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  • August 29th, 2008 | 1:38 PM
Friday Five - dogs again

I've been trying to write this post all week but it's been hard.

So here are my five dogs things first, and then the story.

#1  We met a dog named Cullen.
#2  We agreed to foster Cullen.
#3  Cullen came to our house.
#4  Cullen and Cassie played wonderfully well and never a cross word between them.
#5  Cullen moved on to another foster home.

Recently we met a dog named Cullen.

He had been found on the streets in Monterey, picked up and taken to the pound and pulled from the pound by the wonderful Bob at the Northern California German Shepherd Rescue group. We met Bob and Cullen at a local park and Cassie and Cullen seemed to get along just fine. They walked nicely together, sniffed a lot, played a bit. Cullen was still a little stressed (panting/drooling) from his trip to the pound but was a real love bucket. He was about the same age as Cassie and a total goofball, all arms and legs without a lot of control.

We went home to talk about it. Then last Saturday we went to the adoption fair to take Cassie to see her amazing foster mom PJ. We also wanted to meet Shane, PJ's current foster. Shane was a beautiful sweet boy but my heart had already been stolen by Cullen. He was a living, breathing teddy bear and I could already see him as my therapy dog.

So we agreed to foster him which would give us a week to decide if we wanted to adopt him. Bob dropped him off at our house that afternoon.

There was a bit of excitement right off the bat because the dogs were being dogs and chasing one another and we hadn't removed everything from their path. My fault and no one was hurt and my wonderful husband cleaned up all the broken glass.

This is Cullen.

He quickly found where all the air vents were in the house. He especially liked the one in the kitchen so he could stay cool but keep an eye out for food that magically fell from the sky.

He also found Cassie's bed.

But she didn't seem to mind too much.

It took a bit to tire him out but he finally crashed. Cassie is laying just a few feet away from him.


It really was a case of wherever one went, the other would follow, exactly the kind of doggy friendship one would hope for. Really, the two of them were great, walking side by side, sharing and swapping bones. Cassie couldn't quite figure out what Cullen was doing when he launched himself into the small wading pool and laid down in it but she was very happy to have him to chase around.


Alas, while the dogs were fine it was too much for me. Cullen had no house manners yet (major counter surfing, broken dishes, etc) and was on and off the furniture. I have no doubt that a few months of training is going to turn him into the perfect dog for someone, but that someone is not me.

I thought back to when I was much younger, in my twenties with babies in diapers and 4-5 big dogs living in the house, a house much smaller than this one. I don't recall it being so intense, where I wasn't able to relax a minute. But then I've gone through a lot in the past years so I guess I just can't do it anymore. Or maybe later, down the road, when life settles down some.

I should have posted this yesterday, I meant to, if only to be able to give thanks once again to the Northern California German Shepherd Rescue group. First for bringing sweet Cullen out of the pound and second to finding another foster family to take him in when it became apparent that I was unable to keep him. A special thank you to PJ who not only helped me hold it together over the phone but gave up her Sunday to drive over the hill and pick him up.

Cullen, I know you'll find a forever home soon. I'm sorry it couldn't be ours.
(Tags: )
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 15 comments — Leave comment )
August 29th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
I hope he does too. What a beautiful boy!
August 29th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
He was/is a beauty albeit a bit like "baby Huey". More glass was broken in those 24 hours than in the last year and a half since we moved in. Sigh.
August 29th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
I am putting off, putting off, putting off getting a dog. I guess I'm just hoping the "perfect" one, ie fully trained, best temperament, no bad habits, haha, miraculously falls into my lap.

It hurts to give back a dog, even after a just a few days. One reason I could never, ever take in foster kids!
August 29th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Oh it hurt soooo bad.

He loved me. He loved EVERYONE. But he loved with a bull in a china shop way that I couldn't handle.

Cassie is almost the perfect dog. I'm off today and my husband has been gone all day. She doesn't love all over me all the time like Cullen but she is a sweetie and smart and doesn't counter surf or jump on the furniture. The few bad habits she has, jumping up and demand barking, are easy to work on.
(Deleted comment)
August 29th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
I know he won't have any trouble finding a home. I just feel crummy about the whole thing but grateful for the rescue group at the same time.

I NEEDED that sort of dog, one that couldn't get enough of me, but not now I guess.
August 29th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
It's sad, but that's what fostering is -- learning if it can be right for everyone, including, very importantly, you. Sounds like everyone was wonderful, so there's that to be thankful for, as you are. Right time, right place, those will come. Hugs to you.
August 30th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, I am very thankful that there was an alternate solution to it all.
(Deleted comment)
August 30th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! I feel so much better hearing your story. Thank you for sharing it. Yes, exhausting and the kind of exhausting that doesn't balance with joy.

I do wonder if next year I might be able to handle a puppy. Gulp.

A male puppy.

A dog that wants me.

Trouble is, I need some dog loving now and Cassie, even though I'm awake and DH is asleep she has pushed the door open three times to go sleep on the floor next to him.

I will not cry about it anymore. I hope.
(Deleted comment)
August 30th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
YES!!! That's it! I knew just what to do with Cullen. I'm a dog person. I knew what he needed, just a few rules and some reinforcement. But he needed time and I didn't have it. I realized if I got laid off while I wouldn't be getting up at 5am I would have to find a way to make SOME money and then he would continue to have problems because I wouldn't have the time with him.

And I would miss all those cute growing up moments with Cassie. The next day I spent hours just watching her. We have to teach her how to play and she is learning. Each time the light bulb goes on for her it is wonderful to see.

And yeah, my guy is a magnet for her and other dogs. He has this wonderful always ALWAYS calm energy. I'm an emotional basket case so I probably will have a hard time finding a dog that wants to be with me through those emotional ups and downs.

You're right too, that just because I could have won the battle doesn't mean it was mine to fight.

And LOL on the picture in my head of the puppy raised by little children. Thank you, again.

Man, our dogs can make us feel as guilty as our kids, who knew?
(Deleted comment)
August 30th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
Yes, that guilt thing is the pits. I already have self-esteem issues and now I have added this giant doggy guilt too. Argh! But the fostering was the way to go. I'd do a cat in a heartbeat if I thought I could deal with it jumping into all the high places we have in this house...but I don't think I could. Well, that and the litterbox.
August 30th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
Susan, I kept thinking about you and the dogs after I went to bed last night. And it left me wanting to remind you that it is very normal and very healthy to dislike having broken glass all around your house. You did the right thing.
August 30th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for saying this, about the broken glass. No one else did and I was feeling very superficial about it. I know it was only a matter of time before he would start to chew on our antiques too.
August 30th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
It's always best to trust your instincts with a pet, and you did right away. Cullen's on his way to a forever home and you gave him a wonderful start.
August 30th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I don't trust my instincts very well or often but this just didn't seem like a happy ending in the making for me.
August 31st, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
I'm sorry Susan.
I understand with animals having to leave after connecting with them.
Take care.
( 15 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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