“She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene….”
Billie Jean is our newest foster. She arrived two days after the Suess Boys, so she’s been completely upstaged by their tiny but massive presence in our rescue world (YES- they have adopters and a long list of back-up adopters!).
Billie Jean has been in OPH care for over a month but spent a good part of that time in a boarding facility in Virginia because there wasn’t a foster home available. She had several sleepovers at various foster homes and enjoyed attending adoption events where she made many fans, just no adopters. No worries, though, this is a great little dog whose family is out there no doubt.
Like lots of OPHers, I was smitten by her pictures – she’s gorgeous, no?
But she was all the way down in Virginia and besides, she’d get scooped up soon, I told myself. And anyway, I had the muppets, so I figured I’d never meet her in person.
But when yet another weekend of adoption events came and went and no one jumped on her, I hedged. After all, I just had these two little gerbils to care for….certainly, I could take a dog too……….so two days after the arrival of my two tiny unicorns, Billie Jean arrived (thanks Becky for driving her up!).
We are enjoying Billie Jean. She’s housebroken, does fine in the crate at night, and gets along with everyone in the house except the cat.
Hermoine has survived 113 foster dogs to date, but this #114 dog might be her undoing. Billie Jean is relentless. She. Must. Chase. Poor Hermoine is spending more time outside than in, despite the rain this week.
Billie Jean is an Australian Cattle Dog mix, which means that she is busy. The dog has things to do and places to go. Her bright, clever mind is always up to something. She loves her toys and in the absence of a human to engage with her, will play with them by herself – tossing and pouncing and shaking and chasing.
Billie Jean was busy entertaining herself last night while we were eating dinner and more than once, the stuffed toy/rope remnant she was playing with ended up on the table. The dinnertime entertainment in this foster home can’t be beat.
She’s a powerful chewer and needs tough toys like antlers and bones because she can shred pretty much everything else. That said, she is very respectful and after a few corrections when she reaches for a shoe or a chair leg, it’s a non-issue.
Billie Jean is quite a devotee pup who shadows me everywhere, even waiting outside the bathroom door. Maybe the thing I appreciate the most about her is that she’s quiet. When the barn cat streaks across the yard, Frankie and Gracie will barks for twenty minutes despite the fact that the cat is long gone, but Billie Jean just watches the spot where the cat disappeared into the woods, silently. She knows better than to waste her voice.
The notes I read before Billie Jean arrived said she was ‘indifferent to other dogs,’ and that was definitely the case for the first few days. She ignored Frankie’s overtures and appeared not to even hear Gracie’s welcoming snarls. But Frankie watched her play by herself flipping her toys and pouncing and he saw the potential there. Again and again, he invited her for a game of run around the coffee table or face-wrestling. Finally after three days, she caved and tentatively began a game of wrestle-on-the-bed-and-mess-up-the-covers-and-make-mom-yell. There was no turning back.
Now they are tight – sometimes too tight as they’ve had a couple angry tussles over toys. Here’s today’s face-wrestling match (it’s too wet outside to wrestle in the yard and mom yells when they wrestle on the furniture).
Billie Jean and Gracie still ignore each other’s presence, but Billie Jean wears out Frankie with her invitations to play. It makes me wish she’d met Gomer -the two of them would have been a constant whirlwind of activity.
Billie Jean is new to leash walking but getting better every day. And the same way that Frankie convinced her to play, she is convincing him that walks are fun. Nick and I took the two of them over four miles the other night, with no protests from Frankie. And here I have to mention how good fostering is for personal dogs – it makes them not only flexible and tolerant, it also encourages good habits. Billie Jean isn’t the first foster dog to teach one of my personal dogs to appreciate what he’s got.
Okay, okay, I’ll give you an update on the unicorns. As previously mentioned, THEY ARE ADOPTED. They are still here, though, because puppy fostering protocol dictates that they stay with me for two weeks to ensure they are healthy, happy, and ready to go to their forever homes.
I think having these rare little guys has been good and bad for the rescue. They certainly garnered a lot of attention and an unprecedented number of applications (they were finally removed from the website because it was unfair to allow more applications to come in for puppies who had more than twenty applications in front of them).
This was good because it introduced OPH to lots of new potential adopters. So that will hopefully translate to saving more dogs.
The bad part is that inevitably many of the applicants for these precious pups will be disappointed. It can’t be helped, but it doesn’t take away the sting for people who had their hearts set on these boys.
For that I’m sorry, but I hope these people who were ready to open their hearts and home to a new puppy will keep looking and be open to the many hornless unicorns we have available. Because while I said these puppies were unicorns because they are rare and special, by definition that means we have an entire website full of unicorns because every dog is rare and special. They are all good dogs for the right person.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs (which comes out two weeks from TODAY!!!), check out my new website, AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, and more!
If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present and extra puppy pictures, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.
COMING AUGUST 7, 2018 from Pegasus Books and available for preorder now: