Sunday, January 23, 2011

Part 8. Jake.

Maggie remained healthy and stopped eating foreign objects, so our trips to the vet were few in the coming months. But the episode had left her quite wary of strangers, though, especially those that she thought might pick her up or put their hands around her like an examination. Despite my continuing to take her into public and despite the fact that I never reinforced this behavior, it continued to grow worse. Her fear grew to the point that I stopped taking her into public, and I worried that she would eventually snap at a stranger. It was also about this time that I realized how much she counted on our little cocker spaniel for support. When Maggie was a puppy, she would walk alongside Mopsy, holding onto her big flowing cocker ears like they were a security blanket. I thought it was cute and so I never stopped her. I knew that if she ever actually hurt Mopsy, the old cocker would take her down in an instant. She might look cute, but this little girl was tough. Anyway, I realized that she really was being used as a security blanket and when the “blanket” wasn’t around, Maggie was much more apprehensive. But it wasn’t all that important to me, they went together with me most of the time, anyway. Besides, it really was very cute. : )
During these months, I continued to stay in touch with the rescue that Maggie came from and on occasion, they would send an email asking for help with a home visit, or a transport. One day, an email arrived that asked for help with a transport on behalf of another rescue. There was a young guy in Stillwell OK in a shelter that found a home in Chicago and he needed a ride to St. Louis, and a place to spend the night. Other Mo-Kan volunteers got him as far as Rolla, and I picked him up from there. Such a sweet little boy named Jake. He was a smooth coat and had very little muscle mass, especially in his hindquarters. He had one ear up and one down which gave him a mischievous look and he was wearing a cheap collar in which someone had poked an extra hole to make it big enough. If you closed your eyes and imagined a homeless dog, Jake would fit the picture.
Nevertheless, he crated easily and rode carelessly. When he got to our house, I quickly took pictures and emailed them to his adoptive family. “Oh. He doesn’t really look like what we thought. We were hoping for a high-drive agility dog” was the response I got via email. Are you kidding me? They were going to change their mind about a dog that they rescued from a shelter based on one snapshot! I called them and said, “No problem. If you are not jumping up and down excited to have him, then I won’t bring him to you.” The reply was “we will take him if we have to, but no, we are not excited to have him.” I hung up… probably not very politely.
Not only was I angry at these people, but it made me realize that all rescues are not the same. This situation would never have happened with Mo-Kan. There is no way that a transport would have been initiated without the adoptive family having a lot of information about the dog, and them being certain it was the right thing to do. And no way would someone who volunteered to transport get “stuck” with a dog. But stuck we were.
So Jake became our first foster dog. I was surprised how gentle and sweet this shelter dog was. It was clear that he was not accustomed to living indoors (he had to learn to climb stairs) and he had NO obedience training. He was a few months younger than Maggie, and they quickly became best friends. She would even hold onto his ear now and then. And we posted Jake’s picture on Mo-Kan’s website and began looking for his forever home.

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