Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tulip (Unexpectedly) Goes Home

Tulip's stay here proved unexpectedly short.

She spent most of her brief stay here just getting over culture shock. Early on Saturday morning, Tulip would completely empty her bladder in submissive urination as soon as I unlatched her crate. The first time, she actually darted past me, tried to hide under the couch, and sprayed pee everywhere while rolling onto her belly under the couch. So that was cool, definitely had a lot of fun doing the cleanup from that little sprinkler show.

After that I body blocked her to prevent escapes and just mopped up puddles inside the crate. Still not great, but much more manageable.

By Sunday morning, after several sessions of me approaching the crate, dropping treats through the bars, and working up to unlatching and opening the door while scattering more treats, Tulip had greatly improved and was hardly urinating at all. She was still leaking a little, but it was far less severe, and the rate at which she was improving suggested that she'd be fine in a week or two.

Similarly, early leash walks were... an adventure. Tulip grew up as an "outside dog" living in a trailer park. Moving to Center City Philadelphia was a major change for her. Whenever she saw something new and scary -- bicycles, cars, people in sunglasses walking toward her, a chalkboard coffeeshop sign, an awning flapping in the wind -- she would panic, shoot to the end of her leash, and do a double backflip. When she saw another dog, she would race toward it seeking comfort, and she'd do a sudden somersault when she hit the end of the leash headed that way.

I spent a lot of time being very grateful that I'm better at handling a leash now than I was two years ago, but even so, Tulip kept me on my toes.

She showed quick and steady improvement with her leash walking skills throughout the first couple of days, but between that and the submissive urination and general adjustment issues, I expected I'd have her for at least a couple of weeks to smooth out some of the rough edges before she went to a forever home. While I was sure these problems would prove transitory, they can be annoying, and perhaps even overwhelming to an inexperienced owner. I didn't want Tulip to get off on the wrong foot in her new home.

The home she got, however, was more than happy to take her immediately, even after being warned that she'd need some time to relax. The family had had a dog before, so they had an idea of what to expect, and they were willing to work through Tulip's temporary discomfort. And who am I to say no if someone wants to spare me another 10 days of mopping pee spills?

So off she went, after only two days.

All signs point to this being happily-ever-after for Tulip. She's a lucky dog; she had several inquiries before she even got off the bus, and this seemed like the best fit for her. The family was so eager to meet her that they arrived at the adoption event before it opened and were waiting there when she came through the doors. In person, it was an even better match than it was on paper.

As ever, I'll miss her, but just a little. It's always good to see a foster dog so happy to go home.

And, because they fit as well here as anywhere, a few last pictures of Tulip before she left.

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