Are they gone yet?
As wacko as this past week has been, there have also been some highlights. Our efforts to find the pups forever homes are starting to pay off. We realized back in the beginning that the only way we would be able to part from these boys would be to know they were going to homes where they would be treated like a member of the family, and not be abused or neglected. So we put a lot of time into socializing them to love people, other dogs and also to have good manners and even do a little trick or 2. This was really important because, unfortunately in the world of animal shelters, black dogs, especially big black dogs are usually hard to adopt out. And these pups will be at least 50# when grown.
So please indulge me while I brag on our foster kids a little. These dogs have incredible temperaments and are very affectionate. They are well on their way to being potty trained, sit on command and are starting to come when called and are learning to fetch. They don't jump up on people (at least not yet) and have learned to use soft mouths around people's hands. In short, they are dream puppies.
Oreo was the first to be adopted by one of my coworkers and her family, which includes 2 great kids. They all bonded right away and his loving disposition is the perfect fit for their family. They're taking some family classes to train him, he will live inside but spend lots of time outside as they plan to include him in their various outdoor activities. They picked him up on Wednesday. Mr. C and I were both sad to see him go but it's made easier knowing that he will have such a good home. So we got a call from his new mom the next day and she raved about how he went right to bed without crying (the secret is that we turn on a sound machine that has a heartbeat every night at bedtime. We also sent him home with a towel that all of the puppies had slept on so he had their smell. And they got him a sound machine! How spoiled is that?) and slept through the night, and was pottying in the grass and hadn't even gone on his newspapers in the house. Brilliant dog - that's the way to get yourself a forever home! The best part is, since we work together, I will get regular updates and even get to see him from time to time. They renamed him "Buck", in honor of Buck O'Neill, a beloved Kansas City figure who played for the American Negro Baseball League and was just the sweetest man, well known for his generosity in fund-raising. It's a good name for a good dog.
So that left us with 3. We went down to one of the TV stations today - every Sat. am they feature an animal from our animal shelter and the boys were the stars today! I recorded the program and hope to figure out how to download it so I can put it on the blog. They were perfectly behaved, sat on the newscasters laps very politely and kept looking into the camera with their sweet little faces. Who could resist? Then we took them to the shelter where they had their own little puppy pen in the lobby and they were the stars of the day. I brought my knitting, but ended up being so busy that I only got a couple rows of my scarf done.
Marley was the most popular - sort of surprising since he is the biggest of the 3 with huge paws. A couple of people came so close to adopting him, and would have given him a decent home, but I just had a feeling he could do better. Do you believe in the power of prayer? I sure do. I said a quick one, and a little while later, a single mom and her 11 year old twin boys came in. My first impression was, I am ashamed to admit, "oh not them" because I was pretty sure one of the boys had Asperger's syndrome. (I work with lots of highly functioning kids with Asperger's and really enjoy them but many of them are just not good with pets). But physically, he reminded me of my favorite nephew, and I started talking with them and am I glad I did. He and his brother are 2 of the gentlest and politest kids I've met and it was obvious the mom had good judgement and a knowledge of dogs. They saw Marley and that was it. Love at first sight. For Marley too. It turns out, both boys have high-functioning autism. They have been raised around their grandparents' dogs and have learned how to be respectful of dogs. Marley just settled into their arms and kept licking them. I wanted to cry, it was just so touching. The mom was finally getting them the puppy they had been asking for, for their birthdays next week. They already knew what their responsibilities would be and the mom felt they were ready.
Now for the cool part - the part where you know it was meant to be. These boys had been among my first patients when I was starting out as a psychologist, 8 years ago. As soon as the mom told me, I remembered them (although I would have never recognized them they have grown and matured so much). She said when she recognized me, she knew she had to adopt Marley because I was the person who recognized their symptoms and referred them for autism evals and that, because they had gotten services at an early age, had been able to make such significant progress. I did cry then, because so often I never know how these kids I care so much about turn out. She wants to stay in touch and be able to send me pictures of Marley (who is being renamed Max Chocolate) and the boys. Who informed me as they were leaving that they were now his new dads and they would love him forever and would make sure he only ate good dog food so he would never get sick. We should all have such good dads.
So although we are 2 puppies fewer tonight, instead of tears, we're grateful and joyful and have high hopes for tomorrow when we'll take Griff and Cody back to the shelter to find them their forever families. We have reason to believe one of them will be going to their new home tomorrow, but it's not certain and I don't want to jinx it by saying anything yet. So stay tuned tomorrow for the continuing saga of the little puppy posse on the prairie.