Foster Parenting of Animals : Cupcake the dog seeks new home…

Oh my friends, this is such a drag! It’s with a heavy heart that I write this little post. I know this is all a little personal, but you’re my peeps, so I want to share this with you.

We’d on the lookout for a dog for about 6 months, and had been visiting our local shelter regularly. We live in a very small apartment (75 square meters), so we wanted an animal that wasn’t too big, and that would be great with kids, but we just hadn’t found the right match.

Last Monday evening, a neighbour knocked on our door as he had heard through the grapevine that Cupcake was about to be abandoned by his current owner. She’d bought him a few weeks earlier, but had changed her mind and needed to “get rid of him” quickly. I was concerned because he’s a Malinois, which is not exactly a small breed. We were, however, interested in a dog that would be big and athletic enough to run with me (that is to say once I’m able to run again, which as of now is still not possible).
We arranged for a meeting so I could see the dog, and after meeting his owner, and seeing the sort of conditions he was being kept in, I had to take him – I didn’t hesitate. Just looking at Cupcake I knew in my heart he wasn’t the dog for us – at 2 and a half months he was already about as big a dog as we could welcome. My head was telling me to walk away, but he is just a baby, and seeing him in the precarious situation he was in, my heart knew I’d be abandoning him if I didn’t bring him home with me.
I’ll pause here to highlight the moral dilemma : because in my gut I knew it wouldn’t work out, was it wrong of me to have brought him home? I hope not. I know it’s difficult for him to change homes, and it’s heartbreaking for us, and especially Guppy, to have to part with him, but knowing that he was in a dangerous and potentially harmful situation (I don’t want to judge the people he was living with, but let’s just say if Cupcake were a child I’d have called child-protective services), and being in the position of wanting a puppy, well, I had to make the call.
He is the sweetest, and most obedient puppy I’ve ever encountered. Aside from the peeing issue (which is not his fault, I mean, he’s an infant – and he is now paper trained), he’s so sweet. The problem is he is not at all intended to be an apartment animal. He needs a big yard, and in addition to a large garden to run in he needs a great deal of dedicated play time (fetch, etc.) and most qualified web sites recommend obedience training, something we cannot afford right now.
We have no garden, just a tiny, shared cobblestone courtyard which is not at all adapted for playing, and despite taking him for about 6 walks a day (actually more), and running with him, he is not getting enough exercise. This problem translates into his being far to rough with his play here in the apartment. Again, I don’t at all think it’s his fault – if he were given the proper space to tire himself out, he’d be more docile when playing.
Monsieur Fish and I were pretty much convinced by Thursday (Cupcake arrived Tuesday evening) that we would need to find a new home for our little Cupcake, and Friday we avoided a real close-call. Neither of us blame Cupcake, but he was playing fetch with Guppy (Monsieur Fish was sitting right next to them) and Cupcake kind of flipped out and to make a long story short, Monsieur Fish had to use a great deal of force to get him off Guppy. We were all lucky because no one was hurt, but things could have been very different. I am certain that if Cupcake had more space to get his wiggles out, this wouldn’t have happened. We explained to Guppy what happened, and she really dealt with it well and isn’t afraid of him, which I am very thankful for. We also know that he was roughed about a great deal by his former owners who had a rather twisted idea of what love and discipline were, and wanted to turn him into some sort of guard dog.
So, we are now looking for a new home for Cupcake. If we had a garden and a small home he would be the perfect companion for us, but that isn’t the case. I feel guilty for bringing him into our home and allowing him to grow attached to us (he follows me everywhere – well, not to bed because that part of the apartment is off-limits, but you know what I mean!). We think we found a good home for him, so this afternoon he may be leaving. We will keep him and care for him until we’ve found a safe place for him to go, and we hope it’s someone who lives close so we can still see him. We still haven’t given up on our project to have a puppy (or a kitty – that is still up in the air), but Cupcake will be a much happier pooch with some space to run and play. You can train a dog, but you can’t untrain their nature.
UPDATE:  Cupcake left shortly after lunchtime. I was so sad I couldn’t bring him downstairs to leave, I did make sure his “lovie” was in his bag of things, though. I surprised myself by how upset I was, but I know it was the right thing. We live in the middle of the city, and he is off to a big house in a near-by village where he’ll have a big yard to play in. I know he’ll be much happier there. Thanks for your support, guys.
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22 thoughts on “Foster Parenting of Animals : Cupcake the dog seeks new home…

  1. *hug* Everything will be fine. A puppy that young will bounce back right away in any home that will give him love. I hope you find a good pet that will work better in your family.

  2. I think you did the right thing taking him for the time you did, safe and loved until his new parents could be found. Thank you and your family for taking the time and effort to do that for a little (big) guy in need.

  3. That must have been a hard decision, Shellyfish. It’s very commendable be a foster mom. I’m sure he will romp and roam to his heart’s content in his new place.

    Now the only challenge is that I imagine Guppy will want her own dog really badly now. :-)

  4. Aw, I’m so sorry he didn’t work out for you! But at least you think he’ll have a good home with lots of room to run and play. I had the same problem with my 1st cat Brautigan. He was a young male cat with too much energy and he needed a place bigger than my studio apartment. So after just two days I had to give up to someone else. But he’s so much happier now! I hope you guys can find a good pup soon!

  5. Hugs to you and the entire Fish family. What a wise, brave thing you’ve done. So happy Guppy is OK and not afraid! And Cupcake’s new home sounds lovely. Sending you perfect pet finding vibes and more hugs for your missing Cupcake.

  6. You definitely did the right thing, even though it was difficult! Sometimes animals (and people!) need our temporary help, and that’s what you did. It sounds like he will be very happy in his new home! You are a wonderful person!

  7. Yes, you did the right thing! Now Cupcake has someone looking out for him to make sure he ends up in a nice home where he can get everything he needs. Who knows what would have happened to him if you decided to leave him in poor conditions at the risk of being abandoned? Good luck finding a good home for him soon!

  8. You definitely did the right thing in rescuing Cupcake (silly name!) from such an awful situation. He is a puppy and switching homes a few times will NOT hurt him, in fact it will just reinforce that new people and new situations are fun and harmless.

    I am very happy for Cupcake that he has such amazing people looking out for him and I hope you find him a good home soon!

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