Welcome to my journey! This blog is about my adventures in dog training, pet therapy work, rescue work and life with my menagerie of animals. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What If...

Being a dog trainer and animal rescuer is hard and sometimes it is downright painful. Today was a painful day. As a rescuer I am subjected to heartbreak after heartbreak and falling in love a million times; as a trainer I am faced with so many dogs that have "potential", if they had just the right home or could get into a foster home. I am faced with seeing that potential and hoping very hard that someone else sees it too because there aren't nearly enough foster homes and sometimes there isn't "just the right" home. I have internalized the motto "I can't save them all, but I can save this one" I know I can only help so many but often there are dogs that you come across that just speak to you, to your soul, and you try maybe just a little harder for that certain one. I've met and loved quite a few of those dogs in my years of rescue work and now as a trainer it's even more so as now I can see behaviors that maybe others don't see, things that could use a little polishing and make a fantastic agility dog, or a wonderful companion for an older person or a great all around family dog; my interactions and my ability to fall in love has been so enriched by the knowledge I have gained on this road to becoming a dog trainer.

I spoke of her before; Infinity, even posted her picture on this blog. Since the time that blog was written she had been adopted and was in a home for a few months. Recently she was returned to the shelter much to my devastation due to a vague excuse of "not getting along with the other dogs". It's very possible, Infinity was a rowdy, rough player and she was a relatively assertive female so it was believable to think there was some not nice behavior cropping up. Unfortunately the adopters were not encouraged (at least to my knowledge) to seek help from us trainers to evaluate the situation before she was brought back to the shelter. So I was very saddened to see her back in the kennels yet at the same time I was so happy to see her again. I know she remembered me, I felt it. She buried her head in my lap when I got her out and snuggled up so close to me it was like she was trying to crawl into my skin! Oh how I had missed her and oh how I loved her. I knew she did not have long before the kennel stress behaviors began again with her so we tried to get her into the public eye as much as possible. She went to two separate public events and did really well at both of them. Then my life became crazy. Between getting ready to move and traveling to look at houses I wasn't at the shelter as often as I would have liked. I went last week but knew that seeing her would be so upsetting that I selfishly did not interact with her. I scrambled around all this week trying to get things done specifically so I could go and spend my last day at the shelter with her. I needed to see her. She wasn't there.

What if, is a phrase that can bring the strongest person to their knees; it regularly does such a thing for animal rescuers, it's doing it to me today.

PLEASE if you are in any position at all to become a foster home, do it, they are so desperately needed and there can never be enough. You can even designate yourself an emergency home for dogs like Infinity that could have used that breather to be re-assessed and given a chance to prove she is more than this one transgression. Becoming a foster home could literally save a dogs life.

RIP Sweet Finnie


  1. I'm so sorry, Erica. David and I have decided we definitely want to adopt a dog when Anton is a little older. There are just so many loving animals who deserve homes, and the overpopulation issue was totally caused by humans. So upsetting and unfair.

  2. Erica,

    We tried to become a foster home through the humane society and have never been called, we even went there a few times. We can only have small dogs that don't shed, but would still be a foster home. :)

  3. I'm sorry Erica. I can truly say I feel your pain. Sometimes there is no happy ending. Take comfort in knowing that any time Infinity spent with you enriched her life.

  4. Oh god, I'm so sorry. I have been in your shoes, wanting to help and feeling the pain knowing it's the animal that really loses. Finnie was beautiful. I hope you can find comfort knowing that, at least while she was with you, she knew love.