You're not feeling good so far, I know, but wait. It gets better.
I got the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was about to do something I knew I shouldn't...but I knew I would. It always starts out that way. I'm gritting my teeth and muttering, "You idiot" at the same time that I'm emailing. Always.
I emailed the rescue group working with the shelter, saying I fostered for a rescue and would find out if they would pull the puppy from the shelter. It was only a little bit of a lie. I was thinking of fostering for the rescue group. Well, it's only a small step between thinking and doing, right? It doesn't take long if you can type fast and I can type really fast when I want to. Almost as fast as I can lie.
I emailed the rescue. Would they be willing to take this puppy? I would foster her for however long it was necessary.
Sometimes people sense when you're having a weak moment. The rescue said yes, the rescue group said, "Thank God," and some good people donated to pay puppy's way out. Her name was Kipsy, she was two months old and weighed 8 pounds. Just a nugget. They also said she'd been trembling with fear the entire time she had been in the shelter. I would have, too. That shelter gives the dogs only a three day stray hold and generally dumps them in a gas chamber on day four. I'll say no more about that part.
Five days and a rushed veterinarian visit later, Kipsy was loaded on a transport with many other dogs and driven seven hours through darkness and rain from her southern birthplace to an SPCA in Pennsylvania, where I picked her up. I couldn't even put her on the ground for fear she would contract the deadly parvo virus to which she didn't yet have immunity, so I carried her in the dark and rain to a crate in the back of my car and drove a rather harrowing hour home. My night vision isn't the best and it was foggy and rainy just short of sleeting. It was also 4 a.m. Well, at least there was nobody on the roads to hit. To my amazement, when I went to take her from her crate Kipsy came straight forward into my arms. And when I put her on the ground, before even relieving herself she threw herself vertically up my pants leg in the traditional puppy greeting. This, I thought, was a good puppy.
Not an entirely healthy puppy--all ribs and skinny little legs and big sad eyes. You can see that for yourself:
Things would get better, I told her. And they did. My big dogs, much to my amazement, made her welcome. The cat was another story. But although the puppy barked at him she clearly didn't intend him any harm, and the other dogs soon showed her the ropes. She began to feel a little cautious hope.
Well, the food was pretty good, the couch was soft, the bed was even softer. No more sleeping on a piece of sheet metal. The dogs were friendly; in fact, my pit bull Tia took that puppy under her care like a mother dog. It was funny as heck, because up to that point Tia had been the puppy. But her maternal instincts kicked right in. My grumpy old Labrador groomed Kipsy, licking the kennel smell patiently off her coat. My hound tolerated her. She discovered a yard full of toys, a refrigerator full of food and a really bad belly when that food disagreed with her. Uh-oh. Off she went to Dr. Ginny, who told me that my two month old eight pound pit bull puppy was actually a four month old twenty pound hound puppy. Who knew?
Ten days of food, shelter, companionship and medication brought out the puppy inside that puppy, who nearly ended her short life in a gas chamber. She was a happy Kipsy, rocketing around the house, leaping like a gazelle onto the couch, barking ferociously at everything and nothing in the yard.
Ten days in a house with somebody to love her. That's all it took. Today Kipsy met the person I think will be her new mom--somebody who saw her sad shelter picture on Facebook and got the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that meant she was going to do something she shouldn't. She did, and emailed me. I knew she was having a weak moment and...well...I pounced on her! I'm just waiting for final approval from the rescue and then, probably next weekend, I'll take my now 25 pound little nugget over to Betsy's house and we'll have a trial run with her other dog. And if all goes well, Kipsy should have a great life on a little farm with two nice parents and a Labrador sister.
There--don't you feel good now?