I was going through old pictures the other day and stumbled on a bunch from Cindy’s first few days with us.
As we were getting ready to send Cindy (whose new name is Nellie) to her forever home, Marty kept telling me what a good foster mom I had been, saying that Cindy had come a long way and it was because of my care. I brushed him off; in my mind, Cindy had been easy from the start. She was a sweet, sweet dog who had minimal needs – just a couch, food and a hand to pet her (and not stop!).
But in looking through the pictures, I realized Cindy did come a long way in the six months we had her (although I maintain that given her background, she obviously had an inherently sweet disposition and was a fighter. No dog who isn’t innately sweet and strong would come out of that situation as well as she did, no matter what care they receive after escaping a puppy mill).
It really didn’t take long to see her personality start to shine through but physically it was a long (and not-so-pretty) road.
Some diligent cleaning, filtered drinking water and quality food quickly erased those tear-stained wrinkles.
She also had a leaky private area. For the first month-plus, we had to keep her in the cage when we were gone in part because she leaked goo all over the place; I should have bought stock in baby wipes during that time! I still have a stain in the trunk of my car from her drips. The cause wasn’t anything serious, most likely an infection or remnants from her final litter and she was treated with antibiotics, so I really didn’t think twice about wiping her; Marty told me not everyone would “wipe a dog’s hoo-hah” but it was simply what had to be done.
Cindy also had dry eye so she accumulated some impressive eye gunk that had to be cleaned out several times a day, even with the eye drops she was given.
I don’t write all of this to pat myself on the back – not at all. There are many, many people who do more than I did with Cindy. It just occurred to me that in the midst of caring for Cindy I really didn’t think about what I was doing. I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t want to do whatever needed to be done for this face:
It’s funny the things we remember and the things we block out; to be honest, I had completely forgotten about Cindy’s leaking until Marty had mentioned it. Knowing the type of environment from which she came, though, it was impossible for me to deny her anything, from attention to care, no matter what that care entailed.
I don’t think I ever once got frustrated with her, even when she wouldn’t eat out of a bowl or leaked in my car, and that’s saying a lot. Patience is not a trait I possess but I found myself incapable of getting frustrated with Cindy. It’s one of the reasons, I think, that I’d be willing to foster again down the road. Besides the obvious saving of a dog’s life, it teaches me patience and I know I get as much out of fostering as the dog does.