Kirby and I have a new foster girl, Gracie.  When Becca, our Homeward Bound Coordinator, brought her to us her name was Bunny. Becca didn’t care for it saying it sounded like a porn star and asked me to give her a new name.  Since she was rescued from the local shelter within hours of being euthanized I felt God’s grace had shined down on her, hence the name Gracie.  They think she is a Dachshund/Beagle mix and somewhere between the age of one or two years.  

The first few days with us she was rather unfriendly and would growl or snap at Kirby.  He made it a point to avoid her with as much distance as possible.  On the third night Kirby, who had been on the recliner with me, jumped down in search of a toy.  Gracie left the couch and quickly jumped on to the recliner.  When Kirby jumped back up with his toy she snapped at him.  I don’t know if it was because I’m his “mama” but he got angry and snapped right back.  They have been friends ever since!  Please note that I believe this was fear and not aggression since she has never shown any signs of aggression.  In fact, she and Kirby have drank from the same bowl at the same time.

Gracie was extremely skittish when she first arrived here.  Unless she chose to sit or lay next to me, trying to catch her was close to impossible. Three weeks later and she will come to me when called.  She is house trained and has easily adapted to our routine. 

She and Kirby play very well together although I’m sure Kirby’s complaint would be that she literally drags him around the house trying to pull a toy out of his mouth which means she always wins.   Kirby absolutely loves a game of chase which Gracie is happy to play.  They take turns chasing each other through the house and sometimes I chase them.  Gracie joins in with such enthusiasm. 

Gracie is an extremely loving girl who craves affection.  I have a feeling she was physically abused prior to being rescued and is learning to trust again.  The first time I got out my broom to sweep the kitchen floor she practically flattened herself on the ground.   Whenever I attempted to put a leash on her she would lower her head all the way to the ground.  She has gotten much better since she has been with us.  Much less tense, much more playful.  

Since she is house trained I have let her sleep on my bed at night and am amused that she likes to snuggle by Kirby when he will let her.  I am her second choice only after Kirby has said no.

We have two cats which she has shown no interest in whatsoever.  Should one of them walk right past her she will only watch them.   However, her curiosity has caused her a little pain since Chelsea doesn't care for her getting too close.

Just like Kirby she loves to chew! She has destroyed quite a few of Kirby’s toys which, although upsettingto Kirby, is a perfectly acceptable thing for a dog to do.  So I would suggest her new family purchase tough toys.  The first few days I had to take away a shoe or slipper and then made it a point to keep them put away in my closet.  She has never attempted to chew on furniture, etc.  I did catch her trying to eat the remote control but since Doug had left it on the couch that makes it his fault.

Kirby is a calm, balanced dog. I refer to him as my therapy dog because he teaches our fosters how to behave and just be dogs again.  An example would be the first thunderstorm we had which absolutely terrified Gracie.  The next one that rolled through didn’t faze her at all since she looked to Kirby for his response. He didn’t care so she decided she didn’t care either!  This tells me she can become an exceptional pet with the right guidance and leadership.

She has learned to sit and tries to mimic some of Kirby’s tricks which is so funny but endearing.  I haven’t worked with her because she is just getting past her fearfulness.  A strict voice could send her backwards at this time but it is apparent that she would learn quite easily.

Gracie leaves to travel north for adoption on May 21, 2011.  We have received the wonderful news that she has been adopted so we are thrilled she will be traveling straight to her new forever family.  All she wants is to love and be loved.  May God's grace always shine on our Gracie.

Update - July 14, 2011  I received the following email and pictures which were forwarded to me from Sam Punchar, Manager at Random Rescue through my Homeward Bound Coordinator:

Not sure who fostered bunnie but wanted to let you know how well she is doing in her new home!  So far, we are just fine.  She slept with me last night and all was well. We are getting acquainted and she seems just perfect. Here are a few pics of her.  Heard her bark today.  She was sleeping on the sofa and a friend came by to see her. I think when my friend came to the door it woke her and scared her. She just barked once real loud and that was it.

Thank you so much.  By the way, I have named her Sophie after Sophia Loren.  She is dark and has beautiful eyes just like Sophia!  I will put the Contract in the mail in the AM.  Thanks again.  Hope this continues.

Update - July 15, 2011  I received the following email and pictures:

Hi Debbie,

My name is “Birdie” Wyman and am the very proud and happy owner of Sophie.  It’s strange because I kept calling her Gracie by mistake because I have a granddaughter name Grace.  Anyway named her after Sophia Loren, because she is so beautiful.  We are doing fine.  Not sure about her house training though.  I think she gets it, but it seems that she never pees.  Maybe I just miss it.  She hasn’t messed in the house since the first couple of days.  Tried to crate train, but she is petrified of the crate.  Anyway, these are nothing problems to me.  She is so worth it.  I just love her so much.  Thank you for being such a nice Foster Mom.

Birdie,  Arlington, Vermont

Kirby and I are over the moon with joy for our sweet baby girl!  Sophie is safe, happy and loved living in Vermont with her forever mom!