Saturday, May 14, 2011


This is Nessie, our first foster dog.

Nessie, an 18-month-old yellow mutt of mystery lineage, came to us through Whispering Woods Animal Rescue. She was originally from rural Georgia, where her prior owners dumped her at a shelter because, after being left unspayed and unattended, surprise!, she'd gotten pregnant. She had five healthy puppies in the shelter (all of which were also transported up to the Northeast and adopted), and once they were weaned, it was time for her to come up to Philadelphia too.

In some ways, Nessie was an ideal first foster dog. She was unfailingly sweet-tempered, patient in the face of Pongu's continual ear-gnawing jealousy, and a born people pleaser. Almost from the start, she was comfortable and confident in the city, even though it had to have been a huge change from the world she'd known before. Her temperament was exceptional: she loved children and was instinctively gentle with them, got along well with dogs of all shapes and sizes, and never displayed any hint of shyness or aggression.

Nessie and Pongu EVISCERATE a Kong Gecko
In other ways, Nessie was a little bit of a challenge. She didn't appear to be potty trained (although, happily, she was a naturally clean dog who picked that idea up fast). When we first picked her up, she didn't know any commands, how to walk on a leash, or seemingly even her name. But she was eager to learn, and in the ten days we had her, Nessie made amazing progress on all fronts.

Most importantly for a foster dog, Nessie was a charmer. She had a gift for winning people's hearts, and it's no surprise that, within days, she found a wonderful adoptive home by literally charming her future owner as she walked past him on the street.

Nessie goes home
We were sorry to let her go, but a little relieved, too -- another week or two, and we'd have been sorely tempted to keep her for ourselves.

Fostering Nessie was a wonderful, exasperating, educational experience. She made me laugh and she warmed my heart and she made me want to rip my hair out in frustration. I'm glad to have known her, and it's largely because of her that this blog exists.

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