Monday, July 11, 2016

Fostering Dark Night of the Soul

OK, maybe that's being a little melodramatic. But I got your attention, and that's exactly what I need right now. 

I need help. I am tortured by the fact that when I got Marshal last fall, he was a shy, but happy, silly playful little man who immediately fell in with Fozzie and Dahlia and seemed happy here. 

And then was adopted by a family who said they would never bring a dog back to the shelter, who then not only brought him back to the shelter but said things about him that brought about the dreaded label "unadoptable," which meant he came this close to death. 

And that the shelter, who knew him well and knew me well, chose to take the adopter's word over everything they and I knew about Marshal--even though the adopter afterward strenuously denied saying that Marshal had an aggressive bone in his body. 

And that now, having been through the repeated trauma of abandonment by people he trusted, and going back to the shelter, and perhaps knowing somewhere in his being how close he came to having his life extinguished, he is no longer the happy, silly carefree man, but a man who cannot go on walks with my dogs because he reacts to badly to dogs or people that he snaps anything nearby. 

And a little man who once played and humped and wrestled and was so happy with my Fozzie, has now gotten into several fights with him so bad that he has scars that will forever give him that look you never want your adoptable pit bull to have in his profile shots. 

The last fight was while I was away in Texas, so maybe the dogs were unusually stressed out. In the days since, Marshal and Fozzie are slowly getting more relaxed, less tense around each other, more joyful and playful overall, though not directly with each other.  

But I can't foresee leaving them with anyone else again, so the rest of our summer contains no dog-free vacations. 

I get stressed out thinking of leaving them, and thinking of traveling with all 3 of them. I can't walk all of them together, so I was doing 4 walks some days instead of 2...although Marshal doesn't even want to go on walks anymore, so that lets me off the hook.

I love my little Marshal, love watching him gradually open up and be more affectionate with me and especially with Florian, and love how he and Dahlia are such sweet companions. I love watching his process and thinking about how to help him overcome his shyness, and imagining the dog he can become. I love when he lets me cuddle him, and how he takes comfort in being very physical and close. 

But it is stressful to have 3 dogs whose dynamic is tense, and stressful to know I can't travel. So I've listed Marshal online and looking for a home or a sanctuary for him. 

I know I can find a wonderful adopter, who has a quiet home and another playful dog, and knows how to work with a shy dog, and lives in a place where the dogs can play and have fun and be stress-free. 

I know Marshal can be more happy in a home where there's no tension with the other dog, and I know there are saintly adopters like I found for Lars and Star--two other challenging dogs who found very happy endings. 

This is a tough experience, as I fear for the welfare of a beloved little creature that I believe in, but whom others have abandoned. But I'm going to keep believing in Marshal and working to manifest that perfect home for him. 

Could it be YOURS?


  1. I am so sorry you are going through this. I am sure it is extremely difficult. There is certainly no excuse what so ever for the adopter turning Marshal into a kill shelter it is absolutely despicable and I cant imagine it. I don't know how old Marshal is but is it possible that some of this is age related. I say this based on my experience with my English Bulldog Bob. Bob was a very happy playful dog who got along well with others until he was about 14 months. He had been very well socialized and had experiened all positive training so there was no trauma that I can think off. All of a sudden he became very fearful and was aggresive to strange dogs and did not like being approached by strange people. He even started getting a bit aggresive at home and got in a fight with our pug Ping, very dangerous because he was 60 lbs and she was 15. My husband was bitten breaking up the fight. We contacted a behaviorist and read books and did training at home, this was all about 8 years ago. Anyway we worked it out so that Bob gets along very well with his siblings and can have any dog come into the home, intrestingly his bad behaviors are never in our house they are off our property on walks etc. He also always eats seperately from the others. Bob is 9 now and does fine in our house but he is still fearful and very dog aggresive on walks. I have to stop people from petting him and we never bring him to events or any place crowded. I sympathize with you about traveling because we cant leave Bob with anyone else as I know hed be nervous and have issues. There are no other people he is comfortable with. Plus Bob seems fine 99% of the time which I think lures people into a false sense of security. I just dont trust anyone else to watch him. I know its tough and Im constantly wondering what happened to cause this. Both the behaviorist I consulted and my vet think it was nothing I did and is just Bob's personality and said this chang e can sometimes occur arund 14-18 months Anyway I totally get where you are coming from

  2. He blossoms with love and apparently that was lacking in his not-so-forever home. I hope you find the perfect place for Marshall.
    Love Noodles

  3. How heartbreaking. Good luck finding him his forever home.

    Monty, Harlow and Ramble

  4. Gosh that's a tough one. Something happened to him at the other home that changed him. That combined with the another stay at the shelter didn't help. You need to do what is best for your other kids and your household. If you can find that idea home and person to forever house Marshal, then great. The trick will be finding that environment. Until then, you need to keep him and try to rehab him as best you can because everyone depends on getting along and reducing the level of tension. My brother Owen has mixed it up with my sheltie brother and sister and sometimes with me, but we've kept Owen b/c we love him and he's pretty good 97% of the time. Outside dogs.....we're still working with Owen on that. But we're working with him on that and yes we're going to keep our little soldier boy

  5. Not to be a butthole (I read your latest post first) but I do hope the shelter puts the people that returned him on the do not adopt list. It sounds to me like something went seriously wrong in that situation.

  6. And indeed, I’m just always astounded concerning the remarkable things served by you. Some 4 facts on this page are undeniably the most effective I’ve had.
    Henderson Dog Training


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.