May 9th 2009 7:07 pm
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Adoption and what it means to me...
Adoption for me means trust and security, it means love and warmth. It means always having a home but remembering where I cam from and how far I have come. For me, adoption saved my life and gave me a new start. Adoption gave me a family.
But now I think I will pass the keyboard over to mom so she can tell my story.
I have told Raven’s story over and over again but I think it’s an important story to tell and a story that people can learn from and be inspired by.
Raven, her mother and her two siblings were dumped on a farm just outside of town. The ACO (Animal Control Officer) was not supposed to go outside city limits for but some reason in this case the police chief told him to go anyway. When he got there, the situation was not as easy as it seemed, the mom and pups were pretty much terrified and kept running away, the pups were chased down in a corn field and finally caught but the momma dog was never caught. This was all on a Friday afternoon and I came in to do kennels Friday night (I work at the shelter on Friday nights/Saturday mornings). Every single kennel was full and the pups were terrified. I vividly remember trying to pick Raven up to take her outside, she kept running from me in her kennel then freezing and she squealed in terror when I touched her. But as soon as I picked her up she stuck her head under my chin and was calm. I took her outside but she immediately hid from me behind a chair. I sat there and cried, it had been a long time since I cried at the shelter but I couldn't imagine what these pups had been through and how neglected and sheltered they must have been to be this scared. Normally I let all the dogs out twice but I decided to just leave the puppies in their kennels because it was too traumatic for them and hopefully they would be better in the morning.
I came in the next morning and there was a small amount of improvement in the pups but they still would rather run and hide from you. I couldn't stand the clumps of mud and burrs all over them so a volunteer and I cut them out, I was amazed at how calm and quiet they were and they allowed us to trim must of the mud balls out of their paws. By the end of the morning I had decided to take 2 of the pups home to open up some kennels and to help the pups feel more comfortable. The larger female picked on the littlest one so I took the male and the black female home.
I was so not prepared!! The pups hated collars and were afraid of leashes and I didn’t have a fenced in yard. So I ran to the store and bought some chicken wire and T-posts and created my own version of an X-pen for them. I named the boy Harley and the female Raven. Harley warmed up instantly and was a well adjusted boy, he also figured out how to get out of the home made X-pen after one or two tries! Raven barked at me the first few times I came into the laundry room where they were staying but soon she started to wiggle in happiness at the sight of me.
I let them adjust to collars and leashes and introduced them to the cat and toys (they were pretty sure the cat was a toy). After a long weekend I took Harley back to the shelter so that a family could fall in love with him. Raven stayed with me because I was convinced she needed more socialization and care.
Well, she never left. After a few weeks I realized there was no way I could let Raven go. I was the first human she ever trusted and she was pretty sure I made the sun rise and set. I called a trainer to help me with the transition of adding another dog to my household and she asked me why I wanted to keep Raven. At the time Raven was on her side in between my legs and looking up at me wanting me to protect her from the scary lady (the trainer) but also waiting for a belly rub. Raven 100% trusted me; I was her protector, provider, and her mom, there was no way I could let her go.
I signed the adoption papers a few days later.
I have never regretted that decision in the least. Raven is my joy, she was a piece of my soul that I didn’t even know I was missing. Even though she is over 2 now she is still my puppy girl, a constant wiggling delight. She makes me smile and laugh every day no matter what my mood is. We are connected more than I ever thought possible. I struggle to live life by her example and meet the world head on, wondering with anticipation, what’s next.
Our relationship and Raven’s adoption is based on trust. She trusted me and I couldn’t betray that trust and send her to a new home, our bond was too strong and ran too deeply. And because she trusted me I couldn’t let her down, I knew I would do whatever I needed too to keep her happy and healthy. When I signed my name and promised to be her forever home, I meant it. To me the promise of adoption is just and strong and eternal as our love for one another.
I saw a quote on Dogster once that I think sums things up perfectly... "Foster homes don't fail, they just make the right decision".
December 31st 2007 1:58 pm
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Well, you can definitely say 2007 was a big year for me. First off, I was born. ;) That happened really early in the year. Then came March when I was unceremoniously dumped in a cornfield just outside of town. Someone called the police and they made the ACO come out and get my family. We ended up being a little bit more wild than advertised but they caught me, my sister and my brother, my mom was never caught.
After trying to run from the scary men I was shoved into a crate with my sister, who tended to try and kick my butt every chance she got so when we finally got to the shelter we each got our own kennel. Mom even remembers which one I was in- it was the large kennel behind the door. I was so black and little you could barely see me. Mom had to chase me down in my kennel just to pick me up- you see, I was very, very scared and didn't know where I was. But once mom picked me up I tucked myself under neath her chin was and still as could be. Once outside I ran behind a chair and wouldn't come out for anything. Mom sat down and cried wondering what could have happened to us to make us all so scared. We were so scared that mom said to not even take us outside again (normally all the shelter dogs are let our twice, once just to potty and the second time to play) because it just frightened us. The next morning mom was there again and we were all a little better. My sister Cleo and I had burrs and globs of mud stuck to us so mom took a little extra time and cut the nasty ones out of our paws. I was very good while she held me, just stayed as still as possible hoping it would all be over soon. By the end of her shift mom had decided to take me and my brother Harley home with her to assess us and try and socialize us. It was a challenge because we didn't know what leashes were but she didn't have a fenced in yard. Mom actually went and bought some posts and some fencing to make a small puppy pen for us. The thought makes her laugh now but at least she was innovative!
Harley did great and loved everybody and everything. I was still pretty shy and would bark at mom in the morning and bark at the neighbor man. After about 4 days mom took Harley back to the shelter but held on to me because I needed more "work". A week after I first came to the shelter mom had to drop me off there again to get my vet visit done. I was a good girl but scared and super happy when mom came to pick me up again later that day.
Time passed and mom found herself in love with a fluffy, bear cub of a puppy. There actually were a few applications for me but none of them felt like the right home to mom and since I was her foster they would let her decide on my forever home. I got kind of worried there for awhile because I was dropped off at the vet's and picked up by some strange lady. Where was mom? As it was explained to me later I was spayed and then had to stay with mom's friends while she took a trip. When she got back however she knew she needed to work something out.
Determined to keep me and make things work with Riley mom called Lainey, a trainer from Lincoln. Lainey came down and Riley liked her right away but I was scared to death of her! However, Lainey said that yes, Riley could learn to live with me and it might not even be as hard as mom thought. So two days later mom went and signed the adoption papers, paid her fee, and I was hers forever.
Whew, and that was just May 2, 2007!
That summer was a blast. I chased butterflies and junebugs, had my first swimming lessons, learned about hiking and taking walks. I got to meet pals at the dog park like Bruno and Polar. Some time during the summer I lost my fluff. I went from a fluffy pup to a sleeked out beauty. I guess that happens when you grow up.
In August I met my best friend Bray. I guess he was at the shelter too and mom introduced him to his new parents who were waiting to adopt a beagle like him. Bray got to stay at our house for a week, which was a blast and cemented our friendship.
Sept and October are months for hiking. Mom took us all over the place and took some great pictures. I even got to be off leash because my recall was getting better and better. We would hike and swim almost every weekend, it was great! Also in October I start something called obidence classes. Now those were interesting. It mainly meant doing a couple of tricks, getting lots of treats, and playing with my pals- what could be better than that?!
October was a big month... Mom also drove down to Kansas and rescued Levi and Buck with the help of her friends. I LOVED Levi, he was a great pal. Wish he was closer than Ohio so we could play.
In December I got to experience my first grown-up snow. I loved it to say the least. It was so fun to pounce on the snow and chase down snow balls. Now mom tries to take us to the rec area once a week so we can run around and just be dogs. I love those trips. Running and sniffing and playing with Riley. Occaisionly trying to hunt down a mouse or a squirrel... but it's so nice just to be a dog and get a super big workout. I don't ever seem to care about the cold but I know mom complains once in awhile but she sucks it up because she loves me. Now, at the end of my very first year I weigh 47 pounds. 30 pounds bigger than when mom first saw me at the shelter
Some of my favorite things that happened this year-
Mom adopting me
Meeting Bray and Levi
Getting Riley to finally play with me
Chasing bugs in the grass
Cuddling with mom
Getting to know G'ma
Pretty much everything I experienced was a first for me this year so a list of first would be pretty long. BOL!
Things mom wants to remember about me this year-
The way I cuddle
Me chasing a butterfly for the first time
Me sniffing a dandelion for the first time
The plastic bag mess she came home to when I decide to help her recycle
The way I wiggle my whole body at her when she comes home
I learned to jump into the car on my own
The first time I went swimming
The way I pounce and play with the snow
The way I used to just sit quietly on her lap and watch the world go by
The first official Riley/Raven cuddle caught on camera!
That's pretty much it for this year. I will add anything else if I think about it. What a big year though!! Here's hoping the next one is even better. =)
September 16th 2007 6:52 pm
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Ah, the weekend. So nice! Friday we ran into Bray and his mom on the way home but since we knew they were headed to the dog park we stopped there too. We had a blast! A little dog called Pepper stopped by and my new friend Brownie was there too. We were all running around wrestling and having a great time. Mom and I didn't want to leave but mom had to go to work at the shelter.
Saturday was a lazy day. Mom acted all weird and was making a lot of noise when she read that the Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes. She says Go Cyclones!!! After all we went for a long walk and hung out the rest of the night.
This morning was the best though. We went to Big Indian and walked the back trail where Riley and I can run off leash. Mom says I am so much better at recall now. All she has to do is remember to bring the treats. ;-) So I ran and ran then jumped in the lake then ran some more. I did really good and came back every time mom asked me too. Mom took lots of picture so those will be up soon as well.
Now I am tired and sleepy. Ready for bed I guess. Good night all!
Oh, and BTW, I'm up to 42 pounds!! And the latest breed to add to my mix- Aussie. Maybe? That makes chow, schipperke, border collie, and aussie. It's a constant guessing game.
August 23rd 2007 8:36 am
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Man, Riley being one big itch makes her into one big... crab butt! (What did you think I was going to say?) Mom is trying not to use the babygate very much and things were going really, really well but now Riley doesn't feel too good because of her allergies and she's a little more touchy. Mom is pretty proud of me because I give Riley her space but Mom thinks I give her too much and won't even come into the room!
Last night we met up with Bray and his mom at the dog park. What fun! And it was nice and cool out but a little rainy. After we left a big storm moved through but it was nice to run around for a little bit. I can't wait for this weekend because we always seem to go on little adventures, last weekend we went swimming. That was a lot of fun and I got to roll around on dead fish which made it even better. Then only thing I didn't like was the little rinse-off Mom gave me after we got home. But the weather should be decent (means it won't be 100 degrees) and Mom is pretty much over her illness so we will all be ready for some adventure.
August 6th 2007 9:09 am
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My sister Riley is Dog of the Day today!! How cool is that? I am getting a little love out of the deal too so it's a fun day.
So much going on!
I had my first real visit at the vet's. Mom said I did pretty good. I liked to bark at people coming in but I didn't really bark at Dr. Bob or anyone who worked there. I took some treats from Dr. Bob then mom lifted me onto the table. That wasn't too fun. Mom said I was scared and nervous but very calm and let Dr. Bob check out what he needed to. I weigh 39 pounds!! It was all over pretty quick and there was lots of treats involved so I think I can learn to deal with vet visits.
Yesterday was so much fun! It's been super hot and muggy here. Just gross, gross, gross. Well, mom got Sundays off from the shelter so we finally had her all to ourselves for an entire day! After breakfast we went to Big Indian Rec Area where we walked around a little and then went to one of my favorite places, the water! There's no better way to wear yourself out when it's hot out than swimming. I ran in the water and swam and fetched a stick with Riley. It was a blast. Then we walked around a little more, dipped our toes in the water one more time and headed home. Mom says it was our chance to just be dogs for a little while. Oh, and it was the first time Mom pulled out my new leash- it's pink. ;)
There's lots more to tell but I will sign off for now. I am happy and healthy and Riley is even playing with me now- such a good life.
June 27th 2007 8:38 am
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Mom says I'm changing. I'm no longer a big ball of fluff! My legs have turned sleek and shiny but still have some feathering. The rest of me is in transition. I will always have a big fluffy mane but mom thinks the rest of me is turning sleek instead of fluffy. I guess that means I'm growing up.
Mom says we're going on a little trip this weekend. But here's the kicker, it's just going to be me and her- no Riley! What?! See, mom's family says that when she visits she can only bring one dog and mom figured it was time for me and her to road trip. So Riley has to stay behind with the pet sitter and I get to go with mom. We are going to have some fun one on one time. Mom just hopes I behave at my grandparents house!
April 24th 2007 8:59 am
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Even though this is Raven's diary, I've decided to take it over for today-
Raven just the other day I made a promise. It wasn't spoken aloud, but instead written on my heart. I made a promise to make you part of my pack. As your leader I promise to protect you and provide for you. Part of that promise and that pack is Riley. Ah, what a complicated pack! Riley is and forever will be my heart. We will work it out and she will learn to share so that you can be fully integrated into our pack. All I ask is that you give us time and continue to be the well-mannered pup you are. I know deep in my heart that Riley likes you and I know she will come to accept and love you as well. Give it time my little one!
A pack of three... I never thought it would happen, and never pictured a little one like you to be a part of it. But you choose me. You looked at me with those eyes full of trust and love. You made me smile and gave me a challenge. How could I betray your trust and make you go to another home when you had already chosen mine?
So my little Raven, I give you a pack and a promise. You now have a pack to belong to, forever, and you also have my promise that I will love and protect you, as well as provide for you as any good leader should.
April 19th 2007 8:18 am
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Gee, FM needs to do a better job of writing my diary for me!
I've had a lot of firsts since that little thing called a vet visit. I started going to the dog park with Riley. We do really well and I have a lot of fun. At first I was a little scared and intimidated by the big dogs but now I run and play with them. I also like to chase birds, bugs, and butterflies. FM says me chasing a butterfly is the cutest thing ever! Oh, and the sight of 20 pound fluff ball (me) chasing Bruno, a 142 pound St. Bernard makes her laugh every time.
I also went on my first ever walk. I did super good! FM says it's amazing how easy it is to train a puppy when you have an older dog around. I just followed Riley on our walk and had a good time. I tried to pick up all the dried up worms on the sidewalk and eat them but FM made me stop. I also barked at a couple we passed... FM wasn't too happy about that but they were staring at me!! FM says it's because I'm so cute but I say it's because they were scary and gonna eat me.
I also crossed a thing called a stream. At first I wanted nothing to do with it but I kept seeing Riley cross it like it was no big deal. Finally, Riley was right beside me and I decided I could do it and walked across on the rocks. I barely even got wet! Then yesterday we went to this thing called a lake. The first place we checked out Riley started walking around in the water eating the grass and drinking. I dipped my toes in and sampled the grass but that was it. The next time Riley hopped right into the water and started playing a little. I decided to be a little more brave and walked around in the water. Boy, that was fun and not scary at all! So then I got the puppy zoomies and ran around, splashed and played. FM was very proud of her girls.
Let's see, another first! My first surgery, and hopefully my last. I got spayed last week. I was a little out of it and ouchie for a day but then it was make to normal. Now my belly itches like crazy where my fur is growing back. I also got a new collar. FM says it's pink so people know I am a girl. Her friend made fun of her because FM is so not a pink person but she keeps buying pink things like collars for me and Riley so that people know we are girls.
Wow, see, that's a lot of firsts. I better go take a little nap so I can rest up and go for more adventures where there's sure to be even more firsts!
March 30th 2007 6:27 am
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Today is a vet visit day. I'm not too sure what that means but FM dropped me off at the shelter this morning. I'm not too happy about that, it was loud and a little scary in there. So I wouldn't be so scared FM set me up in a quieter room in a carrier with a nice blanket and puppy kong. She says a nice lady will come check me out and give me a couple of shots. That doesn't sound fun at all! But FM is excited because after my shots she says she can take me out in public. And FM is soooo proud of me because right away this morning I met two new ladies and I did my little butt wiggle for them and let me pet me right away! I was a little bashful but very brave and didn't bark or try and run away from them. This socialization thing might be kind of fun!
March 29th 2007 11:42 am
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I am really like this whole living in a house thing. I get toys to play with and a FM to cuddle with. I do so good going potty in the yard and walking around with a leash on. I am learning soooo much and being soooo good. Now if I can just find a home of my very own. Someone who will continue to expose me to new things in a positive way and teach me that the world isn't a scary place. I am still very young so I can over come being a little shy. Besides, aren't I the cutest?!
*Pst* FM is totally smitten with me but Riley's not. Hmph, too bad, I would make a great baby sister.