Marie and I are a foster home for dogs. We often develop attachments to our charges (the dogs) and have to fight back tears as we send them off to new homes. Some are harder than others, but we’ve learned to deal with that. Well, mostly.
Josephine was especially hard, in part because she is still so timid. She’s come a long ways from the terrified creature we took out of the shelter so she could find some peace and so we could work on her fear of people.
She had a health issue too, which we addressed with our veterinarian. When her treatment was complete and she had settled down to where she could meet new people, we began soliciting for a forever home for her.
Marie and I both felt that we should just adopt her ourselves, and we discussed it, but we know we cannot adopt them all.
Josie interviewed with two potential adopters. The second one seemed (to me) to be a good fit, except for not having a fenced yard. Had this been a Rescue adoption; that would be a deal killer right there. But shelter adoptions cannot be as stringently examined and judged. Marie had misgivings, but decided to say nothing … until after things went bad.
We discussed with her new Mom the need to keep Josephine on a leash for potty breaks and play time until Josephine felt that her new house was “home” and would not bolt as soon as she could. Because she will. We were thinking in terms of several weeks, possibly months.
After having her for just a few days, her adoptive Mom let Josie out into the yard unfettered at 5:00 one evening. Josephine ran off, chasing a squirrel. At 7:00 that evening she was spotted trotting along beside a plowed field behind the house but would not come when called.
Some time the next morning, her Mom let one of our staffers, Ashley, know Josephine had run off. We also knew through Ashley’s connection to the new Mom, that Josie was in the habit of hiding all day and coming out to eat and play only after the family had retired for the night.
What followed was several days of impassioned searching, making and distributing fliers, and blasting the call for help on Facebook. This was being done by shelter staffers, not Josie’s new mom, who told us that she did not want the dog back. Ashley lived near this neighborhood and she spearheaded these efforts, putting in many hours of her time to search and get the word out.
After Josephine had been on the run for 4 days, Julian, Marie, and I drove the hour that it took to join Ashley at the home of Lori D. who reported having seen Josie in her yard that day. Lori was gracious and hospitable. We searched the wooded patch and the yards that it bordered. Even Julian got into calling for her. He and Josie were “bestest friends” who played together constantly despite Julian being 3 times her size. I thought sure that would get her out, but alas it did not. Now it was getting dark.
Ashley went to the shelter where Julie met her and helped her load up a large live-animal trap. We set that up with food and water, one of my previously worn shirts, and we wrapped the trap in Josies old crate blanket to make it more inviting.
Then, reluctantly, we went home about 10:00 pm.
Around 6:30 the next morning, Lori called Ashley, “You have a Beagle in the trap!” Ashley and Lori loaded the trap into the shelter van and Josie came back to where this adventure all started. Ashley said, “I wasn’t about to open the trap out there and risk her running off again.” A wise move!
By the time she got to the shelter I was there too and we transferred Josie to her “Safe Place”, a crate from home where she was accustomed to sleeping. She recognized it immediately and settled in, tail thumping against the sides of the crate. The Beagle in a Box went with me to my work assignment for the day. Fortunately I was in the cat house today: it’s quiet and mostly calm in there.
When the work was done Josie and I loaded up in my truck for the trip home.
When I opened the door for her, instead of cowering and trying to run away, she leapt up onto the passenger seat and her face lit up.
I’d brought two bottles of water with me to work, she drank most of them BOTH! Even before the water her belly was full and round, so she was finding something to eat in those woods, but she had gone with little or no water for a while! Since I don’t know what she was eating I gave her a good dose of wormer before we left the shelter to head home.
When we got home, I stopped for the mail before driving up to park next to my workshop. Josie got all revved up when she saw we were back at home. Once parked, I took Josie into the house.
After the rowdy reunion, I took her into the yard and she quickly found a shady spot to roll in the grass, “My YARD, I love my YARD!” Ours is fully fenced in so she cannot run off. Not that she’s ever tried.
We needed to go out to run an errand, so Julian went to his pen outside and Josie went into her crate. When we got back, Josie made a mad dash outside to off-load some of that water she’d been sucking up all morning.
But then, so did we all: especially when she went AWOL. It’s been a harrowing 4 or 5 days, and we extend huge thanks to Ashley, and Julie for all the time and effort they put into finding her and to Lori D, the neighbor who spotted Josie and was so helpful in trapping the little imp. Thanks also to Kris the shelter Manager for allowing us to use the company van and trap, as well as the flexibility in time to go off looking for her. She waved it off, saying that Josephine is again a shelter dog (or will be) so we’re on shelter business. She’s a good lady!
Josie’s back where she feels safe and happy once again … and is going to stay here. I filled out the adoption contract this morning, and Josie is now a member of our family furever more. And NO MORE summer camping excursions!
Our thanks, also, to all those who supported the efforts with prayer. I, for one, believe it works when properly employed. If you don’t share that feeling: that’s fine, believe what you wish. We’re just happy to have Josie Bean home again.