forehead due to her age, blindness and diminutive stature,” according to the Jack rescue.
Whoever comes, if they do, they will be loved.
Please join me in thanking the fosters. And also the rescuers, transporters, and those working in spay/neuter and all areas of animal welfare making a difference every day, in so many lives.
Thanks too, to Ann and Clark, for following their hearts to meet a little girl . . . and transforming her future >in the blink of an eye< from grim to glorious!
Pet foster parents work tirelessly to attain the skills necessary to provide animals who’ve endured abuse and neglect with the environment, training and love so desperately needed and so critical to helping transform them from undesirable to irresistible. It’s a huge job, and sometimes a lengthy one.
As you read this issue about what goes into the making of a Good Dog at any age, don’t miss the turnaround tales of Kevyn and Mele, two Pitties rescued from a dog fighting ring. Their stories include shining examples of foster parents who gave the time, love, discipline, and exercise required to build the bridge to get them home . . . at last.
Just before press time we learned that Kevyn — on the cover with foster dad Brian — had found his forever family. Soon, we hope to hear the same for Mele. Until we do, we can rest assured she’s in very good hands.
Bless the fosters.
Yours in everything pet,