My foster dog is beautiful
My foster dog is beautiful.
My foster dog stinks to high heaven. I don't know for sure what
breed he is.
His eyes are blank and hard. He won't let me pet him and growls
when I reach for him. He has ragged scars and crusty sores on his
His nails are long and his teeth which he showed me are stained. I
sigh. I drove two hours for this. I carefully maneuver him so that I
can stuff him in the crate. Then I heft the crate and put it in the
car. I am going home with my new foster dog.
At home I leave him in the crate till all the other dogs are in the
yard. I get him out of the crate and ask him if he wants 'outside'.
As I lead him to the door he hikes his leg on the wall and shows me
his stained teeth again.
When we come in he goes to the crate because that's the only safe
place he sees. I offer him food but he won't eat it if I look at
him, so I turn my back . When I come back the food is gone.
I ask again about 'outside'. When we come back I pat him before I
let him in the crate, he jerks away and runs into the crate to show
me his teeth.
The next day I decide I can't stand the stink any longer I lead him
into the bath with cheese in my hand. His fear of me is not quite
overcome by his wish for the cheese. And well he should fear me, for
I will give him a bath.
After an attempt or two to bail out he is defeated and stands
there. I have bathed four legged bath squirters for more dogs years
than he has been alive. His only defense was a show of his
stained teeth that did not hold up to a face full of water. As I
wash him it is almost as if I wash not only the stink and dirt away
but also some of his hardness. His eyes look full of sadness now.
And he looks completely pitiful as only a soap covered dog can. I
tell him that he will feel better when he is cleaned. After the
soap, the towels are not too bad so he lets me rub him dry. I take
He runs for joy. The joy of not being in the tub and the joy of being clean. I, the
bath giver, am allowed to share the joy. He comes to me and lets me
One week later I have a vet bill. His skin is healing. He likes
for me to pet him. I think I know what color he will be when his
hair grows in. I have found out he is terrified of other dogs. So I
carefully introduce him to my mildest four legged brat. It doesn't
Two weeks later a new vet bill for an infection that was missed on
the first visit. He plays with the other dogs.
Three weeks later he asks to be petted. He chewed up part of the
Eight weeks later his coat shines, he has gained weight. He shows
his clean teeth when his tongue lolls out after he plays chase in
the yard with the gang. His eyes are soft and filled with life. He
loves hugs and likes to show off his tricks, if you have the cheese.
Someone called today and asked about him, they saw the picture I
took the first week. They asked about his personality, his history,
his breed. They asked if he was pretty. I asked them lots of
questions. I checked up on them.
I prayed. I said yes. When they saw him the first time they said he
was the most beautiful dog they had ever seen.
Six months later I got a call from his new family. He is wonderful,
smart, well behaved and very loving. How could someone not want him?
I told them I didn't know. He is beautiful. They all are.
by Martha O'Connor