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.

22 thoughts on “Foster Parenting of Animals : Cupcake the dog seeks new home…

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  2. did the right thing..what a hard decision. But I am 100% certain that Cupcake got a better home because of you being involved in his life!

  3. *Big Hug* You put the dog’s needs ahead of your own emotions, which is the adult, and hard, thing to do. You also gave your Guppy a wonderful example of how to care for a pet responsibly, which will only improve her relationship with the animal who becomes a permanent part of your family.

    It’s hard to smile now, but I hope you will eventually!

  4. What a sad story (just catching up with all your posts since i’ve been away). I am so glad though that there was a happy ending. Dogs are such precious, intuitive and loving animals they deserve to be treated as such.

  5. I hope you’ll eventually come to think of your time with Cupcake as a gateway to him finding his forever home instead of feeling guilty. You did something really wonderful for him in the time you fostered him!

  6. Awwww… Shel. I think your story has a happy ending despite the somberness. Making the right choices in life isn’t always easy for us, but you were looking out for another creature’s well being!!! That means you deserve all sorts of hugs and love! You have a genuine compassion for animals and not just because you are vegan, but because you helped Cupcake find a loving home! You pretty much rule for that alone.

  7. i’m sending many hugs your way, Shelly! i’m so sorry that Cupcake needed to find a new home, but it sounds like you did the right thing. and don’t worry about Cupcake – he’ll be a-okay & adjust to his new home super fast! i used to work for the spca and i fostered for many dogs and cats (over 75!) in my 3 years there as a medical technician and kennel worker. le’mme tell ya that as i type this out Cupcake is do’n great in his new home. i know that doesn’t heal the hurt, but i hope it helps some. i think you did a wonderful thing in saving him and finding him a wonderful new home with lots of space to play. hugs, hugs, and more hugs to you Shelly!

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