Marley, the story of a failed foster.
We don’t know what horrors she suffered beyond the story of her arrival to the humane society as she was not a puppy. Although her arrival there was violent and left her dead inside, that was where her new life was looking for her. Broken, empty and waiting to die, curled up in a kennel hidden from the world, she was found. Found by someone that knew even if her damage was irreversible she deserved to feel love before she left this world. She was rescued.
She started to know love and trust again in a home. While this home loved her dearly and worked to help, ultimately and unintentionally caused more and different damage to her. She was attacked by the other larger dogs in the house on multiple occasions. Leaving her with new scars several layers deep. Shattering the already frail spirit this little girl had. She was removed from that home to heal in the hospital. Homeless again, kenneled again. She was cared for by a loving team tending her wounds but she needed to go home.
That’s how she entered our lives. I was asked, nearly begged to take her home to foster her. I was very reluctant, as we had a young Pitbull I was focusing my energies on to make him the best possible. We just moved into a new home and knowing her issues, she was not a straight forward case. She needed a lot of work, a gentle but firm hand. A leader and if to be with another dog, a stable dog. She also needed the right kind of man in her life. Since that’s what broke her in the beginning. We decided, based on her introduction to our existing family that we would foster her. Knowing that she had to go to a very specific home, we were in for a long haul. My husband knowing he had to earn her trust, which was emotionally challenging for him.
I brought her home, through the gate into the backyard. I had my husband let out our dog for them to greet again outside the house. They met well and went about their business. She ignored and avoided my husband, and I saw him saddened by it, this was his first time meeting her and he instantly knew just how much work we had ahead. He very much wants to connect to the animals in our house and she had no interest.
We watched her grow and change. We suffered setbacks and questioned what we were doing. She developed a trust with our dog that we didn’t expect. She treated the cats as her family. She started to connect to the world again. She developed a relationship with my husband, our friends and visitors. She got over her food guarding, she built confidence. She slowly overcame her obsessive behaviors and was able to harness a calmer state of mind.
The largest hurdle for her was her separation and crate anxiety. There were great strides made in crate training, then one day there was a catastrophic failure. To this day we will never know what set her off. Maybe someone came to the door, maybe there was a cat fight. We don’t know. That day we decided that the crate was no more. I have always been reluctant to leave two Bullies out together, home alone, up to their own devices. But we took another chance on her growth. She has developed a strong relationship with our dog, she had proven she could be left home alone outside of a crate and she seemed calmer when we returned. So we left her and Logan together. Slowly increasing the amount of time they were alone. Every time coming home to two happy wagging dogs. This pair was meant to be. Logan challenges her just enough to build her confidence in interacting with another dog. He respects her communications. He gives her space when she needs, but he also give her affection. I truly believe he is the reason she has come so far. He shows her how to interact with the world. His positive excitement for people and adventure shows her it’s ok and not to be afraid.
So here we stand 10 months later, several applicants but none quiet right. Coming to the realization that there are none to be found, as we were what she needed. We weren’t exactly ready to accept another dog into the family as to us it’s like having a second child. It’s not a decision to be made lightly, it’s for life. Looking at our family and life there was no reason to turn our backs on her but instead to welcome her in with open arms. We talked about another dog in our future, but it made no sense to get rid of one that fits so well to get another that we would have to start over with. She belongs here. With us. No more changes for her, nothing more to worry about. She’s home. We may not be able to afford all the luxuries in life, but we can give what she needed and that was to be whole. Built up with love and praise. Guided with confidence and shown that she is part of a pack with a place and purpose in life. Welcome home Marley. Thank you for trusting us and allowing us to grow with you.