Tonight will mark one week since we picked up our latest foster dog, Layla. It’s time to ask what’s wrong with her. Why isn’t she in a wonderful home of her own?
Layla was in a foster home before ours.
Her first foster person told us Layla had been surrendered to the SPCA because she didn’t get along with another dog in the home. When she arrived at the shelter, she totally shut down. She was so fearful they couldn’t even test her temperament. So they sent her home with a foster person experienced with fearful dogs.
When we met Layla, we saw some of that fearfulness. She’d sniff Honey. But if Honey sniffed back or made any other approach, Layla would hide behind her foster person’s legs. We also heard she was fearful with other dogs in the neighborhood.
Layla’s first foster person did a wonderful job with her. Because that fearful, shut down dog from the shelter is not the dog I’m living with.
Learning About Layla
Here’s what I’ve learned about Layla in one week. She:
is house trained – after a short transition when she first came to live with us, she has had no accidents.
plays fetch – last night she brought me a tennis ball. I quietly rolled it so I didn’t wake up the “retriever” in the house, and she brought it back to me every time.
burrows – her favorite place to sleep is at our feet, under the covers.
loves watching the world go by – I’ve removed the curtains on the glass front door so she can see everyone going by. And she loves perching on the back of the couch in front of the window so she can look down on everyone on the sidewalk out front.
barks moderately – which is more than Honey but not enough to be a problem. She uses her voice but it’s more like she’s talking than obsessing.
likes to be chased – over the past few days, Layla has instigated games of chase with Honey. I worried at first. Her tail position was a little stiff and her play bow is kinda awkward. I think Honey finds her signals to be a little worrisome too since she’ll break off the chase to chew on a stick in the yard for a few minutes. But they are playing, even if it’s not the mellow retriever vibe I’m used to.
enjoys greeting strangers on the street – Layla hones in on people who love her as quickly as Honey does and always solicits scratchies.
is a delicate princess – although she looks like a sturdy, outdoor dog, Layla shivers in the cold without a coat and sometimes cuts her pads if she plays too hard in the snow.
learns quickly – she’s already calming her exuberant greetings since I go back outside every time she jumps all over me at the door.
is fine in the house when I go away – no barking. No damage. No crying. Despite the sad, beagle eyes sending out guilt rays every time I walk out the door.
doesn’t react to every dog we meet – in truth, I have yet to see her lunge, pull, or bark at the few dogs we see on our daily walks.
is sweet and affectionate – loving to cuddle in front of a movie and glad just to be with us.
needs training – but who doesn’t? She’ll sit for a treat, come when you coax her, and, at around 20 pounds, doesn’t do much damage when she jumps all over you at the front door. I could see many families not doing any training with her and having no problems. But someone who wants to build their relationship or do agility (I think she’d be great at it), would have a wonderful training partner in Layla.
So I look at everything I’ve learned about Layla in a week and I ask myself —
What’s Wrong With This Foster Dog?
Absolutely nothing I can see.
I hope we get the ok to find her forever home soon.