Monday, August 9, 2010

A Fun Night at the Ballpark Sends me Down Memory Lane

A group of us took our dogs to see a River City Rascals game last night.   It was really fun.     Virginia and her daughter, Rachel,  brought Zippy the smiling dog.   I brought Saburo and two of my favorite dog parents in the world, Katie and Dan, brought Velma and Niko.     Velma was a puppy mill foster previously with me, named Calypso.    Every time I see her I can't help but think about the very rocky start she had in the world and in my home as a foster.

She was one of the most beautiful and terrified dogs I've ever had in my house.    We got her in December of 2009 and on her second night here, she bolted out my door and ran away.     I tried catching her, but she was still so scared of me she just ran harder.  I was so disheartened.   I was beyond upset - so depressed I couldn't even cry.  (which says A LOT for me)    I felt unbelievably awful, completely dejected, and just ready to give up fostering.   Here,  I had failed this dog after so many other humans had failed her.    She had been "this close" to a normal, happy life and one instance of juggling the door and keys and other stuff, she escaped.  I posted fliers in my neighborhood, called all the local vets and shelters and put an ad on Craigslist.    No word ... no word ... not even a nibble.     

Miraculously, after I had given up all hope one day while on my lunch break I received a call from Mindy.      Mindy found her walking down the street a block away from my home.   And this is the part where the universe aligned perfectly ... Mindy had experience as a vet tech, so she was able to lure Calypso close enough to her to catch her.    Then, she knew what to do to hold on to her even after she struggled and tried to bite her!    Mindy didn't see my signs, but she went door to door and one of her neighbors had seen my sign and told her about it.    Mindy trekked down the street, found the sign, got my number, called me and told me she had found her.    After I described her collar, she gave me her address and I went and picked Calypso up.   I was totally in tears, so happy, so grateful and once again feeling the goodness in people.   

The funny thing is, after that little adventure Calypso decided I wasn't so bad after all and became a very loving and affectionate dog with me.     But ... only with me.    Nobody else, not even my son Joey.    She obviously still had the scars from the puppy mill life and acted very skittish at adoption events and would almost cower behind me.   

One night I received a call from a couple who were interested in her.   I went on and on and on about how timid she was, how confident I was that she could learn to trust people but she would require patience.   Of course, once the people met her they could not handle how scared she acted.   I was so frustrated - I felt like nobody listened to me when I talked about Calypso to them!    So I changed her Petfinder page again and made her sound like a very scaredy dog!

Then, I got a call from Katie and she already had a dachshund and she was so sweet and nice.   Again, I warned her like crazy and she didn't seem too fazed by it.   But, you know, I had that experience just the week before so I was just waiting for it to fall through.    Then, a few days later we got another application.   WHAT???    Our director has a rule about the first application doesn't necessarily get to adopt the dog.   Whichever home is best is where they need to go.    So then I had to break it to Katie that someone else wanted Calypso.   Again, she wasn't fazed - she was nice and patient about everything.    

I ended up having two really good applications and felt like I was in no position to decide who she should go home with.    I couldn't give this dog away and now people were competing for her???    Another foster in the group,  Kathy D,  gave me the best advice ever:  she told me to wait to meet the applicants in person and then I'd know.    Was she ever right.    Katie and Dan, and their sweet doxie boy, Niko, were perfect.      They both got right down on the floor at Petsmart and talked to her and pet her and I could see it was a match made in Heaven!  However, I still had to meet the other applicants to follow group protocol.   Again, Katie was an angel and didn't get annoyed or frustrated, she just said to give her a call when I'd made the decision.  

The Look of Love
Needless to say, Katie and Dan and Niko were obviously the best fit.    To see Calypso, now Velma today, nobody can believe she's even the same dog.   She's happy, she's confident, she's curious - she's amazing.   I know she became the dog she was meant to be due to all the love and patience her new family gave her.    Any time I hear people talk about how a puppy mill dog won't change, I think back on the fairytale story of Velma, Katie, Dan and Niko.    

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