The Winding Path to Dog Ownership, Part III: Cookie

We got our first foster dog almost immediately after telling Marisa that yes, we would foster dogs.  Because I have three young children, I made it clear that the dog had to be GUARANTEED kid-friendly.  No pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, or Dobermans in my house.  Or any dog, regardless of breed, that had known behaviour issues.  Marisa sent us Cookie, a young lab mix whose elderly owner had to give him up.

Cookie was cute– as long as you viewed him from the side. But the minute I got a look at his underbite, I started to sweat.  I didn’t like the look of those teeth.  He looked like there might be pit bull in the mix, and I e-mailed Marisa in a panic.  Don’t worry, she reassured me. The person who had him before me was sure he was fine.

Marisa was right.  From the moment he walked in, Cookie was a submissive sweetheart.  His fear of abandonment was huge. He followed me everywhere. He cried until I let him sleep in my bed. When I let him out to pee, he did what he had to do and ran back inside.  With some trepidation, not knowing if he would be destructive on his own, I left him by himself the second day he was here. Our house is a duplex; he cried so loudly, my neighbour’s son though he was trapped in their garage.

We gave him tons of love, and he adjusted.  After a few days, he stopped crying, but he still insisted on sleeping with me.  Like the fool I was, I even took him to the dog park; I had no idea how he would be with other dogs, or even if he had his shots.  I was lucky; he sniffed around, wagged his tail, and behaved like a gentleman.  (I know better now!)

Cookie was the best introduction to fostering you could hope for.  He was affectionate, playful, loyal, submissive, and obedient. After only a week, someone found him on Petfinder and put in a request. Marisa, however, wanted him neutered first, and I didn’t want such a trauma to be his first experience with his new owners.

Rescue organizations don’t have a lot of money.  Vets vary in price depending on location and the success of their practice.  Our city is situated on a river, and vets on the south side tend to be cheaper than those on the north.  The vet Marisa sent Cookie to seemed nice enough, but the office was seedy-looking– not so much dirty as dingy.  I didn’t like Cookie being there, but the vet gave Marisa a good price.

To make matters worse, of all the bridges spanning the river, the one closest to this vet is the one I call the Tinkertoy Bridge.  It’s about 3,000 miles high, and looks like it’s made out of Tinkertoys.  You expect the whole thing to collapse halfway across.  Fortunately, I only had to drive over it twice; another volunteer dropped him off, as I couldn’t make it that day, but I made sure I was the one to pick him up.  To say he was happy to see me is a vast understatement.  Driving the Tinkertoy Bridge is always harrowing; try doing it with a seventy-five pound dog in your lap. That’s fun.

About a week after the surgery, Cookie’s new owners came to claim him.  They were a mother and daughter who already had a miniature pinscher from Marisa’s rescue.  Cookie and the other dog took to each other fine, and I haven’t seen Cookie since.

As I look back on the experience, I realize I made a huge mistake letting Cookie go.  I had it in my mind that we were fostering.  I wasn’t ready to own a dog.  Now I know that dogs as obedient and well-behaved as Cookie are few and far between.  Our Best Friend is a pretty good boy, but Cookie was more obedient and less aggressive.  I miss Cookie; I want to know how he’s doing, I want to see him and find out if he still remembers me.  At least I know that without us, he would have been put to sleep, and instead he’s alive and well and bringing joy to his owners and his doggie friend.

About one person's view

I'm the mother of three girls, three cats, and a dog. All need constant attention, but only the dog likes to go for long walks!
This entry was posted in animal rescue, Dog behaviour, fostering, pet ownership and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Winding Path to Dog Ownership, Part III: Cookie

  1. Kristine says:

    Awww, Cookie does sound like a real sweetheart. I hope he is super happy in his current family and receiving all the love he deserves. I am sure he would remember you, especially your scent. Dogs never seem to forget things like that, no matter how long you are apart.

    I wouldn’t have known how special Cookie was either before I adopted my nutjob. Hindsight is an irritating thing. Perhaps I should have fostered instead of adopting right away… Oh well!

    • On re-reading this post, I’m struck by how afraid of pit bulls I was back then. With kids in the house you do have to be super-cautious, but now my criteria would be “super-submissive” and not breed-specific. Even then, I have learned that even if a dog seems submissive in the pound, you might see another side to him in the house. As much as I believe in getting dogs from rescues, it can be a risky business, and you have to be very careful until you’ve really gotten to know the dog.

  2. Pingback: Nostalgia | The Dog Park

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