When I got the call from a friend that she needed help with getting a small Chihuahua into foster care with us immediately, my original thought was, “we don’t really do small dogs, I mean we have before, but so many other organizations help small dogs and the large dogs are the ones in the most need”. But as the story unfolded, it seemed like us getting this dog out of a terribly sad situation was a no-brainer and our conversation ended with “where can we meet, I’ll come get her”.
Scruffy was kept in a poorly made, 4ft circular enclosure, with no shelter and standing in her own waste. Her “owners” said that she ran off once and got pregnant 5 years prior and they put her in there so that she wouldn’t run off and get pregnant again. So she had been sitting in that small enclosure for five years. This enclosure was located about 100ft from the home, it had no shelter over her head to protect her from the elements, she was living in garbage and her own feces, as well as receiving little to no interaction on a daily basis unless it was to get fed, which was inconsistent at best. At first, the owners told us to take her without hesitation. But once on their property, we had to negotiate with them to give her to us. We told them that her shelter didn’t meet legal requirements and that she could potentially get in trouble for the conditions the dog was living in. That didn’t seem to concern them, and it wasn’t until we offered them money to buy the dog, that they finally agreed to let her go.
As all this was happening, I posted on social media pleaing for a foster. I had no place for this little dog to go but we couldn’t leave her where she was. Strangely, my aunt, commented on my post saying she was interested, which NEVER happens. My aunt lost her beloved dog 4 years ago and never seemed ready for another. It didn’t matter how many times I’d tag her or send her pictures, Until that day she read Scruffy’s story. She called me and said that this dog tugged at her heart and that she would “foster” until we could find a place for her to go. I took Scruffy to my aunt’s house that evening. By the time I got there, she had a brand new bed with a warm fuzzy blanket, a full little bowl of food and fresh water waiting for her. The first thing she did was crawl into the bed under the blanket!
Throughout the next few days we learned that Scruffy was not potty trained and heartworm positive. Both not shocking discoveries. So we knew there might be some work to be done along the way. At first my aunt felt overwhelmed, since it had been years since she had a dog she wasn’t used to having to train and constantly watch. I was concerned that maybe I might have to find a new foster for Scruffy, but my cousin told me “I know my mom, just make her keep her there for a week and she’ll never leave”. Fortunately, with training support, we were able to get Scruffy properly potty trained, and well, my cousin was right. The next thing I knew, my aunt was taking Scruffy in for heartworm treatment and agreeing with the vet when he called her Scruffy’s owner! It was all over. While I do see Scruffy regularly, I still get update texts from my aunt. She loves that little dog and Scruffy is part of the family and spoiled rotten.
“Sruffy was originally my “foster” but she grabbed my heart so I adopted her. She is so sweet. She loves to give kisses. When we got her she didn’t even know the concept of play but it is now one of her favorite things – chewing on her chew toys, or chasing them when we play catch. She loves to go for walks & loves to run around the backyard. She wants to please & was fairly easy to potty train. I’m so glad I decided to keep her”!
Even with family, we do post adoption follow up! It is so important we know where our dogs end up and that they have the best life possible!