If you’ve read the previous posting you know I’m entering a new facet in my life and it revolves around fostering large canine rescues for ‘AK Cat & Dog Rescue’. I wrote about an adorable emaciated Black Lab I nursed back to health – actually he did virtually all the work by himself, I just provided some shelter, food, love and vet care – named ‘Shadow’ who was my first foster. Shadow is now fully healed from his ordeal as well as some follow up medical treatments and will soon be seeking his ‘forever home’. I will be sad to see him go but just knowing he’ll be going to a lifestyle and number of people which will be a better ‘fit’ will help me over my sense of loss.
Fifteen days ago I agreed to take in a second foster; she was a ‘hurry up’ situation as she was flown into Anchorage from King Cove at almost a moment’s notice and then driven to my place. Her name is ‘Izzy’ and she is supposedly a Pyrenees/Lab mix ; although I can see the Lab in her head and general body build the Pyrenees portion still escapes me. She is around two years of age and was returned to ‘AK Cat & Dog Rescue’ when her family went through some ‘personal issues’. Izzy was staked out on a long rope for quite a while; add this to being separated from her humans, loaded in a crate, flown in a plane and then driven in a car to someplace she’s never before known it was no surprise she was terribly traumatized. For days she wouldn’t let me touch her and she wanted to spend all her time outside. At least she was willing to stay on the front porch so I didn’t have to keep her on a line or similar. She was very anxious when inside the house and it took three days before she came into the place on her own.
She immediately felt comfortable around my male GSD (Qanuk) but she had issues with Shadow; this surprised me as Shadow is such a sweet boy but then his gregarious Black Lab personality can be a bit much at times. I allowed Izzy to set the pace at which we developed a relationship; it was slow but steady. She really is sweetheart and I feel for her lack of stability and her apparent lack of socialization at a younger age. She also seemed to have had a bad experience with an adult male which caused further difficulties in establishing a relationship with her. As with so many of these poor animals all she really needed was time to adjust to her sweeping changes, shelter, food, love and a sense she belongs here.
She now spends most of time inside with none of the anxiety indications she initially displayed; she competes with Shadow for a spot on my bed when we call it a day. She plays with both Qanuk and Shadow inside and outdoors. And she can rings around both of them which is saying something! Due to a lack of sufficient socialization when young she can initially show trepidation around ‘new’ people but this also makes her an extraordinary watch dog. And within a few minutes she’ll warm up to people who like dogs. A couple days back I learned she has a ‘thing’ for moose; when I let all three out first thing in the early morning I saw her run into the driveway, scent something and then take off down the driveway like she was shot from a canon with Qanuk and Shadow eating her dust. She was also really barking; at 06:30 it is dead quiet here and while I have no really ‘close by’ neighbors – at least compared to most situations in the lower 48 – there are folks living plenty close enough to hear her barking especially as it sounded loud enough to awaken the dead! I called and called; I finally managed to get Qanuk and Shadow back into the house but Izzy just wasn’t gonna give up on that cow moose and her two spring calves. I finally reigned her in but I also now know she will chase moose and they are almost ubiquitous to this area. I’m thinking I’ll need to pay close attention to her just before I let her outside especially in the mornings. If she, or the other two canines, display any signs they believe wildlife is around I’ll have to take her out on a lead.
Izzy is a truly special canine and I have a feeling she could become my first ‘foster fail’ especially as she and Qanuk are such good buddies. I’ll need a bit more time with her before I make that decision and I’ll continue to work with her. She was a much more challenging foster as compared to Shadow – I knew he had spoiled me – but she has progressed wonderfully and she also taught me I could handle a more demanding foster and be successful. Regardless, I have found my calling and will continue to foster large canines for the foreseeable future! Here are some images of my latest foster: