Things that Foster Dog taught me, part 3

When Zoe first arrived at our house, I was convinced that she would be moving on soon. After all, she wasn’t our dog and surely an awesome home would surface. I don’t know what Foster Dog’s thoughts were, but I was thinking there was probably a farm somewhere in her future where she could run and chase squirrels and rabbits.

But it was about that time that our previous foster dog, Snoopy, passed on. And Zoe reflected pleasant memories of our special furry friends.

And it was during that time that I was introduced to social media – FaceBook and Twitter. I really didn’t know what to do with either. Something about having to ask people to be my friends took me back to some really difficult junior high moments. And tweeting. What would I say? What would people want to read?

I’m a storyteller. Those of you closest to me are nodding, knowingly. And you’re rolling your eyes. Sometimes too many stories and too many details.

One Sunday morning, after feeding Zoe, it began to rain. Now, she’s impervious to water and rain. But thunder and lightning is a different story. So when storms blow up, Zoe begins to feel a little edgy. On that morning, there was a feeling of storms in the air. As I went back into the house, Zoe pled with me to let her inside. Instead, I tapped in this tweet:

Church in 20 minutes. Rain. Trying to convince Foster Dog that the back porch is sufficient shelter.

And Foster Dog was introduced to her adoring fans. My Twitter list of followers is pretty small. But my tweets go directly to my FaceBook page. And friends from around the world were asking about Foster Dog.

So I wrote Foster Dog “stories.” She provided a lot of ideas for those stories. The challenge came in the length — 140 characters per story.

It was in telling her story that she taught me an important lesson. You can say a lot by not talking too much. It was a principle she used in her own relationships.

Sometimes you just need to give people a simple idea and then be amazed by how their own imagination and creativity make it great.

For example, what’s the story behind this Foster Dog picture?

Things that Foster Dog taught me, part 1

As I write, I’m thinking about a wonderful, four-legged friend who has become a rich part of our lives over the past couple of years.  Zoe, aka Foster Dog, was a temporary placement at our house. She was much too big for our small yard and we had another dog and . . .  the list actually grew quite long . . . and then magically disappeared.

But Nancy and I were drawn to the shy and gentle giant — half Great Pyrenees, quarter Siberian Husky, quarter wolf. When, at her first check-up, we learned that she had a heart murmur and an ear infection, we began to think that perhaps we should take care of her for a while.  The ear infection has been persistent and treated off-and-on.  And, of course, the heart murmur has only worsened — severely in the last month.

So now, Zoe is quietly resting for most of each day as various physical problems arise from the lack of oxygen. Visitors have always been a great treat for Zoe.  Her routine is to make an initial sniff-down and then retire to a point about 20 feet away where she silently guards both us and the newcomer.  But yesterday, when the lawn people came to fertilize, she stayed in her house watching from her front door.

Her only prolonged physical activity at this point is when we make the idle suggestion that we are ready for a walk if she is. Head held high, Zoe trots quickly to the gate to wait for her leash and her favorite part of the day.

The walk.

It pains us to take Zoe on walks now. While she seems fine (just a little slower) during the time strolling and sniffing, her recovery time gets longer each day. The veterinarian tells us that we should let her do whatever she wants to do.

And Foster Dog loves to walk.  So we walk.

I’m inclined to reason that perhaps it’s time to slow down and let this part of the daily routine cease.  But Zoe doesn’t think it’s time to stop. She seems to be saying, “God wants us, above all things, to experience true joy through His will for our lives. His will for me is walking. People wave to me. Children hug me. I sniff new smells and meet new dogs. I’m happy.”

So I have to ask, even in the face of great challenge, where does God unleash joy in your life? It’s a question I’m asking every day . . . on our walks.

Foster Dog Revisited 4

Foster Dog & I are grilling burgers out back. Foster Dog insists that grill is unnecessary. Rationale: red meat should be eaten red.

Saw lady pushing small dog in stroller. Made mistake of telling Foster Dog. Size being a problem, she’s checking eBay for a cotton trailer.

Having quiet Cajun dinner with 21 new friends. Foster Dog noticeably absent. Can’t tolerate spicy food.

Eight days away. One night in my own bed. One more day on the road today. Foster Dog asked to see my ID before accepting doggie treats.

Five hundred miles on Monday. Four hundred miles today. Foster Dog upset. No souvenirs for her.

Foster Dog Revisited 3

Foster Dog reclining in mud under hedge. Lifts head on my approach. Once identity verified, she returns to snooze position. 96 degrees.

Foster Dog auditioning for lead in “Hound of the Baskervilles.” Likes pipe and funny hat. Finding British accent challenging.

Foster Dog fails to get part. Kept saying, “Alimentary, my dear Watson” instead of “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Always thinking of food.

Big storm last night. Leaves & debris litter back porch. Foster Dog’s artistic eye notices void. Administers final touches with mud today.

Ran into a pillar of community at post office. Had just seen his picture in the paper. He called me by name. Obviously a fan of Foster Dog.

Foster Dog Revisited 2

Foster Dog indignant. Walk cut short due to darkness. Mandates alarms be set in future to ensure timeliness. Now patrolling for possum.

Ululated. To howl or wail. As in “Foster Dog ululated constantly last night.” Not sure I would have gotten “howled” out of that.

To bed early last night. Wife & Foster Dog battled possum alone. Wife prevailed with help of broom. Foster Dog reported sweeping victory.

5:45 am. Possum counterattacks. Foster Dog sounds alarm. I respond in briefs & t-shirt. Apology letter to neighborhood association in mail.

Nancy just got an email from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Evidently we can get best savings ever on fully dressed animals. Foster Dog nonplussed.