Fostering “Furever” Changes You…

I apologize for the length, but let me share with you some of the beautiful, funny, crazy, important, memorable lessons that have been brought to us this past year.  Right before my grandfather passed away my husband’s unshakable desire to have a German Short-haired Pointer in the house led us to the California GSP Rescue.  I can’t tell you how many times I caught him googling GSP puppies or pictures of trained hunters pointing in a field after a quail or two.  We already have two dogs (along with some goats, chickens, bunnies and now a 150lb pot belly pig) so adding in a  purebred puppy could be considered unnecessary or extra work that would just add stress and complications to my already busy life.  We discussed it at length and our  compromise (since he was gone ALL the time for work) was that instead of buying a puppy we would begin volunteering at the local rescue, get our kids used to the breed and teach them how to work with dogs to help them without needing to bring them home and call them “mine”.  We became a Foster Family.  This last year has been a crazy spinning door of heartbreaking stories where one amazingly wonderful dog after another had been dumped, abused, neglected or shoved to the side…. each and every time we welcomed them into our home with treats in our hands and happy children ready to smother them with love.  Slowly but surely each and every one of them were adopted into a perfectly wonderfully loving FUREVER HOME!!!  It has been such a great experience for my children to help love these sweet innocent dogs, teach them certain things they may need to learn in order to be considered more “adoptable” or love them to help them come out of their shell….and then let them go.  I am SO PROUD of my family for doing such a great job and working together to help ALL of these pups heal and find their way . ❤

Willy

Sweet WIlly  Wonka came to us after having lived at the Kennel for almost 7years.  Such a sweet boy full of energy and spunk, it was sad to see how love-able he was and think how many years he spent alone in a cage.

A few of the things we learned from Willy:

1. Dogs can have incredibly selective hearing.  We thought he was deaf.  Apparently this is a common characteristic of a dog that has spent as long as he did in a kennel environment (6+years) and then thrown into a home/family environment.  He completely ignored us and the other dogs even.  Our two would be barking at something and he would just sit there.  It took weeks before he finally began responding and acting  bit more like a normal dog.

2. GSP’s have a hyperspeed when it comes to wagging their stubby little tail.  That little helicoptor of a tail was on hyper drive!!! His little tail would wag like crazy ALL the time and his body would wiggle along with it. NO dog since has had such a happy tail full of such personality as his was.

3. Some big dogs are CONVINCED they are a LAP dog. He was rather small for a GSP, especially a male and he was supposedly 9 years old.  Eric was big enough for Willy to climb up on and just lay there.

4. No matter the age, a hunter always hunts. And what a devoted hunter he was! we had a rat/mouse problem at the time and Willy could sniff them out no problem!! he cornered a rat up a tree one day and although it crawled across an upper branch and down a neighboring tree, poor Willy didn’t notice so he was sniffing at the base of that tree for HOURS that day, just waiting for the rat he had chased to come back down.  No such luck, poor guy.

7. The “Happy Dance”.  Willy and his awesome 360 spins!! Our most current foster does a similar spin. Willy would get SO excited that he would twirl and spin around 360 degrees! I call it their “Happy Dance”.

8. GSP’s are Magicians.  The day I caught him sitting in our laundry basket. HOW he jumped up into it, without knocking it over and WHY he chose to curl up in it instead of on the floor we still have yet to understand, but OH MAN was it funny!!  It was pure Magic the way he must have been able to jump into it and stay balanced.

9. They are very active dreamers! And BOY was Willy a dreamer! Willy would have very vivid dreams and be very active in them. He would squirm and kick and bark, sometimes it was a sight to see that’s for sure!

10.  You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!!  Poor Willy came to us as a very spunky, but senior GSP who had spent 6 almost 7 years of his life in a kennel.  He was such a loveable dog and took to our family immediately!  What took some time getting used to however was the home life.  A couch?? what on earth was that?!! How do I get up on it? Oh boy, now how do I get down?? OMG!! Another GSP just like me!!! Oh, that’s my reflection you say?? A slippery wood floor?? Table scraps?? OH BOY!!!!…. daily Willy had us rolling on the floor laughing because of his youthful spirit but senial approach to many things that should just come naturally to a dog, sweet Willy happily learned many many new things in the months he was with us.

Willy found his FUREVER Family with this wonderful young couple and their daughter who just adored him… the feeling was mutual. 🙂

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BARON

Baron was such a cute boy, so skinny and youthful compared to Willy. After staring at Willy’s wide  and grey’ed face for so long I looked at Baron and thought he resembled a bird with his long skinny dark snout.  He was so calm and peaceful, very regal almost… the name suited him well.

A few of the things we learned from Baron:

1. Dogs are good “helpers”.  Baron LOVED to sit and watch me in the kitchen. He rarely came all the way into the kitchen but loved to just sit at the doorway and watch me as I washed the dishes or cooked.  I kept saying to everyone, “I HATE having dogs in the house, but Baron would be the one dog I wouldn’t mind having in the house all the time.”

2.  Baron loved to ride in the car… not in an excited sorta way that makes it totally obnoxious to bring them anywhere, but in a “Im gonna lead against the seat and relax because Im loving this so much!” I drove him a few different times and kept thinking to myself how well he would fit with a family that spent a lot of time traveling in the car, he was THAT good.

3. Some GSP’s will steal your pillow. Baron loved to steal my daughter’s pillow whneever it happened to be left out on the living room floor. Can’t really blame him. 🙂

4.Many GSP’s suffer from Lazy Eater Syndrome…. this is very serious and can result in a very funny picture.

5. A good snuggle can make everything better… even the cone of shame.  Baron had some lumps removed and was miserable while he had to wear the cone, but boy did he love to snuggle with my son during that time. They made each other happy all the time.

6. the “Elvis Smile”  …Some dog’s are SO unique they can truly smile, but I have never met a dog that just lifts up one side of their lip like Baron did. He smiled like Elvis anytime he got excited or happy. It was such a crack up.

7. Bird dogs CAN be friends with Chickens.  Baron is one of those GSP’s.  He cared more about the Poptart my 2yr old was dropping on the ground than he did the fact that there were large birds in front of him and his genes should be telling him to HUNT, but instead he just wagged his little tail and inched his way closer to the poptart.

Baron found his Furever home! A wonderful family with an in home daycare business AND some Chickens!!

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DUKE

Sometimes taking in a dog, especially a GSP, you learn and have to accept that you are in over your head.  Duke taught me that.  He came to our little farm (we have goats chickens bunnies… everything a hunting dog would and should love) with such an intense “prey” drive!  We were spoiled with Willy who didnt pay much attention to anything but flying birds and butterflies and Baron who seemed to be timid around any animal other than a dog.  Duke was way more intense than I was prepared for.  He was however, VERY well trained.  He knew a bunch of commands and tricks, including peeing on command.  this would be wonderful you’d think, except for the fact that I was potty training my two year old and every time she would yell  “Potty! mommy I have to go potty!!” and we would run to the bathroom, Duke would be in the front of the house peeing on the living room floor because he heard the key word “Potty”. Luckily I caught on quickly.  Duke was a smart, energetic boy who despite being such an intense hunter LOVED my children and would have been a great foster for our home if my husband had been here to help me. Unfortunately he was not home at the time so Duke had to go live with someone else.

I am happy to report though, he did find his Furever Home with a loving family!!


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CHIP aka “Baby Chip-Chip”

Chip came to us as a very young, very quiet “puppy”. He had not yet been neutered so after his surgery he was even more mellow and reserved.  It took about two and a half weeks to see him finally perk up and begin to act like a sweet innocent pup should.

1. Kong toys are the BEST!!!  the first time we saw Chip’s true fun loving personality shine through was when we introduced what would become his favorite toy!

2. Chip made the best computer chair stopper.  Anytime I sat at the table in the computer chair he would fall asleep at my feet with his head on the legs of the chair making it so I couldnt roll anywhere! And boy could he snore!

3. Snuggling is the way to their heart.  Some GSP’s LOVE to snuggle, Chip would curl up next to you any chance he could and I’ve got to say our family didn’t mind one bit!

4. Dog’s like Football too.  Yep. Chip was a Charger’s Fan.  This was his attire for an adoption event up in Orange County. He was a hit!

5. They sometimes resemble Vampires! OH NO!! Is that a dog or a Vampire!!!?? SIlly, Chip would sleep like this all the time and his lip would fall up so his canines hung out making him look like a vampire, my kids thought it was so funny.

6.  GSP’s are expert beggars.  with those soulful eyes and sad little pout.  They wont hesitate to interrupt whatever you are doign to give you a look like this one, begging you to give them some attention.

7.Routine.  Some goofy dogs have a goofy routine to follow.  Chip would eat his dinner and then for ten to fifteen minutes afterward would proceed to roll around and rub his entire body on my floor rug in the living room. EVERY NIGHT.  what a goof.

Sweet Baby Chip Chip has also found his Furever Home!!!  I knew he was in good hands when I overheard the new Dad talking to their two little dogs and saying, “see guys THAT is a real dog”. 🙂

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BELLA

We didn’t have Bella more than a week or so. But MAN was she a loveable sweet gal. She quietly begged for more pets and for your to lay with her and hug her. She did this cute thing whenever she got caught or, thinks she got caught because of how you say her name… she would bury her face in her paws and roll over in this goofy, submissive sort of way. She was such a sweet heart!

Bella found her Furever Family too!!! (I don’t currently have a picture of her wonderful family, sorry!)

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RAJ

We literally only had Raj for a couple days before he got adopted, it really wasn’t even an entire week.  But this sweet little guy still made an impression on our family!  I did learn one unique thing about Raj though, He could sleep heavier than ANY other DOG we have ever had!!!

Raj ALSO found his Furever home with a wonderful new Dad and and brother whom he instantly bonded with! It helps when the two of them standing next to one another looked as though they were truly twins!

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SHERMAN

Sherman was our first transport.  We drove down to the San Diego Humane Society and signed him out and drove him up to the rescue ourselves.  It was SUCH a great experience!!  It took us only a few moments with him to realize he was a spunky 1.5 year old puppy.  It broke my heart that the  humane society had him “medicated” and labeled with anxiety.  We saw a sweet precious pup who was torn away from the only family he’d known and dumped in a scary place all alone. He was scared and full of energy he didn’t know what to do with…. we brought him home and immediately began working with him.   The first few days were rough.  Any time we left the room or moved while he was sleeping he would jump awake full of fear and nerves.  In order to get him to sleep calmly he had to be ON my lap or directly next to me with my hand petting him.  Once it sunk in that he was here to stay, things just got better and better!!  After The first week he was OFF ALL HIS MEDICATIONS and doing GREAT!!!

1. GSP’s make Great Babysitters.

2. Sibling Rivalry DOES happen with dogs. 🙂

3.  They snuggle like babies!!

4.  Dogs make good pretend patients for 2year olds aspiring to be Dentist’s.

5.  They can be comfortable just about ANYWHERE…

6.  Sometimes a bird dog only knows how to chase shaddows of butterflies….

7.  When they give you A face like this……  truly impossible NOT to fall in love!

Sherman just last week found his Furever Family and I can’t WAIT to update with pics soon!! I can tell you he has a wonderful sister-pup named Daisy and two adopted human siblings that he adores!!

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Let me tell you, at the end of this year of Fostering for the Rescue I can tell you that I started out with all the same reservations I bet you had, or have…  Let me tell you this…

You WILL fall in love. but seeing them happily FIT into a new family that just seems ‘perfect’ will make that love grow and allow you to let go.

You WILL be heartbroken when they go, but knowing how broken and hurt they were before you brought them into your home and seeing how happy and FREE they are now as you watch them successfully go onto a wonderful family… you are proud of how far they have come and proud  of being able to be the one to have done it.

It WILL be a lot of work, but when they look at you with those sweet puppy dog eyes … all the hard times melt away and their unconditional love fills your heart.

If only you could see the faces of he ones waiting in the Kennel… sitting in a high kill shelter with days… no HOURS left before being KILLED simply because no one took the time to love them…

If only, then maybe you could take a moment to offer your home, your family to a sweet gentle doggie just waiting for someone to take a moment and give them a chance.  There are dogs from a year old ALL THE WAY into their senior years just waiting to get out of their cage and feel the warmth of a dog bed and the touch of human hands.

How can you see a picture like this… and NOT do something??

This sweet guy’s name is Bullet. He came from an owner who couldn’t afford to get him the medical treatment he needed. He is covered in scars and sores and scratches.  He is extremely underweight and looks like he has lived a long hard sad life. Guess what… He is only THREE YEARS OLD.

If you would like to help contact the California GSP RESCUE. to fill out an application to adopt OR become a Foster Family.

If WE can do it, so can you!!! Just imagine HOW MANY LIVES you can change this next year!! AND how Your lives will change….

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Fostering “Furever” changes you… | CA GSP Rescue
  2. Bobbie Ireland
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 15:36:38

    Thank you for this wonderful tale. My GSP is 11 now. I love the breed and volunteer for TX GSP Rescue. I plan to foster when I retire and have more time to dedicate to these sweet four-legged kids.

    Reply

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