With warmer spring weather comes a difficult time in the rescue world. With many dogs and puppies gifted over Christmas, a larger number of them then gets dumped at local shelters, creating severe overcrowding and higher than average euthanization rates. With foster space being limited as it is, many of these unlucky dogs have nowhere to go. To try and help the situation, rescues often ask their fosters to“double up” by taking more than one dog. That is the situation I find myself in every spring since I just don’t have the heart to say no.
As predicted, this March, I now have TWO adorable dogs in my house. One is a Chihuahua mix girl, only a year or so old, and another is a five year old purebred dachshund girl. Two very different life stories, but the exactly same end. The Chihuahua mix, Padma, was found by a Good Samaritan in a barn in rural Virginia after a snowstorm. Shivering and scared, she was brought to a nearby shelter to be given a chance to be found by her owners, but nobody came. Pictures do not do her justice. She freezes in place when she hears the shutter, which lends her photos a rather pained expression. In reality, she is anything but that. A true teenager, she can't sit still. She plays with all the dogs before breakfast, tries to play with a cat before lunch, and climbs the stairs 15 hundred times back and forth before dinner. There is so much going on in her world, few can keep up. But the biggest reward is seeing how safe she feels sleeping by your side at night. You can watch the loudest action movie or keep shifting to get your food from the coffee table, while she will remain utterly unfazed. Moreover, she almost smiles in her sleep because she is no longer abandoned in a snowy barn.
Jackie, on the other hand, is a purebred (AKC registered) smooth haired dachshund. She probably would have never seen the inside of a shelter, had her beloved owner not have a terminal illness. Most dogs, who spend their entire lives with the same person/family, have little to no concept of the outside world. So, when they are forced to suddenly deal with it, their levels of stress drive them to exhibit severe fear or aggression. Jackie was no exception. Loving and cuddly when petted at the shelter, she would transform into a crazed lunatic if another dog came near the same person. But in a home environment, she is relaxed and independent. She follows your rules, while inventing her own. Sleeps on her side, just like a person, with one eye open. Her absolute love is a large pillow on my couch, where she spends hours sleeping, thinking and plotting her next adventure. Like most hound group dogs she does love to eat a bit much, and still gets a bit panicky when I leave the house. All these mini pendulum swings in behavior will level themselves out once she knows she won’t find herself abandoned again.
I have a feeling both will find homes very soon, so I can take in another hopeless and lost soul this spring.