The One That Got Away

*this post was originally written in December of ’09.  We fostered Otis from late September until he was adopted around Thanksgiving.  We still talk about him often, and wonder what he’s like now that he’s been in a forever home for quite some time.  It’s tough when adopters don’t keep in touch, but I suppose it’s best not to dwell on things and be content with the fact that he found a place and person of his very own.

Oh, this dog.

Otis was delivered to me by OTAT’s intake coordinator on October 11th. The first thing I thought when I saw him was, “Crap. He’s big.”

He wasn’t huge, but he was definitely double the size of all the fosters up to this point – bigger than we wanted to go for city living reasons. Also, I just knew that if we fostered a big dog, I would fall in love. And I did.

Otis was a scaredy cat. He was terrified of everything : noises, shadows, leaves, me. He avoided me the first half hour we met. He ducked, crouched, and tried to become invisible. I was very nervous that maybe he was going to be too much for us. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to help him.

The very next day, I was dog-sitting my friend’s puppy. Otis took to him right away, loved him, and wanted to be his best friend. While he was always nervous meeting new dogs, in all reality, he just wanted their approval and guidance.

In the few months that we had him in our home, Otis grew leaps and bounds.  We took him to visit family several times, and he slowly began to warm up to people a little quicker each time.  In fact, he went straight up to my brother and allowed him to give him a good belly rub.  It melted my heart.

During his time with us, he earned bed privileges and got to go on tons of field trips to the dog park.  He really came into himself, even if the world still startled him from time to time.

So, Otis was perfect. Yes, he was terrified of new situations, but show him a relaxed dog in that same situation, and he would try and mimic their calm. He was super smart, and I taught him a ton of tricks. He was obedient and adored us.  The feeling was mutual.

I started to think about how much he would love to be in a home with an existing dog, as well as having an owner more settled – not one that would most likely be moving around for at least another 5 yrs. Otis thrives on consistency, and isn’t the most adaptable dog. I decided he could do better, and he did.

Otis was adopted recently and now lives with a professional woman in the city with two other pups. I miss him the most.

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2 thoughts on “The One That Got Away

  1. ouch. i know that feeling is coming for us — where we let one get away and then have a hard time letting it really go. we’ve been lucky so far with our fosters, placing them all in homes that are both wonderful and communicative (with us). it eases the missing a little. and we do love getting to know a new dog and teaching it how to be a dog. but i know one will come along that will really knock us off our feet, and then we’ll be in serious trouble.

  2. It happens to the best of us. He was actually our 3rd foster ever (and a lot of time has passed), but I still think about how great he would be to have around. Of course, he went to a wonderful home, but still…you can’t help but wonder.

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