Diary, dog rescue, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering

Diary of a Rescue Week Three: Together We Rescue

This past week taught me the truth of ‘Together We Rescue’.

Sometimes we forget the fact that none of us has to go through this life alone. It’s our choice.

Like most people, asking for help doesn’t always come naturally for me. I want to be that strong, independent, I-can-handle-it person, and more than that, I just don’t want to bother anyone. We’re all more than busy, right?

Thankfully, when a crisis rose up this week for Daisy, friends stepped in an offered help and for once, I was smart enough to take it. It was that help that got us through the week and helped Daisy to expand her own circle of trust, proving that she is more resilient than I thought.

Yes, she is still terrified of men and has yet to let my husband or son pet her or put on a leash, but as she watches Nick’s outstretched hand or creeps towards him and then scurries away, I know her mind is weighing it all. Risk versus reward. It likely took some time to inflict the emotional wounds she carries and it will take even longer to heal them, but this week proved that we are making progress.

If you’d like to follow this Diary of a Rescue in real time, you can do that on Facebook at Cara Sue Achterberg, writer. Here are this week’s entries:

Diary of a Rescue Day 15:

Daisy missed me while we were gone. She refused to follow Ian out of the puppy room, so it was a night of using puppy pads. She also barely ate.

This has me worried since I will be away three days next week to teach at a writers retreat. We’ll work this weekend to get her comfortable with Nick and Ian feeding and walking her, but we have our work cut out for us as I made another discovery….

Daisy is nervous about all people but much less nervous about women. My friend Allison stopped by and it only took a few minutes for Daisy to be comfortable enough to let Allison pet her.

This sweet pup. If only I could help her understand that she is safe now. Alas, I guess we will have to prove it.

day 15 4

Daisy Goals for the weekend-
1. Get her to go out on leash with the guys.
2. Take down the puppy box and see how comfortable she is in a crate.
3. Continue to keep her in kitchen during the day so she can get used to the bigger space and the activity level.

Diary of a Rescue Day 16:

Daisy’s devotion to me grows more every day. I’m concerned about this not only because she’s becoming so dependent but also because it will be tricky introducing her to the other dogs. She seems to think I belong to her and barks at the other dogs if she spots me with them on the other side of the gate. I’m hopeful that when I’m gone next week they can broker a little peace.

Nick has been working to woo her and gave her some bacon this morning. She is less skeptical of him but still careful. Bacon is powerful.

Nancy Slattery also met Daisy today when she dropped me off after our K9&Kds program. Daisy warmed up very quickly, especially after I slipped Nancy some bacon to share.

Daisy spent all day in the kitchen and has become pretty vocal- barking at the horses in the field, cars in the driveway, and the other dogs.

day 17 2

Tonight we’ll introduce the crate (I saved a bit of bacon for that project). Daisy seems less fragile now and it may be time to get her on a schedule and back (a little bit) off the spoiling.

My job as her foster is to prepare her for her eventual adopters, not just make her fat and happy. Daisy will need someone (probably female) who is committed to her and willing to be patient but my guess is she will have a devoted dog for life.

Diary of a rescue Day 17:

Daisy is embracing the free-run of the kitchen and managed to dump the laundry basket and the paper recycling.

day 17

Unbelievably and despite the bacon, she continues to stay as far away from Nick and Ian as possible and panics if they approach her. These man-fears run deep.

She did great in her crate last night. Yay- one easy thing!

We were gone most of the day today and Ian was left in charge. He was unable to get her to go outside but remarkably, she had no accidents. I took her out as soon as I got home but pointed out to her, “there’s no way you can hold it for three days, so you’re gonna have to let these boys help you.”

If only she could talk. Hopefully, having the guys give her all her meals and treats will have some impact and me leaving for three days will force her hand a little.

day 15 3

Diary of a Rescue Day 18:

Last night was pretty much the low point around here. Nick couldn’t catch Daisy in the kitchen without traumatizing her, and even when I put her on the leash for him, she was too terrified to follow him out.

He was frustrated. I was distraught. (Ian took to his room.)

I figured she was going to spend the next three days in the puppy room, not eating (since she also wouldn’t eat a bowl of food that he or Ian gave her unless I came in and stood near her).

But this morning, I awoke to a message from my friend Tanis, offering to come try to walk Daisy for me on the days I’m away. She came over this afternoon for a trial run – and miracles of miracles (and a little freshly cooked chicken), Daisy loved Tanis! She sauntered along on the leash happily with her and even gave Tanis kisses when they finished. Sigh. So grateful to this good dog-hearted friend who will come over to walk Daisy during the day (even though she works nights!) while I am gone.

day 18

But even more, it was so, so, so heartening to see Daisy warm up to someone besides me, not just take treats and tolerate petting, but lean into her and run alongside her on the leash.

Good day. Feeling as if we are over a hump of some kind. I know that the evenings will still be tough for Nick, but at least a little pressure is off and I did cook him a giant batch of chicken to try to woo Daisy with. Fingers crossed.

This second picture is Daisy watching me cook all day like a mad woman (it was guilt-cooking because I feel so bad leaving the guys alone with all the dogs and horses and chickens and stuff I usually do). I think she knows something is up, she’s been extra clingy, if that’s possible.

day 18 1

Don’t know what my next few days will be like, but I’ll try to update you on how it goes.

Diary of a Rescue Day 19:

Good news and bad news…. good news first….

I’m enjoying my time at a writer’s retreat – I taught for only a couple hours and then had the rest of the day to rest and write and hike. Meeting lots of great people and refilling my well. Right now there’s nothing left to do but read and sleep! No dogs to walk or chickens to close in!

Tanis visited and walked Daisy this afternoon. She said Daisy was a little more hesitant without me there but it went well.

Bad news….despite copious amounts of chicken and slow, quiet approach, Daisy will not come near Nick. He doesn’t want to force her so he’s putting down more puppy pads and hoping her aim is good.

She also won’t take chicken from him or touch her food while he is near. Won’t even look at him or sit down if he is in the room.

My husband is not a loud or large man and he’s been nothing but kind and gentle to her. I don’t want to imagine how she’s gotten these deep mental wounds.

Thankfully, Tanis is going to come back after she gets off work early in the morning. It may also be time to call in more help. Thankful I have help to call.

Diary of a Rescue Day 20:

Here’s the message I got from “Daisy” this morning after breakfast:

“Hi, Mom! I think it’s been a good morning. We took a walk outside. Took care of all my business! Ate some chicken and even a dry snack. I showed Tanis my bone and toys and even sat next to her for a little while. I miss you! And will be happy to see you! Love, Daisy”

Tanis went back to see her in the afternoon too, and reported that Daisy wagged her tail as soon as she saw her, snuggled with her, and seemed much more relaxed, even ate her dry dog food!

Chris, another OPH foster, will be stopping by tonight to see if she can charm Daisy into going outside with her. Otherwise, she’ll be holding it all night again (no accidents last night – bladder of steal that one).

[Note: Chris was able to walk Daisy and reported even getting a few tail wags!]

Nick has continued to offer chicken treats, which she won’t take from him, but will eat if he leaves for her or tosses close to her. Hopefully, he is building goodwill.

I’m still enjoying the writing retreat and would be happy if it continued for another month instead of one day. Today I hiked to a slave graveyard and spent a few hours editing my latest manuscript (and taught a class).

We have an OPH volunteer training coming up entitled, “It Takes a Village,” and boy does it ever this week!

Diary of a Rescue Day 21:

Daisy was pretty happy to see me but may change that tune since tonight we started a six-day course of worming. As you’ll see in her video, she seems to have regained her strength and energy so now seems like a good time to finally administer the wormer we use on all the dogs.

The wormer is a bit tough on the gastrointestinal system initially but should ultimately help her to start gaining weight.

I may be home, but Nick is still campaigning to win Daisy over. I need to get a picture of him lying on the floor with his arm stretched out offering her chicken with his head turned away to look less threatening. (Makes me love him even more.)

Can’t say thank you enough to Tanis and Chris for stepping in last minute and saving the day. Grateful hardly covers it.

Heading into the weekend with fresh snow and plans to introduce Daisy to the other dogs – wish us luck!

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter (which is rarely monthly, but I’m working at it…everybody needs a goal).

If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, visit 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, the schedule of signings, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals! You can also purchase a signed copy or several other items whose profits benefit shelter dogs!

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog Facebook group.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.



Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available now

Another Good Dog cover

6 thoughts on “Diary of a Rescue Week Three: Together We Rescue”

  1. Great blog and posts. I’m new to your blog, but have a friend in North Carolina who fosters dogs and has been doing so off and on for over two decades. While I’m not a dog person myself, I guess I’d say that even though I don’t know you personally, I’m still a Cara person, as you have a big heart for people and animals of all kinds. I enjoyed the first video in this post, hearing how gently you talk to Daisy. I’m sure Nick and Ian will be able to eventually win her over. Thank goodness for great fellow dog lovers. Keep these diary entries coming.
    Question though: why is it so important to get a dog so wary of other dogs used to them if there are foster homes where they’d be the only dog and they can get the most care from a person? I’m still learning about how dogs function, and to me, it’d seem easier, albeit probably not the best thing, to keep Daisy away from other dogs as much as possible if she’s so wary of them. Thoughts? I know you’re doing the best you can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ana! Welcome to the blog. I appreciate your kind words. As far as introducing Daisy to the other dogs, we do it for several reasons. The biggest reason is the hope that by bonding with another of my dogs, it might make her braver and more willing to trust because she could follow their example. Dogs are pack animals and finding her place in the pack could make her safer here. Until we actually put them together it’s hard to say if her barking at them is nerves or fear or aggression.

      The other reason is that the ultimate goal is to help Daisy find her forever home, so it’s important to know if she gets along with other dogs so that we can find the right family for her. Great question!


  2. All the best with your efforts then. It’s good that you’re able to start seeing what would be a good fit for her now while she’s adjusting to your home. I know that dogs are pack animals, and know that there are many things to consider when dealing with several of them at once. Glad the rest of your family are dog lovers and supporters of your work. Will you be posting blog entries while you’re on your animal shelter tour? I’m not a Facebook user, and am best able to follow your adventures through the blog. I agree, too many dogs deserving of a second chance are being put down. More should be given a chance at a good life. And those who mistreat animals should be held accountable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the nudge – I will definitely try to get some posts up while we are on the trip to keep you and others who aren’t on FB in the loop. I also hope to write about it for other press opportunities so we can spread the word.


  3. We just adopted a rescue puppy from Pound Puppy Rescue. The poor little thing was abandoned on the side of the road 😦 Fortunately, our Daisy is young enough that she has acclimated quickly to being in a loving home environment. We were given the task of introducing our rescue to 10 people and dogs daily–a bit hard in our remote location and her need of more vaccinations, but it is critical to socialize dogs while young!! I enjoy following your endeavors with rescues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations! And thank you for choosing to rescue! That socialization is so important – too many puppies never get it and the consequences can be devastating down the road. Good luck with your new family member!!


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