Missing in Action. A little bit of news!

10 Jan

So, I feel like I haven’t blogged in FOREVER. Let me tell you right away, this IS NOT because I haven’t had anything to blog about, but instead because I don’t have the right words for all that’s happened lately.

I intended on writing a wonderful post about Sophie’s Christmas surprise. A couple of days before Christmas my brother and sister-in-law decided to start the “foster-to-adopt” program with Sophie! I was SO excited! Not only does she get a fantastic new family, two human siblings and a great new home, but I’ll also get to see her for the rest of her life!! My 7 year old niece, Mia, had been begging for Sophie for over a month and couldn’t believe it when her parents said she was staying. Sophie has met Mia before and has always been head-over-heels for her in return. The first thing I felt was extreme happiness and then a huge amount of relief. This time, instead of being torn into pieces between the fact that I SHOULD be happy, and my sadness and hurt about giving up a dog, I can focus on the fact that one of my fosters, and one that I love SOOO much, will remain in my family! I’ll even get to dog sit! I’ll get to see how she’s doing and I’ll always know JUST how much her family loves her. What more could a foster ask for?!

So you’re probably wondering WHY I didn’t write her amazing adoption story 2 weeks ago when I found out that she was getting a home, especially such an EXCITING home, for Christmas. I had every intention of doing so.. but the longer I waited the more we discovered that Sophie isn’t quite as happy about her new home as we all are.

Here’s a little backround on Sophie.. Sophie was just 12 weeks old when she came to our house. She had been with her siblings her entire life. Her first night in our house was her first night without them. She was scared and probably felt all alone.. but she soon discovered that she wasn’t alone. She bonded immediately to her foster-brothers Mylo and Chase. She became a confident, ram-rod of a puppy, and people who met her fell instantly in love with her.

I never had ANY idea that without her big brothers around she’d be insecure, afraid, and lose all of her spunk and character.

When we dropped Sophie off at her new house she was very scared. She wouldn’t go up to anyone other than Mia and she wouldn’t wander around the house. We all assumed that she would adjust quickly and be her ramrod-self any day. We all said “theres a lot going on today, she will adjust in a couple of days” and “She’s a puppy, it wont take long.”

During the next couple of days Sophie spent a lot of time with Mia but she continued to be afraid of her new house and her new family. Unless she was with Mia she mostly stayed in one room. Worst of all she decided to be incredibly afraid of her new dad. She wants nothing to do with him no matter what he does.

I have been putting off writing her adoption story because I assumed she would adjust soon and then I could write her happy story. I didn’t want to write about her incredibly happy news if she’s NOT happy and we’re not sure it will work out.

I decided to write her story now, though, because there are lessons to be learned from it.

Sophie has been in her new home for two weeks now. She has stopped running away from her new baby brother (she’s still not too sure about noisy babys but he’s not QUITE as scary anymore), she recently decided to brave some new rooms in the 3 story house, and she has gotten pretty used to her new mom. Unfortunately she’s still incredibly scared of her new dad.

Sophie’s behavior and attitude towards her new dad is such a shock because she was a huge daddy’s girl at our house. She’s never been afraid of men in our house, in fact, she’s never been afraid of anyone. What we failed to think about, however, is that Sophie had never spent a day of her life without a dog sibling. We got her directly from her litter as a pup and then she had Mylo and Chase. We never imagined she’d be so insecure without them. She was always so incredibly brave and outgoing. I never stopped to think about how she would adjust to being an only dog. I’ll admit that I’m always a fan of my foster dogs going to homes with other dogs, but I do also strongly believe that single dog homes are wonderful too. Especially single dog homes with children. I was so focused on the fact that she’d be getting two amazing parents, a 7 year old who can’t get enough of her and a bouncing baby brother to grow up with. I was completely sure that it’d be a great situation. Now I’m discovering that it’s a situation for me to learn from.

As a foster parent I will have to do a better job of testing my fosters in a variety of situations. I’m not saying it’s my fault that she’s adjusting so slowly, but if I had been expecting her to be a nervous, shy and insecure dog I would have been able to discuss this with the new family. If they weren’t EXPECTING her to adjust quickly, as puppies typically do, it may not seem so weird that she’s not.

Perhaps if I had tested her in a larger variety of situations I would have known what we needed to work on. I could have taken her to public places without Mylo and Chase. She could have been entered into puppy socialization classes. These are things that her new family will probably have to do now because I didn’t know that she needed it.

Her new family is trying everything they can to make her comfortable, but she’s simply not adjusting to her new dad. This makes ME sad, and I know it’s making her new family sad. I continue to tell them to give it time but eventually it needs to be decided if the situation is good for anyone involved.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Sophie will get over her fears and get to stay with her new family, especially since I was so excited about this family! I thought that I had escaped the heartbreak of giving her up. We all want it to work out SO badly, but now we need to focus on making sure that whatever happens we act in the best interest of both the family and Sophie. I hope that, no matter what, her story can be a learning experience for everyone involved.

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6 Responses to “Missing in Action. A little bit of news!”

  1. Marge Mullen January 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Oh Chelsea….It makes me so sad that she’s being like this. She was such a cuddlebug when I had her too. Of course she loved snuggling up to Ella and Otis who kept her company. She had not problems with my husband, but I guess we could attribute that to having other dogs around as well. I hope and pray that Sophie realizes the incredible home and “parents” she has. Have you talked with any of the other fosters of Sophie’s siblings? I wonder how they’re getting along… 😦

    • pittiesforyourthoughts January 10, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      I’m so sad this is happening. I was SO happy about this adoption. I’ve heard that her sisters are fairly shy as well.. But Sophies issue with her new dad doesn’t seem to be just shyness.. She’s adjusting to everything but him. 😦

  2. Pocket Pittie in the City January 11, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Hi Chelsea, I just came across your blog through other dog blog stalking. 🙂 Thank you so much for everything that you do in fostering. I know that whatever happens with the adorable Sophie will be what’s best for her and all the humans involved. Good luck!! I hope to read more about where she ends up soon!

  3. whencrazymeetsexhaustion January 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    I hope everything works out for Sophie 😦 Poor pup.

  4. Kerin January 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    Who knows what dogs are thinking, but what about your husband and her dad doing walks with your dogs, and also play time. Since she hasn’t had a “bad man” experience, maybe it’s just something about her new dad, is he maybe taller? I know some of our dogs who are very friendly just don’t know what to do with a taller figure. Best of luck for your dear girl.

    • pittiesforyourthoughts January 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      My husband and I tried bringing the new dad around during play time, snuggle time and we also took a walk with him. She’s always loved Gene so we assumed, like you, that it might help. Unfortunately they live 2 1/2 hours away, so the amount of time that we can spend together is limited. She could ignore him a little better when our dogs were around, but she still didn’t like him. Didn’t want him around her at all.

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