Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fostering in Santa Monica

Adventures with Dori begin!  Dori, the 5 year old, neutered male Jindo dog I volunteered to foster arrived today around noon.
My first visit with Dori at the Pasadena Humane Society
It all started on January 21st, when I read an email sent by Adopt A Pet looking for a volunteer to foster Dori. Not really knowing what "foster" meant, my immediate reaction was, "I know about the Jindo breed, I could probably foster this dog." immediately followed by, "I'm not allowed to have pets. I live in a single bungalow without much room. I'd have to change my daily routine.  I've house-sat for dogs but I don't know anything about being a foster. What if I mess up? I probably won't be able to help." Nevertheless, I responded to the email and later called the contact person listed on the email.  

I won't detail Dori's life before today -- because nothing exemplifies "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" better than dogs -- who always seem to live in the present.  Their behavior may be influenced by human treatment, but animals don't hold a grudge, don't feel sorry for themselves and they don't plot revenge.  They do know how to be loyal, to demonstrate total acceptance of humans no matter how worthy we may or may not be. They can be fearful and untrusting but I believe they're all creatures with undeniable, inestimable worth.  

Dori is nervous but curious and very sweet.  He takes food from my hand very gently, loves to have his neck and behind his ears scratched. He's "hand" shy -- his whole body flinches when I put up my hand to indicate "stay".  We had two walks so far today and he did very well both times. Although he didn't eat breakfast before he made the trip to my place, this afternoon he ate his "Taste of the Wild" kibble enthusiastically (provided by Two Dog Farms).  He is afraid/unsure/wary (?) of the kennel (also provided by Two Dog Farms) so we'll have to work on that.  I don't want to leave him here, on his own, right now.  In a crate he'll be less likely to eat my couch or claw his way through a window in an explosion of canine separation anxiety. With consistent effort on my part, I believe it won't take him long to be balanced and happy.  
The lovely and impressive Pasadena Humane Society
Dori has a second chance through the efforts of real life, terrestrial angels like Rosalind Behenna who runs Two Dog Farms, Inc. Non-Profit Jindo Rescue, a Korean Dog Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming organization. One has only to read my May 20, 2010 post, "The Zen of Mr. BoJindo Sitting" to know that Jindos are very near and dear to my heart. I'm sure that's got a lot to do with my plunging into the unknown of fostering a dog. Step by step, starting with getting my landlord's permission (thank you Victor!), the groundwork was laid through Rosalind, Lorna Campbell at the Pasadena Humane Society and dog trainer Rebecca Setler to get Dori out of harms way and into my foster home care where he can evolve blossom into a self-confident, balanced dog ready for his forever home.  I'll probably make some mistakes along the way -- although I have seriously studied Cesar Millan's "Cesar's Way" which taught me a lot -- especially how to be a good pack leader -- so maybe the mistakes will be less than catastrophic. 
Memorial wall in the Pasadena Humane Society's courtyard 
After a long day, Dori is asleep on the floor right now, dreaming of something that makes his legs move like he's running. I hope it's a good dream and not an escape nightmare. It occurs to me that it might be interesting to make a movie or a computer game based on a dog's dream from the dog's point of view -- or what we humans think is a dog's point of view when they dream -- where every player is the embodiment of a dog having to deal with real canine issues.  Hmmm.  I LIKE it!
Dori scopes out the front yard.
Being able to foster this lovely creature would not have been possible if my landlord had not given me permission.  He's a dog lover and knows I've treated his property with respect for the past 20 years -- as if it belonged to me. I'm just glad I had the determination to ask him. Without his support this dear dog would probably not be alive right now due to overcrowding in the shelter that offered him for adoption and provided a short-term home -- and the world would be a little bit sadder, smaller and miserable.  I know -- how does saving one dog in a world where human beasts slaughter each other and their children make the world better?  I can't save the human beasts but right here, right now, there's the possibility that this dog has something to teach me and other people about being a better human being and I will do my best to help him on the way to a fulfilled doggie life.  

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