Saturday, February 05, 2011

Part dog, part gremlin - one year on

Some time in the next couple of weeks I have to go to the vet with Trixie and get her boosters done. I've never had to do this with a foster before, because I've never had a foster dog for a whole year before.

I just don't understand why nobody wants this wee girl. I want her. I love her. But she should move on for a whole host of reasons, only one of which is a selfish reason on my part.

Yes, I will admit that one of the great things about dog fostering is the novelty of having new dogs coming in and out of your house all the time, and we haven't had a new dog in for months and months. And yes, I love a bit of drama and high emotion and a happy ending, so there is something very satisfying in taking in a dog that's in bad condition or just a bit lost, feeding it up and worming it and teaching it basic manners and then sending it out to a new home to be loved by a new family. I don't get to do this anymore because Trixie never leaves.

But most of the reasons she should leave have to do with her and the person I know is out there for her. Somewhere out there is a home, preferably headed up by an older woman with either no children or grown-up children, who likes to go for rambly walks some days but shorter walks on other days, who wants a dog to sit on her lap in the evenings and obligingly cover her in hair and breathe dog breath into her face while she's watching telly. Sometimes, if her new owner is really lucky, Trixie will do the very cute thing she does where she pretends to bite your face in order to get you to pay attention to her (seriously, I know this doesn't sound cute, but it is. Enormously.) Or she will settle beside her new owner on the sofa and snore loudly and regularly like your dad at the opera or a pompous business person on a train. (She particularly likes to do this if you are really invested in your programme, like if your friend wrote it or your brother is on it.) Someone is missing out on this.

And Trixie is missing out on what she needs: a home without a pack of bigger, noisier, rougher dogs in it. Our own three core dogs have certain things worked out. They bash against each other to get through doors. They rob each others toys. They steamroll over each other while getting in and out of the car. They bark insanely at other packs of dogs we meet out walking, and the other packs of dogs bark madly back, and the owners manage three seconds of conversation over the heads of these barking dogs before giving up and going their separate ways. They smash into each other running up hills. They bowl each other over running down hills.

Trixie doesn't like these things. She likes to eat her food slowly without other dogs staring at her, willing her to give up in the middle of it. She likes to take her time getting up off the floor to go out, or getting off the sofa. She likes to leave bones in the back garden and for them to be where she left them when she comes back for another look at them. And so on.

Yeah, okay, she has a heart murmur. Who doesn't these days? And yes, she only has one eye and a dead tail and she barks at everyone we meet on the street as if she hated them (she doesn't though. This is just her announcing herself) and she likes to bring me dead rabbits and she comes over all deaf when she's called and she tramples over my laptop when she sits on my lap and she sneaks upstairs and eats the cat food out of their bowls and then throws it up in the kitchen. Again I ask, who doesn't?

She also needs to move on because while she's here there are other dogs we could be fostering, who may otherwise have to go to the pound, or remain in unsuitable homes where both they and their owners are unhappy, or be in kennels where they get no socialization or training or experience of living with a family in a home.

And also, though this really is selfish, if she stays much longer I won't be able to part with her at all.


mylescorcoran said...

I hope Trixie finds a new home, for her sake and yours.

Apropos of nothing the captcha word was 'mantorks'. That sounds like it should be a word. What the hell are 'mantorks?'

ian said...

It occurs to me that one kind of person Trixie might be good for is someone who is thinking about getting into dog owning but would rather test the waters with a dog that, eh, might not be around forever first.

She does sound like a great dog.

Trish Byrne said...

@Myles, they do sound like some kind of prehistoric mammal found only in remote deserts (like Ian and Irene were teaching us about at the weekend).

@Ian, the thing is, heart medication is so good now and terriers are so hardy (as you know) that she could easily have seven or eight years left. She is a great dog. You should come and meet her. I will arrange this.