Previously: The Foster Chronicles: ‘Nita, Week 1
We walk 4 miles. Everybody’s hot and tired by the end because it’s 64 degrees and sunny. Everybody’s thirsty and gets a drink of water when we get home. Everybody’s loosey-goosey from the exercise and fresh air.
‘Nita’s on the deck. I nonchalantly invite Violet outside—no big. ‘Nita’s ecstatic; Violet tenses immediately. I walk around the yard and say encouraging words. When ‘Nita approaches Violet, Violet arfs at her. ‘Nita throws her own neck to the ground. Whew!
‘Nita takes a lap around the yard and greets Violet again. Violet arfs again. ‘Nita submits again. Good… but Violet’s hackles are still up.
One more shuttle run from ‘Nita then another attempt to play with Violet. Violet arfs. ‘Nita decides she’s had enough of Violet’s shit and arfs back. They have words.
This doesn’t mean the same thing will happen with Redford.
This doesn’t mean ‘Nita and Violet will never get along.
Doesn’t mean I’ll have to crate and rotate them for the entire foster period.
Doesn’t mean that I fucked up taking in another foster dog.
That I’m bad at fostering.
That I’m incompetent.
So fucking stupid.
This doesn’t mean any of those things.
Except it does right now. In my mind, it means all those things right now.
I think about all the things I’m going to have to do to fix this situation, and the most important, clearly, is getting help. I will need help from people who know about these things.
And I always kind of knew it in the back of my mind, but on our walk, it hits me like a bolt from the blue that my dogs are the problem. They need work. Last week, Violet was undeniably jealous. A couple times, I came out of the spare bedroom after a snuggle session with ‘Nita to find a piece of installation art like this—
It’s not like she can use her words.
And when I introduced them, Violet was so tense. Threatened, she looked threatened. She’s threatened. I need someone to teach me how to teach her not to be threatened.
‘Nita still won’t get in her crate. I get a treat and tell her to come with me. She wags and runs into the spare bedroom and jumps on the couch. Then she looks at me and raises her eyebrows like, “What if I just stayed here instead? Good idea, right?”
It’s really cute. But I tell her no, not a good idea, and once I lead her to the crate, she walks in; I no longer have to wheel barrow her.
We do a measly mile before I head off to the gym. I vow to take them on another walk after my workout, but Monday’s weather was a lie—it’s now cold, and dark. We opt for snuggling instead.
To make up for my broken promise to them yesterday, I put on two pairs of pants, a thermal shirt, and a hoodie and take the kids on the 4-mile route. The wintry mix begins to come down 1/3 of the way in. We all get soaked through.
As we cross Roxboro, ‘Nita gets agitated (FOUR LANES OF VROOM-SQUIRRELS!) and nips at Redford’s jowls. He air-nips back. Fortunately, that’s the end of it. He doesn’t even look that perturbed.
I rub the dogs down with a towel at home. The fabric at the crooks of my elbows is frozen, and the dogs’ tails are coated with ice.
I rotate the dogs for snuggling purposes. They are very warm.
‘Nita and I go to Phydeaux Raleigh for her first adoption event. SHE IS SO EXCITED. She meets several other fosters, including Layla who is a puppyyyyyyyyy aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! She wrestles with Layla and then gets testy when other dogs come near her puppy. Overall, there are a handful too many stimuli for ‘Nita, and she has to have several time-outs for using her outside voice in the store.
I’m having major déjà vu. I tried to get a different dog from Tulip. I asked for a different dog from Tulip. But I think I got Tulip again.
Back when I lived in New York, I used to see this therapist. Susie. She was great. Tall, blond, late 40s. Voice like Stevie Nicks. Always wore Asian-inspired clothing and gave big hugs at the beginning and end of every session. In the waiting area, she had posted a list of Big Truths. I can’t remember all of them, but the first two stick in my mind after all these years:
(1) You’re here to learn lessons, which the Universe will present to you.
(2) The Universe will keep presenting a lesson to you until you’ve learned it.
And it’s true. I didn’t learn the lesson of how to get Tulip to integrate with my dogs, and I didn’t learn the lesson of how to get her to chill out at adoption events.
But ‘Nita got a Valentine’s Day collar.
And the president of CCB says a woman who previously adopted from the organization has already been asking about adopting ‘Nita.
And like Tulip
I make ‘Nita a Facebook page in the morning. Be evening, she already has 60 friends.