and in the blink of an eye . . .

. . . he was adopted! It all happened so fast, our heads are still spinning. There is one thing that is clear, though: TANK and his new daddy are meant to be. Let me explain.

Before TANK came into our home, he had been living at doggie daycare for a few weeks, playing with his friends. He caught the eye of an employee, who thought TANK would be the perfect companion for his good buddy, D.  But D had recently had to put his dog — a 10 year old Cane Corso — down due to cancer, and wasn’t sure if he was ready for a new friend just yet. So D never came to meet TANK at doggy daycare.

Fast forward a few weeks. We are headed out of town for the weekend, and need somebody to take TANK for the weekend. The rescue group that we worked with for him, Lucky Dog, arranges weekend fosters, but sometimes has a harder time finding a placement for pit bulls because of the all-too-common breed bans in apartments. The day before we left, a plea goes out to all volunteers — including those who work at the doggy daycare where TANK had lived — for a weekend foster for TANK. And wouldn’t you know? TANK’s daycare buddy passed the opportunity along to D. We imagine that he pitched it as a no-strings-attached way to test out TANK and see if he felt ready to adopt.

We didn’t know it at the moment, but by time we showed up at D’s house with TANK, D had pumped himself up. One look at TANK, bumbling lazily down the street with me, and D was in love. He shook my hand, looked at TANK, and said (of the muscular, 65-pound, giant-headed, lion of a pit bull by my side) “He’s not that big!” and patted him affectionately on the side. He bashfully told us he was thinking about applying to adopt him, and would let us know. Foster dad and I maintained our professional faces, but silently cheered. A few hours later I emailed to check in, and D admitted he was “very interested” and that TANK was “already making himself at home.” So the next morning we made our way into the mountains for a short backpacking trip, and TANK and D made their way into each other’s hearts. By the time we returned from our trip, it was a done deal. They were in love.

Selfishly, we are a little sad about how quickly it all happened and that we didn’t have more time to get to know our big marshmallow TANK, but we couldn’t be more thrilled for TANK and his new daddy D.

Here is a little note we got yesterday from D:

“When Tank first came into the house, he immediately grabbed a slipper, and enjoyed me chasing him around to retrieve my footwear. Eventually the chase ended, and I was able to relax on the couch. While I was laying there, Tank jumped up on the couch, plopped himself down on my chest, and went to sleep. Aside from trying to chew on my shoes, he is a good-natured dog. He doesn’t bark at all, enjoys being around people, and likes other dogs. When we’re sleeping on my bed during the night, he insists on snuggling up to me as close as possible, which should come in handy when it gets colder again.  Before I met you and Tank, I was close to adopting another dog from a different group. It’s amazing how things turned out, and I could not be happier.”

If we’d had the time to write about all of the endearing things about him, each of you would have fallen in love with him too. For example, we didn’t get to tell you about how TANK is not only part lion, but also part hippo:

And how he was absolutely terrified the first time I took him down to our neighborhood creek, insisting on climbing the boulders among the water so he didn’t have to put his paws in:

And how he could quietly lay for what seemed like hours and chew on a nylabone:

And how he is so wiggly that it’s hard for him to keep still, but when you invite him into your lap, he will lay patiently forever while you pet him:

TANK passed through our home in the blink of an eye, but we will always have him in our hearts. His oversized, oafish, gentle self is the perfect example of what a big, soft baby a pit bull can be, and we’ll be forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him. And we’ll be forever cleaning the happy, dancing ribbons of drool that he left on the walls.

Weekend Getaway

We took advantage of the long weekend and Lucky Dog’s brilliant weekend foster program to send TANK off to spend the weekend with a wonderful guy who was willing to take care of him for a few days, while we headed for the mountains with Chick. We love backpacking, and considering how lazy TANK has proven to be outdoors, we didn’t think he would make much of a trooper. The three of us packed up and headed out to the beautiful George Washington National Forest in Virginia.

Chick loves backpacking because of all of the sounds and smells of the forest. Plus, he adores showing off his very own backpacking gear, in which he carries his food, water, toys, and poop bags. People are always amazed at how cute and self-sufficient he is in his pack.

He also loves backpacking because it gives him many, many opportunities to roll around in the mud. He takes each one of these opportunities.

When we finally get to camp after hours of trekking in the hills, Chick is thoroughly and satisfyingly zonked out, and loves nothing more than to snuggle up in our sleeping bags for a big nap. As a bonus, the sleeping bags protect him from the tiny biting flies that are his absolute most hated thing in the whole universe!

TANK also got to have a big adventure this weekend, though it was not in the wilderness like ours. In fact, he gets more wilderness at the creek in our very own neighborhood than he did over the weekend, which he spent in the city with a special friend.

Stay tuned tomorrow, when we will tell you about TANK’s big weekend!

Happiness

For dogs who have recently been homeless, I think happiness is as simple as being snuggled in to a friendly, stable home where you are fed, doted on, and given a soft place to sleep. We have been lucky in this aspect with our fosters so far; all of them have settled in fairly quickly, deciding in just a few days that they feel safe and comfortable, and that they do in fact like us. It took Lollie about a week, and Gonzo was nearly instant.

TANK, our newest little marshmallow of a foster, is in the running for second fastest of a very fast group. He has been with us five days and already, he follows us wherever we go, gazes at us with love desparation while we’re cooking, and loves wiggling his way into our laps to cuddle lick us until we’re covered in slobber.

And we’re seeing more and more of his winning, winning smile (which may or may not be related to the recent heat wave).

TANK’s ancestry comes to light

We have made a critical and shocking discovery about TANK’s lineage. It appears that he is part lion. He is so liony that we are amazed, actually, that we had not realized it before. His coloring, the way he moves his body, those cute too-short ears, the enormous paws, the furrowed brow, the graceful lankiness of his muscular frame — it’s all lion. Just look at this striking comparison.

But before you start running off to hide your children and your groceries, an important distinction: Our lion is a very friendly, teenaged lion. He is no pride leader, our lion. He is no stealthy, ruthless hunter, our lion. He is just a sweet, goofy, lanky teenager of a lion.

And there is even more to the story than this. We believe him to be the reincarnation of a very specific, famous, friendly lion from history: Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. For example: just like his ancestor, TANK is a big softie who is quite timid. He is scared of water hoses, stairs make him nervous, and the sound of sirens makes him whimper. When the little 15 pound dogs in our neighborhood bark at him from behind their fences, he ducks his head down and tries to cross the street to get farther away from them and their meanness. In fact, here is a photo me and my friends comforting him after the little maltese down the street almost made him cry:

confessions of a serial drooler

My name is TANK, and I drool. Sometimes I drool a lot, and sometimes I drool a little. And sometimes — rarely — I am even caught not drooling at all. Sometimes I drool while running around. Sometimes I drool while I am in a restful slumber. Sometimes I drool to express how exciting life is.  Sometimes I drool because I am hot. Sometimes I drool to show off my impressive jowls. Sometimes I drool to see how long of a ribbon I can make. Sometimes I drool to show how happy I am to see you. Sometimes I drool to tell you that I would like to eat whatever you are holding. And sometimes, I just drool.

Sometimes when I drool, I leave a little puddle on the ground. Sometimes, I leave streaks. Sometimes when I drool, I smoosh a little bit of it onto my foster mom’s outfit, like a lipstick kiss left on her cheek by her grandma. Sometimes when I drool, I make an avant-garde drippy pattern on the deck, like a Jackson Pollock painting. Sometimes I do a more traditional pattern, like a Monet. Sometimes I keep my drool hanging, in case I need it at a later time. Sometimes I shake my head and leave decorative little ribbons on the wall. Beautiful, classy little ribbons. Singing, dancing little ribbons. Shimmery, happy little ribbons. They’re how I express who I am.

Love,

TANK

On learning a new dog

One of the highlights of fostering, for me, is getting to know a new dog. I love seeing a photo and reading a bio, and then experiencing the anticipation of how the new foster will be in real life. How will s/he fit into our family? What will his/her cutest quirks be? Biggest training challenges? Most surprising characteristics?

With a new dog, I am also always anxious to understand her/his personality so that I can try to convey it photographically and in words. One of my many untested theories is that adoptable dogs with a distinct “personality” have a magical sort of draw to them, making them more attractive to potential adopters. Our first foster, Lollie, was a classic lovable underdog. She was a big sweetheart with a sad past who had a lot of heart, and really wanted to win the world over. And she did. We dubbed her Lollie Wonderdog. Next was Gonzo. Gonzo was a pocket rocket. He was a tiny little ball of mischevious antics. He had tons of energy and didn’t much care if anybody liked him, but with that face and those ears, people just couldn’t resist.  His name became Gonzo Bunny-Ears.

TANK’s persona is still evolving, since we’ve only had him about three days and upon bringing him home, we knew much less about him than his predecessors.  He doesn’t yet have his middle name, which we like to bestow upon our fosters. So far we know that he is a big, goofy, oafish, friendly lug who is absolutely jazzed with life. Other aspects of his personality are coming out, but we are just barely starting to fit together the puzzle. It’s hard to resist, but we’re trying not to rush: the discovery is one of the best parts.

Here’s one piece of the TANK puzzle: in the house, he is an enthusiastic, bouncy youngster who is constantly moving, licking, chewing, running, and jumping. He will learn how to be a good house dog quickly, but at this point he is acting like a typical 60 pound puppy with little training. But outside? Outside he is the calmest dog I’ve ever met. He walks slowly next to me on the leash, almost never gets excited, and occasionally even decides to lay down in the grass to rest and smell the clover. And once he’s down, there is little that will convince him to get back up except his own free will.

New foster: TANK!

Introducing our new foster, TANK!

Have you ever seen such rugged good looks on a dog?

We have only had TANK for 36 hours, but are totally falling for this giant, puppy-like goofball. TANK may have that tough-guy look, but he could hardly be more of a softie! TANK lives for ear scratches, belly rubs, and big hugs. He also loves to give big, slobbery kisses to anybody who shows him a little kindness. He has such a big personality that when we say his name, or think his name, or write his name, we can’t help but use all caps: TANK!

This poor oversized puppy showed up as a stray at a rural animal shelter in South Carolina, where few dogs ever make it out alive. There he sat, patiently, quietly, and worriedly, waiting for somebody to claim him, but nobody ever came. And still. The shelter workers must have seen something really special in this guy’s sweet disposition and devastatingly handsome face, because he wound up being the first pit bull type dog to ever be released from the shelter to a rescue group! TANK is very proud of this great honor, and hopes that he paves the way for many other pit bulls who come from his former turf.

The area he came from is very rural and fairly poor, and we wonder: was TANK loved? Had he lived in a house and had his nails trimmed? Was he bred by bad people for bad purposes, but then failed to live up to their expectations? Has he ever played with a toy before? Slept on a soft bed? Seen the bright lights of a big city?

We wish we knew more about TANK’s history, and are really looking forward to getting to know him. We hope you’ll join us!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,146 other followers

%d bloggers like this: