The coming week will mean a big change for Daisy.
I am preparing to leave on the OPH Rescue Road Trip, a weeklong trip with seven other volunteers to visit six of our partner shelters in North and South Carolina to spend our days working in the shelters. Our hope is to not only offer physical help with the dogs and the work, but to learn more about the needs of our shelters and to raise awareness of those needs.
You can follow along on our Facebook group, OPH Rescue Road Trip, where we’ll be sharing pictures, stories, and live videos all week long.
This is an exciting adventure for me, but it means that Daisy will have to leave our home which has been her safe haven for nearly seven weeks. Nick and Ian cannot be left in charge of Daisy for an entire week.
It’s not their safety I’m worried about – Daisy has shown no aggression at all towards any people (although it’s more than clear that she has suffered at the aggressive hands of people). The problem is that she goes into a blind panic if Nick or Ian approach her and I worry for her safety and emotional health if we force the issue. We have made incremental progress, but sadly, there is still so far to go in convincing her to trust them.
She has three options. One would be to move to another foster home, but most of our foster homes are full and a new transport of dogs is arriving next week. Daisy needs to be kept separate from other dogs and most fosters have at least one, if not multiple, dogs.
Her second option and the one looking most likely is for her to go to a boarding facility. While I know this will be a scary experience for Daisy, it would be a safe one. She would be handled by professionals and kept separate from other dogs while her basic needs are met. It wouldn’t be her first ‘shelter’ experience, so hopefully, she will be familiar with the drill and aware that she won’t be there forever.
The best place for her to go would be her new home, but so far she has no applications and no potential adopters. While I know that initially, it will be challenging for an adopter to take Daisy home, I also know that once that bond is formed, she will be an easy, fun, devoted, love of a lifetime for some lucky person. What we really need here is a miracle – a person willing to look past Daisy’s fear to the beautiful dog underneath and have the patience and the kindness to welcome her into her life.
I’m pretty sure the rescue will offer an extended trial period for Daisy’s adopters. That may help alleviate the perceived risk, but as far as the real risk – there’s none, because I know the heart of this dog and it is so open and ready to share with the world, she just needs a willing guide.
If you or someone you know is interested in adopting Daisy, please feel free to reach out to me with questions and/or to find more information here.
If you’d like to follow Daisy’s diary in real time, visit Cara Sue Achterberg, writer. Here are this week’s entries in their entirety (although I did not post all 32 pictures from her photo shoot posted on Day 37).
Diary of a Rescue Day 36:
My friend Linda is visiting for a few days. Linda is my oldest friend (not by age but by years of friendship- I’ve known her fifty years!). She’s a soft soul who is an animal whisperer in many ways. She easily won over Daisy.
The two of us took Daisy for a walk this morning up the hollow. Daisy did great. We even encountered a man running who was friendly (and unfamiliar- I thought I knew everyone on this street!). Daisy was alarmed but instead of blindly pulling me away from him she kind of spun in place excitedly. It was a good encounter- he was chatty but kept moving so hopefully Daisy’s takeaway was ‘men can pass by me and I will survive.’
I think she’s getting sick of being alone in the puppy room, but hopefully with spring arriving we can get her out in the puppy yard soon. She’s definitely an outside girl.
The weather today made my heart happy too- sitting on my screened porch in short sleeves at this very moment (with the other dogs patrolling the porch watching the squirrels). Spring will be good for both of us!
Diary of a Rescue Day 37:
Not a whole lot to tell you today. Because both my college-age kids are home and I worry about someone either inadvertently leaving the gate open to the kitchen or Daisy getting out, I’ve restricted her to the puppy room again. It seems like regressing, but the most important thing is that she’s safe.
This morning she shredded a puppy pad, so I know she’s frustrated too. I took her for a long walk and other than a little panic when a big work van passed us, she did well. Happily trotting along in front of me.
She’s so happy for my company – racing around and circling and leaning on me and even jumping up repeatedly. Sadly, I had a busy day and couldn’t spend a lot of time with her. I’m hoping tomorrow she’ll get out of that little room – one college kid’s break ends and the other is off in Pittsburgh visiting friends.
These are the pictures from her photo shoot with Nancy Slattery. Nancy is so good at capturing expressions and moments. Enjoy!
Diary of a Rescue Day 38:
Every time I start to get discouraged about this dog she surprises me. All day long she only wanted me-me-me. She panicked at the sight of Nick or the boys, and could not bring herself to even take a treat from Allison when she stopped by (although she’s taken them from her before).
I’m leaving on the OPH Rescue Road Trip two weeks from today and Daisy has no applications, no interested adopters. What happens then? Do I have to count on friends to come to my house three times a day to walk her and feed her for a whole week while I’m gone?
And then! We had just finished dinner and Daisy was nudging me at my seat, wanting my attention, trying to get me to pet her and preferably scratch her back just in front of her tail in her favorite spot. She kept banging my leg like a shark (supposedly since I have no first-hand knowledge of this) does before attacking its victims.
Ian was sitting beside me and he held out his hand while continuing our conversation. Daisy gave it a sniff but instead of bolting away as she normally would, she turned her head back to me and offered her butt to him for a scratch. He reached out and itched her favorite spot …..and…..she let him!
It was the first time he has been able to touch her in the more six weeks that she’s been here. I know it seems like nothing, but it’s HUGE.
It renewed my hope for this dog. She wants to trust and she has so much love to share.
Diary of a Rescue Day 39:
Daisy is such a playful, silly, affectionate girl, but others rarely get to see this side of her. This is a video of her this morning before anyone but me was up. She’s playing with an old toy the other dogs gave up on ages ago when it lost its squeaker and it’s stuffing.
I can’t wait until the day when this isn’t a special moment because she feels safe and comfortable enough to do this all day long no matter whose around.
(Sorry that the video is sideways- hopefully you can still see it)
Diary of a Rescue Day 40:
Today I took Daisy on an adventure. I loaded her up in the car – which meant that I literally had to load her into the car since she wasn’t inclined to go anywhere near it. Maybe it’s because her last few car rides have all been to/from the ER and the vet’s office.
She was pretty anxious for the ride and ready to get out when we got to a local park. I thought we’d go for a nice hike but Daisy was much more inclined to give the fields a thorough sniffing. If I had any doubts that there is some hound in her, they are gone.
I think she really enjoyed our amble over the fields- it was very stop/start with me dragging her away from smell after smell.
Once again, I loaded her up, since she wanted nothing to do with the car. The rest of her day has been quiet. I really wish I had more time to spend with her or that she would accept the other dogs so she could hang out with the rest of us. I hate that she spends so many lonely hours in the puppy room.
Diary of a Rescue Day 41:
Another adventurous day for Daisy. This time I loaded her up in the car and drove her to my friend Gina’s house for a walk in a neighborhood. I had warned Gina that it might be a disaster and it almost was.
When Daisy and I arrived at Gina’s (after an exciting pit stop at the gas station where I filled the tank and Daisy fretted about all the people walking in and out of Rutters), her neighbors a few houses down had a very noisy lawn crew working in their yard. The blowers were deafening and once I got Daisy out of the car, she was in all-out panic mode. We decided to cut through Gina’s backyard to another street and it looked like Daisy might be able to relax but then we came upon a work van with a worker in it. She almost twisted her way out of her harness but I grabbed her martingale collar (cannot tell you how many times that collar has saved the day!) and ushered her past.
The rest of the walk was much the same- she walked/sniffed along happily and then we encountered work trucks/strange people/generators/more lawn workers/packs of dogs (they were all tied in the same front yard and were the small fancy kind of dogs). Each time we coaxed her past and only a few times I had to resort to dragging her past by her collar.
Gina is a good and patient friend and a big help, but clearly busy neighborhoods will be challenging for Daisy. The one noticeable improvement was that for the first time I didn’t have to carry her to the car. When we got back to Gina’s she willingly headed for the car and I only had to give her a boost to get her in.
Lucky for Daisy she will have two quiet days coming up. Nick and I are headed for a quick trip to VA and Tanis will be checking in on her while we are gone.
The video is from later today when we were leaving for a walk around the pasture. She gets so excited when we leave for a walk.
Diary of a Rescue Day 42:
Raining, raining, raining today. I walked Daisy twice before we left at 11. She was goofy and kept dropping her football. Each time I picked it up she lunged for it- not trusting me to carry it. I gave her a snuggle goodbye and Nick and I left for our quick trip to VA.
Tanis visited with her tonight and messaged me that Daisy doesn’t like the rain. They had a little quality time though and hopefully, the rain will subside by tomorrow. So grateful for Tanis.
We will return tomorrow afternoon and start searching for the best place to board Daisy while I am away. Oh, this dog.
Nick said (jokingly) tonight, “we could probably just chain her up in the yard while you are gone and she’d feel right at home.” When I think about where Daisy was this time last year, that is probably accurate, but of course, I shot him a lethal look and resumed my worries over my trip and Daisy.
Thanks for reading!
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.
One last thing! I will be leading a group of eight volunteers on a week-long trip to volunteer in some of the shelters we work with in North and South Carolina. We will be posting stories, pictures and video of our adventure. You can see all of it by following our Facebook page, OPH Rescue Road Trip. We promise to share the dogs we meet, the heroes we help, and the reality of shelters in the rural south. It may not always be easy to see, but hopefully it will also inspire you to help the many, many dogs in need. And if you’re so inclined, you can support us with donations through our Road Trip Fundraiser.
Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available now