Our house feels like a circus. Some days, the furbabies stick to their corners and behave in a perfectly civilized manner. Other days, fur and slobber flies, furniture is rearranged and a playful bark and grumble soundtrack underscores our lives. It’s on those occasions when James and I look at each other, sigh, and break out the bully sticks for time out. Recently, we’ve had a lot of coming-and-going, so routines have been interrupted and no one is particularly on his or her best-est behavior.
But it’s home, and we wouldn’t trade the noise, chaos and drool for anything. They’re good dogs. They look out for us, they protect the fortress of home, and they certainly keep us entertained. We’re lucky to have them. When we’re late getting home from work or we over-schedule ourselves and end up spending less time with the dogs than we’d like, when a week goes by since they’ve been for a walk on-leash because we’re feeling too lazy to adventure beyond the yard, I tell myself it’s ok– they certainly don’t care– and I’m not failing them. Things could have been much worse for them.
A little over two years ago, we brought MJ home. I’ve written about her marking me at the shelter. She was one of 8 puppies dropped off from a litter. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) kept four and sent the rest over to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Two puppies from the Arlington location were snatched up right away. The other two, MJ and Freckles, had some health issues that needed to be addressed. We ended up with MJ, and Freckles found a home, too.
MJ settled into the house, announcing her arrival as princess, alpha and snuggle-bug. She didn’t get as big as we expected, but her strength more than made up for her more-compact stature.
Freckles grew into a 75 lb. goofball. Unfortunately, Freckles was kept outside for the first two years of his life. If he was mistreated further, I don’t know and I honestly don’t want to know. I can’t handle that. He was surrendered back to the AWLA, which is the best thing anyone could have done for him.
We began following Frankie’s story shortly after the 2012 winter holidays. He’s great with people. Kids? No problem. He’ll sit on your lap or sleep at your feet. This is a pup who needs to be a family dog. For months Freckles looked for a furever home. Late this spring, we sighed in relief when someone came forward and finally adopted Freckles, now Frankie.
A couple of weeks later, he was back at the shelter. I found out about his return to AWLA through Peace, Love & Fostering’s blog. I reached out to the blogger, asking her questions about Frankie. What’s going on? How come he’s back? What’s The Problem?
Maybe we can foster him…
That’s a huge step for us. We felt particularly pulled toward Frankie’s journey since he was right there, round and silly, beside our baby girl when we took her home. I know we could never have handled two puppies, but my head starts down the “but what if…” path. The least we could do is welcome him into our home while he waits for the right person or family. Could I really, truly welcome a new furbaby into my life and give him up when the time came? Would I become a foster-failure?
We were put in contact with a member of AWLA’s staff, who answered our questions. Great with people. Settles well. Basic manners: check. His Big Issue is that he doesn’t always play appropriately with other dogs. He’s not aggressive, he’s just … rude. We scheduled a date to bring MJ and Zozo by to play. If that worked, we’d try an overnight. If that went off without a hitch, Frankie would come hang out with us for a while.
I had visions of the siblings meeting and running towards each other, crashing together with love and sniffs and kisses as they remember the other from their early days. Everything was soft-focus and pastel-ly in this dream.
That’s not how it happened. MJ couldn’t care less about the dog on the other side of the fence. We brought them together in a play yard, and things got a little heated. Frankie tried to play, MJ told him to back the hell up. We did a lap of the yard to let everyone settle. We tried again. Same outcome.
It wasn’t going to work for them.
Out of curiosity, we ran the same drill with Zozo, with absolutely no issue. Zozo was calm enough to let Frankie do what he needed to do to assert his dominance and begin playing.
We agreed with the shelter staff. It wasn’t the right fit. Someone else is out there for him, and he just needs to be a little more patient.
I got a little weepy on the way home from the shelter, shedding tears of frustration and disappointment and heartbreak. I didn’t need to be a hero, but I thought that maybe we could help. We tried. That’s all we could do.
Except I write this blog and, as of June 20, 2013, Frankie still needs a home. He’s wonderful. He’s charming and silly and snuggly. Peace, Love & Fostering has several excellent posts about Frankie and his winning pupsonality. He deserves a great home with a seasoned dog owner who will praise his successes and give him a safe place to learn to work on his impulses. Most likely, he needs to be The Only Dog unless your dog is a pup who just “gets him”.
If you, or anyone you know, is looking for a lap-sitting, adventure-loving sidekick, please contact AWLA and schedule time to meet Frankie. You won’t regret it.
and now, I humbly descend from my soapbox.
NOTE: The photographs featured in this blog post were taken by Dirty Paw Photography for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA). The photos are featured on Frankie’s adoption page on th AWLA website.