We’re into week #3 with Goo Goo so I’m behind on our fostering updates. The only thing I want to do lately is lounge around with my Shibas. Overall, fostering has been a great experience. It took us a very long time to take the leap to open up our place to another dog especially with one whom we have little information on the history of. However, knowing that we would be saving a life made the decision much easier.
Goo Goo came to us on Friday, 10/21 and we didn’t know what to expect at all. We knew her name, that she was 11 months old, a black and tan female, and held in our email inbox a picture of her beautiful face. Word on the Shiba block was that she enjoyed being held like a baby. Everything else would be a surprise. And a surprise it was. We met outside a Brooklyn dog run and at 15 lbs, Goo Goo had a much tinier frame than I expected. Her fur was coarse and dry. She had a bald spot on the base of her tail where fleas decided to nest once upon a time. One thing that was hard to miss was that she was violently shaking with fear. She had just been spayed the day before and was terrified though her large brown eyes still held a doe-like innocence to her whole being.
The first night was spent trying to hide under any dark place that she could crawl under. This included pulling her out from under parked cars after she wedged herself next to the tire. We did everything we could to avoid carrying her so that we wouldn’t pull on the stitches on her swollen abdomen. She was too afraid to eat. She was too afraid to pee or poop. She finally found quiet solace in our crate that was covered to give her the cave-like zen she craved. The only time her eyes lit up that night was when I presented Shio’s meatloaf to her and she hungrily gobbled it up as if she hadn’t eaten for days. That was the beginning of my bonding experience with her. Shio followed her around but kept a respectable distance away from her. Our hearts wept for her on that first night.
The second day, we brought her out to Long Island so that she could be in a place that mimicked her old suburban environment. She was still swollen and sore from her surgery but made the journey with us. Her whole fragile being stole the hearts of Kaiju‘s hudad and his human grandparents during our #twiba meet up. We rejoiced when she crouched down and peed in Kaiju’s backyard. Her tail lifted into a fallen question mark shape unlike the last 24 hours where it hung limp from fear. Then she spent the rest of the day hiding under couches and cars again. Small steps.
On the third day, we spent time sitting outside with her so she would get used to the new outdoor noises that she would experience. She peed and pooped once each. We did a little dance to celebrate. She still hid in her crate but was more curious about her new environment. Slow and steady progress for this girl. Shio patiently waited outside her crate each morning for her to emerge – he’s a champ.
Fast forward to the one week point, she was still scared while outside but noticeably less. She was very curious about her surroundings and had regular bathroom breaks. She let dogs sniff her and sniffed in return. Her stitches were almost fully healed and we went for our first vet visit. The vet praised her for being a great Shiba and gave her many treats. She started replying to Shio’s desperate attempts to get her to play with play bows and chomping at his face. He loved it so much and could barely contain himself. She was excited to be fed, ate treats from anyone at the dog run, and wanted to be outside of her crate all the time to spend time with us in the living room. She even picked out a favorite spot on the couch to sleep in. Each time she saw me walking up towards her at the top of the stairs, she flattened her ears and jumped up to give me excited puppy kisses all over my face. It was a real transformation in just one week. Everything from here on forward was just to sit back and continue to watch her blossom. Oh, and she LOVES to be held like a baby, just like they said she would.
All this progress was made in just ONE week.
So far, this is an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.