May 5th 2008 1:15 am
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I ate the couch today... well, two of the smaller cushions, anyway. Mom is not particularly pleased.
April 27th 2008 11:34 pm
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My name is Maria and I've recently found my furever home with Sara and her mom, who is now also my mom! Cuz I think my adoption story is pretty special, I'm gonna let Mom tell it:
I received an e-mail from my mom (Sara and Maria's Gamma) on a Sunday, a forward from the Unitarian-Universalist Oakland listserv with the subject line, "Can you save this dog?" My mom wrote, "This was on the FUCO listserv. Companion for Sarah?
Note: forwarded message attached."
Following the attached a link, I found myself staring at a strikingly beautiful pitbull mix named Maria.
Her description read as follows:
"Description: Note: Maria is suffering from kennel stress at the shelter. She will be euthanized to end her suffering unless we can find a foster or forever home for her within a week. Please help us help this girl.
Sweet Maria walks through the world lightly, not wanting to cause a stir, or draw attention to herself. But if you do pay attention to her, you will find that she is extremely affectionate with you, and will like resting her head in your lap, most. Initially, Maria is rather shy when she meets someone new; but once you get to know her, she is all love – it just takes her some time to know that she can trust you. She can be a bit feisty with other dogs, but when introduced properly, Maria warms up to other canines rather quickly. They just are not permitted to take her tennis ball, which she loves to walk around with in her mouth. This sensitive girl would probably do best in a home where she is the only dog, where serenity is the prevailing environment and soft, lilting voices characterize all communication."
I was haunted by the fact that such a stunningly beautiful dog would be put down, so the next day, I called the Berkeley animal shelter to ask about Maria. I was told that I would receive a call from one of the shelter volunteers.
When the call came, we arranged to bring Sara to the shelter and allow the two dogs to meet, on leash, well-supervised. Thus began a two-week odyssey of dog walks and butt sniffs and nose bumps and ear licks at Berkeley's Aquatic Park.
Over the ensuing two weeks, Sara and Maria walked around Aquatic Park together, building familiarity, eating grass, sniffing weeds and each other. During the second week, Maria began to show spontaneous affection to Sara, and everyone kept their fingers crossed that Maria would finally find a home. Of course, I was also being evaluated by a number of people as to how I handled Maria, Sara and dogs in general.
Initially, I wanted to foster her, but as she and I and Sara got to know each other, I realized that I was most likely destined to be a "failed foster," one of those individuals who could never give up a fur-baby once he or she had joined the family.
The plan was for Maria to come for a weekend visit the weekend following Easter, but the day she was to be picked up, I got a call informing me that somehow, she had slipped through the cracks and had never been spayed. There was no way they would release an unspayed dog to anyone, not even me, so I agreed to wait another few days. We took the opportunity for a "last shelter walk" prior to her spay date and ultimate move to her new digs.
I had pretty much decided by that point, given the fact that Sara and Maria (now referred to as "the girls") showed more and more affection towards each other and seemed to really look forward to their walks together (now taking about an hour a day), that I would adopt Maria, rather than foster her.
Maria's spay appointment was set up for the following Monday, and although she could have come to her new home that afternoon, we all decided that one extra night at the shelter wouldn't hurt.
Maria moved into her furever home on April 1, 2008.
Maria is proving to be a sweet, quiet and loving girl. She wants little more than to lie behind my desk chair while I work, either sleeping or chewing on the Kong ball she found in the back yard. When she wants my attention, she bumps the back of the chair or my arm with her nose to remind me that she's there, and gives soft little kisses when I turn to acknowledge her.
Maria and Sara walk together in the neighborhood, go on car rides together and romp around the backyard. There were territory/ dominance issues inside at first, so indoors they are tied out in various rooms – Sara in her preferred bedroom and Maria where she can sleep near her new mom. The hope is that eventually, they will forget that they were ever strangers.
In the not-quite-month that she has lived here, Maria has lost that shelter look and her ribs no longer show. She has outgrown her first collar. She rarely, if ever, barks or whines. She is still shy with strangers, but as stated in her description, once she meets someone, she warms to them quickly.
She goes willingly into her crate at bedtime, curling up on her very own soft bed and sleeping quietly until I let her out the next day, never making a fuss.
We are still working on training, but she's smart and learns quickly, although there's a bit of a stubborn streak that is typical of terriers. Her movements are cat-like and when she runs, she reminds you of a gazelle.
She will continue her training and socialization exercises and hopefully become a confident relaxed dog in the not-to-distant future.
So that's my story! I love my new home and my new family. I get to go on car rides and romp with my older sister, Sara, in the back yard. Mom is training me to be the bestest dog that I can be!