Sharing Gala’s situation last week triggered an avalanche of reaction. Many, many suggestions for trainers, meds, herbal supplements, etc. And more than that—lots of support and encouragement, which is maybe what I needed most. Sadly, it did not trigger any adoption applications.
I want to be clear, I was not suggesting that it is time to euthanize Gala. I don’t believe she’s out of options. And I ABSOLUTELY believe she can be successful and happy in the right adoptive home. What drove my frustration and sadness is that I’m pretty certain our foster home is no longer helping her. Her anxiety is up, not down. Yes, she has improved in many areas – she is better on the leash, she is accepting of her crate, she knows commands like sit, stay, and come. She is not trying to escape our house.
In other ways, though, I feel she has peaked and is regressing. Her reactivity to people has increased, and I believe that’s a combination of her becoming attached to us (and feeling she needs to protect us), and my nervousness when she meets someone new. I always worry how she will react. Gala is an extremely sensitive dog. And Gala loves me beyond reason. This combination becomes combustible when we are in public places where her anxiety is already ramped up.
This realization is what drove me to tears. I wrote that I don’t think I can save her, but I didn’t mean that someone else couldn’t.
Gala is a wonderful dog. She is affectionate and devoted to her people. She loves to snuggle on the couch, follows me from room to room, and seems to relax best sleeping next to me as I work. She freely gives kisses, squeals when I come home after being out, and is learning not to jump up for more attention. She is the perfect dog for someone looking for a companion and a best friend.
Gala is incredibly smart and sensitive. She reads people and moods and situations, perhaps, too well. When I am stressed or frantic, she is also. When salesmen come to my door (surprisingly often, considering how off the beaten path we are), she senses my irritation and barks just inside the door, nonstop, but when a friend comes to the door, she is all waggles and happy, ready to greet them. She quickly learns routines, twirling circles when it is dinner time, sitting to have her harness put on for a walk, accepting of her morning crate time, and willing to settle down and nap as soon as she enters my office. Gala could likely learn tricks and agility too, it’s my biggest regret that we don’t have the time to work on more of this. For the motivated adopter, though, she could be a Rockstar when it comes to tricks.
Gala loves to go for walks and runs and hikes. That said, she isn’t more difficult on the days we don’t have time for them. I take her for long, long walks each day because I know it makes her happy and because it’s good for me. She is the ideal dog for the person looking for motivation to get more exercise. I just discovered the book Walking with Peety and put it on my wishlist. I love the premise – a dangerously unhealthy man (hundreds of pounds overweight) is prescribed a ‘shelter dog’ by his doctor. He adopts a senior dog who is also dangerously overweight and they change each other’s lives. The man loses 150 pounds and Peety loses 25 pounds!
People save dogs, but dogs can also save people. I wrote in Gala’s bio that she is a once-in-a-lifetime dog and I absolutely believe that. She is a dog that will change your life.
So, last week’s post wasn’t a there’s-no-hope-left-for-Gala post. It was a there’s-no-more-Cara-can-do-for-Gala post. I want Gala to have the life she deserves. She needs her family to come for her. But she’s not a charity case – I promise you that if you adopt Gala, she will change your life. Her heart is so big and her enthusiasm so unbounded, any adopter will be lucky to have her.
Now, the next thing I’m going to tell you will probably make you shake your head and worry for my sanity, but really it is the one thing that can make my current situation better.
Puppies are coming.
I still don’t have a firm headcount, but at least these four cuties:
I know the chaos may not be good for Gala, but the presence of puppies has always made her happy. In fact, Frankie has been the Gala-whisperer of late. They wrestle nonstop, in endless tugowar matches over any toy Frankie picks up. Eventually they wear themselves out and lie together on the Frank bed. It is proof that Gala is not only capable of getting along with other dogs, but she enjoys them. Maybe it’s the fact that she’s known Frankie since he was 8 weeks old, so while he’s nearly her size, she still thinks of him as a baby. I don’t know. It has been so good for my heart this week to see Frankie work his magic on Gala.
I don’t know what the coming weeks will hold for Gala. I don’t know if adding puppies to the mix will make us all crazy. I just know that I need to save more dogs. I need to know I’m making a difference and I don’t want to blame Gala for the fact that I haven’t saved as many dogs this year as last year. So, the puppies are coming Friday night. They are older puppies, already 12 weeks old who will likely be available for adoption by the new year. The smell and noise and work will be over-the-top. But they’re the best antidote for my weary, uncertain heart.
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