Most people adore puppies. What's not to love, right? The sweet, soft fur. The playful exuberance. The chubby little sausage body. Squeeeee
Rescue volunteers, by and large, reach "maximum puppy" by the end of their first year on the job, however. For those of us who open our homes to dogs that don't belong to us, we are accustomed to chewed chair legs, ruined carpets, and hacking coughs that keep us up all night. We do it for the love of the dog, but that doesn't mean we're masochists. Adult dogs are exponentially easier than puppies. Puppies, with their razor teeth, unpredictable bladders, and poor decision-making skills . . . the cuteness wears off pretty fast.
Therefore, when our rescue's event coordinator posts a message to our fostering Yahoogroup asking, "Who can take a puppy?" what she gets in response is a bunch of volunteers looking at their shoes or gazing skyward and whistling some nameless tune. We pretend to be distracted by a shiny object and hope she doesn't make eye contact with us.
So, how did I end up with a puppy, you ask? Well, as you may recall, my foster dog Tucker was not doing well. He did not respond to the many medications or the special diet he was on. He continued to suffer from relentless diarrhea (often bleeding as well). Last Sunday he was unable to hold it through the night and pooped all over my house. It wasn't his fault, of course. He's quite sick. A friend and fellow volunteer came forward and offered to trade her foster dog (a puppy) for Tucker. By this point we had decided that Tucker needs to be on the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet and as a vegetarian, this is tough for me. Kim has tile floors and doesn't mind handling raw meat. We think this is his last, best chance for a normal life.
I met Kim in a parking lot last Sunday night. I'm surprised she even came to a complete stop before unloading the puppy. She was practically giddy as she handed over the little beast. "Here's her food!" she exclaimed and then sped off before I could ask too many questions. A was with me and was beside herself at the prospect of having a puppy in the house. She begged to have Brandy in her lap on the way home. I scooped up the pooch and put her in A's lap. Brandy promptly began gnawing on my child. My child, in turn, burst into tears and said, "I don't want her to come by me ever again!"
We don't get a lot of puppies in rescue. Typically, if we get a puppy in rescue, it is because the dog has something wrong with her - usually deafness or a medical condition of some sort. Brandy, who is three months old, is neither deaf nor physically unsound. She was purchased by an older couple from a pet store (minor rant: why are people still buying from pet stores? argh!). They hung in there as long as they could before calling our intake coordinator. "We've made a terrible mistake," they confessed.
I had to chuckle as I reviewed the surrender form they had filled out and signed.
Why are you surrendering this dog? We're too old
Does the dog have any behavioral issues? WILD
In truth, Brandy is just a typical Boxer puppy. She was born on Christmas Day, but there is nothing holy about this pooch, let me tell you. We play a lot of "guess what's in the puppy's mouth?" around here. A partial list of items found in said mouth: a Barbie shoe, a headband, a bandanna, a plastic bead, multiple shoes, a throw rug and the most noteworthy of all: a bible. My daughter received a children's bible from her Godfather and apparently Brandy found it to be delectable. Interpret that however you wish.
The good news: I've already found a home for Brandy with an applicant who had been waiting patiently for a dog. I just need to have Brandy spayed next week and then she'll be headed to her new digs. She's cute and all, but I'll be more than happy to let her chew somebody else's shit now. And yes, I will come to a complete stop when I drop her off at her new home.