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.

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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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