Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hardest Decision I Have Ever Made

I had to make a decision this past week that literally shredded me. I have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. I often say that I am perfectly content to just hang out with my cats and Brutus for company. Their love is so unconditional, they have never hurt me, and honestly, throw them a little food and they are there. There is just such a cozy love about an animal.

I have always known that I am not capable of fostering. My heart isn't strong enough, in the sense that I would feel the need to keep every single animal, especially the cats. It wouldn't be good for my current pets, or my family. And quite honestly, I'm not sure that I would have a husband! Don and I differ on our views of how many pets a household needs, and he has been very patient with my love of animals.

So, when I saw little Lily's face on my cousin Janice's animal rescue website P.A.W.S., my heart jumped. It stated that she wasn't a barker, and she was bell trained to go outside to go potty. After rescuing Brutus and going through months and months of training to get him to a point where we could leave him in the house for any period of time if we were gone, I knew that I couldn't go through potty training again, and I'm not tolerant of barking, so if those two biggies weren't an issue, I could certainly give this little sweetie a home. Any other issues that she might have could be dealt with with a lot of love and patience, which Don and I both have in endless supply.

Heading to Her New Home
I picked her up on a Tuesday, and immediately fell in love with her tiny little face. She has a forehead that has wrinkles in it that give her the look of always having an inquisitive expression on her face, and quite honestly, I think it fit what she was probably thinking. This little girl was busy and curious about everything. We had a three hour ride home, and even though I had stopped and walked her twice, she did have an accident in the car, but I didn't think a thing of it. This was a big day for this little girl. It was a new car, a new human and a great big new furry brother riding in the car with her. I might have wet myself too! There wasn't any barking, and I was thrilled!

When we got home, she was just an absolute love. We already had Poochie Bells hanging on the door handles, because we had trained Brutus to be bell trained to go outside to go potty. I took Lily around the house and showed her around, showed her each strand of bells, helped her ring them and took her out each door. It took her no time to ring the front door bells, and my heart just burst. I was so excited. Then I went downstairs, and there were two big piles of poop in the middle of the family room. Well, it's day one, and I wasn't about to hold anything against her yet.

Lily continued to be the love that I knew she was, but the potty training really didn't improve. She was peeing several times a day on the carpet, even though I was taking her outside OFTEN, and for long periods of time. Also, it never seemed to fail, as soon as she came in, she would run to a room and poop. I just couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. I never yelled at her, since I learned before we adopted Brutus that yelling at a dog for having an accident often does more damage than good. If I was lucky enough to actually catch her in the act, I would just scoop her up and take her outside while saying "potty".

For the first two days, our cat Sophie took a real interest in Lily, and they seemed to be getting along pretty good. Then things changed, and Sophie became a great thing to bark and chase. My thought on this one was that Lily became comfortable enough to be her little self. In some ways this made me happy because I was glad that she was acclimating so quickly, and in other ways it broke my heart. I knew that if the cats were becoming prey, or even play toys, this relationship wasn't going to work. Plus, I had some new, deep scratches across the top of my wooden furniture that I wasn't too happy about where Sophie had been running and gone for a skid.

On day three of Lily being with us, I needed to leash her to me. I was hoping that if I leashed her to my side, not only would I prevent her from having "accidents" in the house, but it would also diminish her "leader of the pack" roll, and she may leave the cats alone. Neither worked. In her defense, we were only at it for a few days. Lily was only with us for a week, and that is barely time to say "hello". It takes a really really long time to get a rescue animal trained, or even retrained when they come to be a member of your home. It wasn't my impatience with these issues that was telling me we weren't the right family for Lily, it was my gut. It was screaming at me, and at this point I just didn't know what to do. There was no place for this little punkin to go, and I absolutely will not take an animal to a regular shelter. The thought of her going from our home, where she was loved up bigtime 24/7,  to a cage where she might have a little cot or a blanket, and be surrounded by sad, scared dogs, just wasn't going to happen. With every ounce of shame that I had, I contacted my cousin Janice from P.A.W.S.. and cried for help.

Lily helping me make the bed. :)
I am so thankful that Janice and I have gotten reacquainted through the wonderful invention of social media. We come from an enormous family, and even though we saw each other as children, as adults we had lost touch. Thanks to Face book, we had reconnected. We both love animals, only she can do what I can't! Plus, she has contacts that I don't. Thanks to this lovely lady and her sister Darla, Lily now has a wonderful home with Darla's life long friend Roger. Roger grew up with Beagles, and knows much more about training dogs then I do. He is retired, so Lily doesn't have to be in a crate during the day on a regular basis. When Roger showed up at my door, the man that I opened the door to was soft spoken, had a very gentle and sweet demeanor, and Lily took to him immediately.

We had been outside a lot that morning, and had just come in when Roger arrived. Lily was wound up big time. She practically bowled Roger over! Thankfully she did settle down long enough so he could actually get a look at her, and we had a little bit of a chance to talk about her history, behavior, and what I had observed while I had her. When it came time to go, Lily practically pulled him to his car, and she jumped right in. There was no looking back.

My heart goes out to everyone that has touched Lily's life in a positive way, from Amy, who saved Lily from her terrible situation in the first place, all the way down the line to Roger, who will hopefully be able to carry her through to being a really great little girl. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And Ryan, if you are reading this, please know that if I ever hear any updates about Lily, I will put a little note up here. You are always welcome to check in on my blog to check on your Lily Bear.


1 comment:

  1. oh my sweet. such a tough post to write. i commend you on your honesty and compassion. it's hard to do something like this. but the fact that you did what was best for lily shows just how great of a person you are! ((hugs))