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.

W.I.P. Wednesday – Featured Wipster of the Month, Amanda!

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This is one crazy Wednesday! I was even a little concerned that I wouldn’t get this W.I.P. post out today, but I was so excited to introduce this month’s featured Wipster, Amanda of Walking The Vegan Line, that I knew I had to get it together!

Amanda’s blog was one of the first I began reading regularly and so I’ve always felt a bit of an affinity towards her. If you’re not familiar with her blog, you need to head on over, because she’s a real inspiration. One of her many talents is what I like to call “fondant sculptrice” – she has a real knack for decorating cakes and cupcakes with fondant (a talent I need to work on as Guppy’s birthday is in a few weeks and I promised her a dino cake…). Take a look at these adorable cupcakes Amanda decorated :

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Amanda is also a talented knitter (the above cuppers were for the Huston Vegan Knitters Group) and seamstress. She has  wonderful Flickr sets documenting her cupcake and sewing adventures which you need to go check out post haste! But enough of my blathering on, here’s a little about Amanda, in her own words…

Craft-wise, I didn’t think I had a crafty bone in my body until around a year or two ago when I started doing some card making. That led to having my mom teach me how to knit while being cooped up without power after Hurricane Ike. Knitting just takes forever though and it was giving me ergonomic issues, so I took up sewing under the guidance of my Sew Crafty instructor Sarah and my mom. Now I’m hooked! I just bought my first dress pattern and I have grand visions of making my own wardrobe someday! Baking is also a craft of sorts for me… piping frosting and molding fondant are really an art. I’ve even started doing some special order baking here in Houston, with hopes of expanding more in the future if I can establish that there is a demand. I figure all of this crafting is a good way to get some bloodflow to the right side of my brain, since my day job tends to rely heavily on the analytical left side.
Random Facts:
1. I became a geologist because I love being outdoors… but ironically my job has me sitting at a computer 8 hours a day.
2. Brownies are my favorite dessert. When I was growing up, it was nearly a weekend ritual to make brownies with my mom or dad. Melting the chocolate was always the trickiest part… it always seemed to melt so s-l-o-w-l-y!
3. When I moved out of Texas for college, I took it upon myself to fill Coloradoans in on Texas trivia… like that Texas is the only state that can fly the state flag at the same level as the US flag (which unfortunately I’ve recently learned in not true, all states can). But we do have taller mountains that anything east of the Mississippi River!
4. I really want to get a koala tattoo, but my husband and friends think it’s a crazy idea. I even have a design all ready to go! (it would be my second, I also have a seashell tattoo)
5. For my final random fact… I asked for some help on twitter/facebook, and here are the suggestions I got: I am a vegan, I am a baker, and I know who killed JFK but I’m not telling who. So there you go.
Thanks, Amanda! And I totally vote for the tattoo!!!
Today was to be the March Stitch-Along round-up, among other things, but our lives have been turned a bit upside-down by a new addition to the Fish Family:
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I’d like to introduce you to Cupcake (as named by Guppy), or Ben (as Monsieur Fish wants him to be named), our puppy.  He’s just a baby (we think 2 1/2 months, but he hasn’t seen the vet yet) and has pretty much taken over every second of free time I have since Tuesday morning. More on Cupcake soon, right now I just really need to try and get some rest. And wipe up pee. He is the epitome of a Work In Progress!
Have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too. There are some really beautiful things up and it’s so fun to check them all out!