Monday, December 14, 2009

Hoppi Poppi

The scene is replaying in my head over and over - it's kind of comical but at the same time sad. My new foster, Poppi, is running through my house (away from people), making a high-pitched moaning-crying noise. This went on for about 24 hours every time someone new would walk into the room. He was just plain terrified.

I'm not really sure why - the people who had been watching him for the past month seemed to like him. Although, I must admit, they also seemed a bit strange. In his short, 1.5 year life, Poppi had already seen three owners. First it was some guy with good intentions (maybe?). Poppi and his brother seem pretty well adjusted once they get to know you, so I'll give the guy a B- for dog rearing. That is, until he went to jail. Then Poppi and his brother went off to mom's house for 5 months. She couldn't potty train Poppi and so she dumped the two dogs on her son, who was married with a four-year-old, two dogs, and two cats of his own. That makes for a whole lot of lives in a little apartment.

So now we get to the reason why I said the brother is weird. I rolled up to our rendezvous point and the brother and his wife were already there waiting. The wife hopped out and opened the hatch of the car to give me Poppi...but Poppi wasn't there! Somehow they hadn't noticed that Poppi was already out of the car and running around the gas station. Weird thing #1.

Then I began asking questions. I didn't think they were very difficult questions for people who had a dog for a month (plus two permanent dogs of their own). They were questions like, "How many times a day does Poppi go poopie?" (Isn't it funny how "poopie" become a completely acceptable term after having dogs or kids?) Their answers always came back to: "We don't really know. We've only had him for a month." Weird thing #2.

Okay, folks. The "We don't really know" answer might fly if you had him for two days, but a month? Plus, they said he wasn't potty trained. Don't they know how much poop they're picking up off their floor? I can tell you that in the three days I had Poppi, he pooped five times and I picked it up off my floor twice (hooray for three poops outdoors!). How could they be so out of touch?

My interaction with the people who were surrendering Poppi was baffling and so I wasn't sure what I should really believe about Poppi. They said he was fine in the car, and so I didn't bring a crate, which was probably a mistake. He IS fine in the car, but on his first trip with me he was very nervous. I have a sedan and he kept jumping into the back window like a cat. At one time he even jumped from the passenger seat to the back seat via the "over the headrest" path (he could have just gone around - much easier?)

At home he wanted nothing to do with us, but I can't blame him. I immediately bathed him and then strapped on a belly band so he wouldn't pee in the house. I wouldn't like me very much either after that! However, the next day he warmed up and it turned out he was a very sweet dog.

Our rescue had a repeat adoptor in WY whose dog had just died from heart complications, so Poppi was to go live with them. My husband and I were getting ready to fly him up to his new home when I discovered a lump between his ribs and hip on is right rear quarter. Not knowing what to think of the squishy marble, I decided to postpone Poppi's trip until I could determine the cause. It took a day, but the vet got back to me and assured me that Poppi's lump was a reaction to his rabies shot. How strange! I didn't know they gave rabies shots back there, but the good news was that Poppi could go to his new home.

We'll miss Poppi's big brindle smile, but we had to make room for the next dog. Who will it be? Some rookie fosters in our area just received their first puppy mill breeders, so I'm guessing I'll be seeing one of their fosters soon (it's a lot harder to foster puppy mill breeders than many people think). For now, it's just Bill and me. We celebrated the day by hiking our favorite trail. I KNOW Bill's smile isn't just because he's panting. His skippy little steps combined with a toothy grin have me convinced that he's having more fun than anyone else on the trail.

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