Now they only get to choose one breed for their paperwork, and that descriptor can lead to them being adopted or being euthanized. Given that dogs have yet to figure out a way to verbally tell us their heritage, it’s still all a guessing game. I find these to be most common classifications:
1. Blocky head and stocky build - American Staffordshire (pit bull)
2. Tan color, long tail, pointy muzzle - German Shepherd (shepherd)
3. Small, short haired dog with pointed ears that shivers a lot - Chihuahua
When Christy called to ask if I could foster a three-legged pit mix, in my mind, I pictured a stocky, blocky-headed dog with a silly grin. Finding fosters is difficult; finding fosters for dogs labeled as “pit mixes” is near impossible. I don’t care what their genetics are, and I’ve always helped any breed with no criteria. However, now the wildcard of Tucker is always on the table, so I have to have one rule: she needs to get along with Tucker.
Simultaneously to Christy dialing my number, Shelley emailed me the story and a video of the little girl. She did not look like what I had expected. Lilly is small-framed white female dog with a round head, tan ears, and freckles. Okay, maybe there’s a little pit in her genes, but not much. And she didn’t have three legs—so Christy’s description was wholly inaccurate.
[Note: I did not take this video, so please forgive the incorrect orientation and black bars on the side.]
Tucker is a boy, and a teeanage boy at that. His signature play move is hip-checking: he swings his big butt around, smashing into another dog (or person’s kneecaps... or coffee table... or dining room chair should any of those be in the line of trajectory.) When the doctor said they could save the leg and Lilly would have pins in her to stabilize her hip while she healed, I didn’t think fostering her was a good idea at all.
TAPS pulled her even without me fostering. (I’ve never known them to turn away any dog once they’ve gotten involved.) Christy agreed to foster, and so after Lilly’s surgery, she spent Thanksgiving weekend with Christy in her animal friendly house.
Christy recently lost their dog Liza after a long sickness. Holly, her other dog, is still grieving (as are the humans.) I hoped that Lilly’s presence in the house would give Holly a distraction and help heal her broken heart. But it was too soon.
The two dogs got along all right in the beginning, but Lilly tested the waters, taking a stand and claiming her crate and even a doorway to the room where her crate was.
Holly, being a sweet 13 year old dog grieving her sister, just wasn’t up for the fight. “Whatever,” was her response, and rather than just walking through the doorway, walked away. Lilly felt powerful, and continued to growl every time Holly would try to go through that doorway or go near the crate. If Holly ignored her and pushed past, there was no altercation. But every time Holly backed down and went away, Lilly got the upperhand and her rudeness escalated.
Holly took the stance of avoidance. If Lilly was in the room, Holly was not. There was no real threat, and no dog fight would ever ensue, but Holly, quite frankly, is just too old for this shit. She’s had fosters before, and they’ve all gotten along just fine. It’s not fair for Holly to be displaced. When you foster and have your own dog, you own dog comes first. So when Christy called, I said, “Let’s give it a try right now.”
Twenty minutes later, Lilly was in my living room, and Tucker was playbowing, swinging his butt around, and trying to flirt with the little lass.
So, back to Christy’s she went.
The next night, I got another call from Christy. Lilly had hurt herself, possibly trying to escape the crate while the family was at work, and Christy needed someone to drive Lilly back to the vet. Of course I said I’d do it.
Now that I’ve switched up saddles for my trusty steed, I need to get more adept at taking photographs. The kids are a hell of a lot safer back there and I’ve made it first class comfy. I cut up an old egg crate mattress pad, doubled it up and laid it on top of the PetDek I bought that fits just right on the lowest level. It is then padded with a fleecy blanket and couple of towels. Great for long distance lounging, but terrible for taking pictures while in the driver's seat.