Until now, in the 20 years I’ve been fostering dogs and puppies for my local shelters, I’ve kept only one. Six years ago, Woody was one of a litter of nine 3-week-old puppies that came into my local shelter with their mother. At about 5 weeks of age, Woody was the first pup to figure out that if he sat at my feet when I was getting food or medicine ready for the puppies, he’d get extra treats and attention. His attention span and focus was extraordinary for such a young puppy, and I fell hard for the solid, stoic chunk of a pup. The litter went back to the shelter for spay/neuter surgery and adoption in stages, and he happened to be among the last to go. When I told my husband that I had decided to keep the big brindle boy, he said, “I knew that weeks ago!”
Well, oops, I did it again. I’ve had a number of excuses for holding back this foster pup from returning to the shelter for adoption, but over the past few months, the excuses all ran out and he’s still here.
The clincher in this case was a camping trip into the mountains I made with my husband and a bunch of his friends. I sent my two adult dogs to their usual dog-sitting locations. When I travel, senior dog Otto stays with my sister and Woody stays with my friend Leonora. Both my sister and my friend were very busy, and I didn’t want to inflict dog-sitting a puppy on either of them. I spontaneously decided to bring the pup along.
He was a champion traveler, riding quietly in his harness and seat belt on the front seat of our truck for an almost four-hour drive. When we got to the campground, nearly empty save for our party, he went right up to all of my husband’s friends, wagging and friendly. He lay by the campfire that night, chewing a pizzle, unbothered by the smoke and sparks, and slept comfortably in our tent with us. My only complaint was that he snores!
The puppy and I were the first ones awake in the morning. I unzipped our tent and discovered an inch or so of snow blanketing the entire campground. We walked down to the lake and watched the sun come up. The pup sat for photos like a professional, and I thought, “What a boon this puppy is.” And so he is; welcome to the family, Boone.