Tuesday, August 9, 2011

a new foster for sonny

Sonny went to his new foster home this weekend.  He had been back home with me for a total of 17 days and he was doing really, really well.  Of course that made this whole thing more difficult for me.

Sonny was still nervous with Rob, but had begun playing in the same room as Rob, as long as Rob was sitting still.  Previously, he wouldn't even come out of his crate if Rob was in the same room as him.  Sonny was also going out of his way to venture into the second bedroom (where the computers are) when Rob was there.  He was doing some "drive-bys," where he would run in, sniff a little, and run back out.  He would do this several times in a row before going back to relax in the Papasan chair in the living room.

Sonny and Sugar were also becoming fast friends.  Sugar and Buster were doing a lot of interactive play with toys, instead of just wrestling, and Sonny was always trying to get involved.  I actually think that is part of what helped him make the leap towards tugging -- he was watching Sugar and Buster play tug together, and then participating in their game.  I would grab the tug toy while they were playing, and tug with him a little before letting go and wandering away, to let him take in what had just happened.  Soon after, he began bringing me the rope toy and attempting to tug with me.  It was pure bliss for me.

Anyway, when we were told Sonny was being returned, it was never in the cards for him to come back to my house.  We had our two dogs and one foster, and that was sort of our limit.  In addition to that, we have several weekend and week-long trips coming up in the next six months. We typically bring the dogs with us on short trips, and leave the dogs with a dog sitter on the longer trips.  So, every planned trip would be a huge stressor for Sonny with the potential to set him back pretty far.  Leaving him with random people each time we went away would be traumatizing for him.  Attempting to take him with us on short trips would be equally traumatizing because there is no way to avoid his two biggest triggers:  people and changes in his environment.  So, the goal was to find Sonny a foster that could take him long term at the moment of his return.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The situation became unsafe, and poor Sonny was panic-stricken, so I went and got him less than 12 hours after I was told his adoptive family wasn't keeping him.

I knew when I got him in my car that he wouldn't be staying for long. And I knew when he walked in my house and went from frozen-stiff and terrified to the wiggly, happy little boy I remembered, that he wouldn't be staying. And I knew every morning, when I got up and was greeted with his speeding tail, thump-thump-thumping on his crate, that he wouldn't be staying.  And I knew every evening, when I came home and he jumped up on the couch to snuggle me and kiss me, that he wouldn't be staying.

But none of that made it any easier to send him off to his new foster home this weekend.


  1. Is it normal that I sit here at my computer in tears after reading this? I am not as strong as a person as you are, that's for sure (well not in the area of dogs anyway). I cannot help but "side with Sonny" (and I mean that in an endearing way), because of my Pip. Just knowing the fear...and of course I humanize it A LOT more than I should, I wouldn't have it in me to let him go. I want you to know that if I were able to, I would adopt Sonny in a heartbeat. I really would. <3


  2. Everything is a small step towards his final recovery and you helped him by walking beside him for many of those. At some point, as a foster, we have to let them take a few more steps, and even leaps, on their own.

    It doesn't make it any easier to take though. Congrats to Sonny on his next adventure and kudos to you for all your patience and spent love.

  3. Thank you guys! This was definitely one of the hardest things I've had to do, but I know it's for the best and can really only help him grow. He has so much potential, and I'm just happy I was able to help get him some of the way there.

    If it was feasible, I don't think I would have let him go at all... I still can't believe he's the same dog he was when he came crawling out of his run while peeing from fear...

    I love this dog. I mean, really, I love them all, but for different reasons. Him I love especially for trusting me just enough to learn that people aren't all bad.