Along for the ride:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A House Divided

We have a new foster dog. Abbey Rose is a Collie/German Shepherd cross who was left in the night drop at the Oakland Humane Society. The accompanying note said she is 9 years old and had been living outdoors for the last 5 years. No explanation as to why she was being left. Collie Rescue have been keeping her on their radar, hoping she would be adopted straight from the shelter.
I received a call on New Years Day that a foster home was needed and Abbey Rose arrived a few hours later. Her name was just plain Abby but we've embellished it a little.
This time, I actually told my husband that we were expecting a dog delivery, before it happened. There was only minor grumbling, which is a huge improvement.
Abbey Rose is a sweet girl. She has house manners and adores people. She is really a shepherd in collie clothing. Her coat is long, sable and white but her big, erect ears, stance and profile are all German Shepherd. It's a bit disorienting, like looking at one of those pictures that changes depending on how it's viewed.
One complicating factor is that she's not as cat-friendly as we hoped. We are down to one cat, as fearless Domino must have gone to have a chat with a coyote one night. (Three cats have gone missing in the immediate neighborhood in less than a month and the pack can be heard yipping as they hunt the canyon and golf course nearby).
Slinkie is much more cautious and suspicious. Abbey has barked and wanted to chase her so we've barricaded the house in half, in order to convince Slinkie not to leave home. Our house is a split-level two storey and the old ferret play-pen unfolds into the perfect barrier across the stairs to the lower level, cat/dog door and garden and across the two steps up to our master bedroom at the same time. McGyvered together at the center banister with a bungee cord, the fence stops the dog from accessing the cat and still allows the cat to creep into our bedroom at night when the dog is sleeping. I've been luring Slinkie in each evening and sliding the solid door into the cat flap to keep her in. We've had a few cartoon-like accidents where Slinkie has planted herself face first into an unyielding surface that she expected to open. It is a life or death situation for both animals so we're doing the best we can under the circumstances.
Abbey Rose has some understandable separation anxiety issues and I am only gradually being allowed to descend to the lower level of the house to use the computer, without her rushing about and crying as soon as I get out of sight. She will now relax if Hubby is with her and this morning I was permitted a brief interlude to check my email with only some quiet background whining from behind the barricade.
Funnily enough, Abbey Rose is much happier in the car. I have had her with me at the office so that Slinkie could relax at home during the day. Abbey comes with me to appointments and doesn't mind waiting in the car until I return. I haven't left her for long and I've been able to see her to make sure all was well. This isn't going to work as soon as the weather warms up but I have hopes that she will find her new home before long and/or that she is going to feel comfortable trusting that I will not abandon her.


  1. Abbey Rose sounds like a beauty, and it breaks my heart to think of her (or any dog) being left to its own devices for all that time all alone in a yard somewhere. I hope she gets a home soon, and bless your little heart for taking care of her in the meantime.
    Slinkie sounds as if she's cautiously SMRT!

  2. Sad news about Domino! Oh dear. Glad you are here to help with Abby Rose. Its a sad thing to be dumped at the shelter in the night. But I suppose it has to be better than dumping elsewhere - at least the person knew she would be taken care of.

    The separation anxiety is also a shame. I hate to think of a dog at 9, feeling so worried and anxious that they will be abandoned. Poor AR must be so confused about whats happening. Well, hopefully this is where her life turns around, and will start a whole new loving adventure.

  3. June, I'll post a picture when I get one taken.She is a pretty girl.

    Joanna, Yes, Domino's departure was depressing and a wake-up call. The wild world overlaps with ours in the night hours.
    My guess about the prior owners of Abbey Rose is that they had some unavoidable change in circumstances and were too sad to hand her over in person.
    We're working on an acceptable routine for all of the players here.

  4. Awww... bless. I'm glad Abbey Rose has a loving holiday home with you, for now.
    I'm happy that she will be able to build trust with your family, something that's probably been missing for years and was made so much worse by just being 'dumped'. Bad for any dog, of course, but especially Alsatians.
    I think the only breed that would suffer more would be Border Collies. But cruel regardless of the breed.

    All animals have feelings and make attachments. How callous and heartless to just discard them when it becomes 'inconvenient'.

    You know the fate of some poor dogs here in France: destined to live forever tied to a bit of rope or chain, always outside regardless of the weather. I always try to play with some tied up like that in this area and they just fall over me in appreciation. I can always go home and wash my smelly hands afterwards.

    I do hope Domino shows up again.

    Bisouxxx Kitty

  5. So sorry about Domino...that's why my cats do not go outside at all. Not sure what predators we have around here other than the cars, but I've had my heart broken too many times.

    Poor Abby. Nine years old is kind of late to be abandoned. You'd have to think she had a long term home. Must be hard for her to adjust. But knowing your magic touch with fostering animals, I have no doubt you will rehab her just fine.

    Here's hoping AR gets a loving, forever home soon.

    I'm sure Slinkie agrees 100% with that sentiment. *S*

  6. Kitty, I remember when they were called Alsatians. They do have a reputation as one-person dogs. Abbey Rose shows her collie genes by loving everyone. We have to work on her socialization skills when meeting other dogs.

    Jean, Slinkie is pretty horrified and offended. I'd love to know Abbey's story. She is so thrilled to be indoors, with people, I think it makes up for a lot. She has had some training sit, stay, lie down. Someone in her past spent time with her, although in a dominant way I suspect. It's odd that she only lived outdoors for half her life. Did someone die? Did they get a new puppy? Has she changed homes before? We'll never know.

  7. I think Abbey Rose may be one of the luckiest dogs in the world, to have chanced into such a caring foster home with an understanding human to help her. I hope she can adapt and grow still, learning to trust again. Perhaps her foster home will turn out to be a long term foster home, sounds like she's off to a good start at any rate. Best wishes to both of you and to Abbey and Slinkie.

  8. Owen, Thanks. As usual, we need all the helpful wishes we can gather. Ms. A. Rose is not as polite as one might wish when encountering other canines. (Note English art of understatement at work here). This becomes a limiting factor regarding potential homes. I have the feeling I have another long term rehab case on my hands.

  9. Poor Abbey Rose - but thank God she found her way to you guys. I can't think of anybody better to help her heal. (No pun intended).

  10. Are you fostering? Or is this an adoption? Inquiring minds would like to know.

    Glad Abbey Rose, although with the car angle it might just become Abbey Roads, has found a soft place to land. I bet someone misses her a lot.

  11. We have one dog (Irish Terrier) called Archie, and one cat (Brian). At best there is an uneasy truce, at worst there are serious skirmishes at the boarders of each room, or at the entrance to the shared extra large cat flap! God only knows what we would do if we had a Coyote problem as well. Call in the 'A' team perhaps?

  12. Abbey Rose , like all the animals you take under your wing , is very lucky .
    With affection and security she'll blossom !

  13. We have coyotes here as well but seem to have enough small wild animals around our healthy cats are ok but I imagine as they age we'll have to change their routine to keep them safe.

    Odd AR is comfortable being left in the car. You just have to wonder what goes through their heads. I hope she gets a placement soon so her life can settle into normal asap.

  14. You are just so immensely kind, both of you.
    If it weren't for people like you and hubby there'd be a lot more animals put down unnecessarily.

    I hope Abby settles in well and doesn't cause Slinky to leave home.

  15. Friends of ours adopted a retriever that had ben abandoned in Taiwan. They heard about it through their pet protection friends and it was duly shipped over. It's a beauty. Abbey is a lucky dog and she probably knows that too.

  16. Making room in your home and family for dogs that need temporary homes is sort of like when I grew up in foster homes. In some ways I know how Abbey Rose feels. Give her a hug from me.

  17. Steve, your words are always well chosen, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    Ms. Pliers, just a foster. I did upgrade her name to resemble Abbey Road (Beatles) to make her stand out to a potential adopter. It's a coincidence that she is A. Rose as well.

    Kipling, I saw the photos of your dog. He's a great character. I hope he and your cat can work a truce.

  18. S&S, that sort of applies to all of us, doesn't it?

    Rainbow, This year there is a lot more coyote activity. We had a cool, wet year last year and I think they have done too well.

    Friko, Even if we only help one at a time, it means the world to that one.

    Legend, that's a huge effort to go to with all the dogs closer to home but good for them, anyway.

    TechnoBabe, I have considered fostering young humans. I decided the fact that my husband doesn't speak English was one trauma too many. Who knows what the future holds? Maybe I can still.

  19. I am looking forward to the photos, GSDs are my childhood favorite breed.

  20. Wiola, It will be hard to capture her double identity. We'll see what I can come up with.

  21. Bless you for looking after Abby Rose. Watched and episode of the Dog Whisperer earlier this evening and it dawned on me how precious it is that there are people taking good care of dogs from all 'walks' in life. You are doing what you have to do, and making a great effort for the peace and well being of your pets. Good for you!!

  22. Wife of Machinist, Thank you. It would be easier if my efforts at keeping everyone happy did not include multiple night time forays to settle anxious animals, followed by early morning duties. Yawn! Who needs sleep?

  23. How kind of you to give of yourself this way. Abby Rose - such a sweet name.

  24. Jobhunter, the animals give so much back. it's a fair trade.

  25. Once again, I am so touched by your kindness...even to the point of jazzing up her name. (Our rescued Old English Sheepdog is named Abby, and we think her first of three homes must have called her Abigail.) You are being so careful to not hurt her feelings, and to also keep Slinkie safely at home. I am so depressed thinking of the fate of the cats who have been lost in the night. It's a horrible end. I'm going to keep best thoughts for both cat and dog (and for you balancing the show).

  26. Lydia, There is a potential adopter in the works. They are interviewing a golden retriever first so they may fall in love before they even meet Abbey. I should know soon.