"My Foster Dog is Beautiful"
My foster dog stinks to high heaven. I don't know
for sure what breed he is.
His eyes are blank and hard. He won't let me pet him
and growls when I reach
for him. He has ragged scars and crusty sores on his
skin. His nails are
long and his teeth which he showed me are stained. I
sigh. I drove two hours
for this. I carefully maneuver him so that I can
stuff him in the crate.
Then I heft the crate and put it in the car. I am
going home with my new
At home I leave him in the crate till all the other
dogs are in the yard. I
get him out of the crate and ask him if he wants
'outside.' As I lead him to
the door he hikes his leg on the wall and shows me
his stained teeth again.
When we come in he goes to the crate because that's
the only safe place he
sees. I offer him food but he won't eat it if I look
at him, so I turn my
back. When I come back the food is gone. I ask again
about 'outside.' When
we come back I pat him before I let him in the
crate, he jerks away and runs
into the crate to show me his teeth.
The next day I decide I can't stand the stink any
longer I lead him into the
bath with cheese in my hand. His fear of me is not
quite overcome by his
wish for the cheese. And well he should fear me, for
I will give him a bath.
After an attempt or two to bail out he is defeated
and stands there. I have
bathed four legged bath squirters for more dog years
than he has been alive.
His only defense was a show of his stained teeth
that did not hold up to a
face full of water. As I wash him it is almost as if
I wash not only the
stink and dirt away but also some of his hardness.
His eyes look full of
sadness now. And he looks completely pitiful as only
a soap covered dog can.
I tell him that he will feel better when he is
cleaned. After the soap the
towels are not too bad so he lets me rub him dry. I
take him outside. He
runs for joy. The joy of not being in the tub and
the joy of being clean. I,
the bath giver, am allowed to share the joy. He
comes to me and lets me pet
One week later I have a vet bill. His skin is
healing. He likes for me to
pet him. I think I know what color he will be when
his hair grows in. I have
found out he is terrified of other dogs. So I
carefully introduce him to my
mildest four legged brat. It doesn't go well.
Two weeks later a new vet bill for an infection that
was missed on the first
visit. He plays with the other dogs.
Three weeks later he asks to be petted. He chewed up
part of the rug.
Eight weeks later his coat shines, he has gained
weight. He shows his clean
teeth when his tongue ls out after he plays chase
in the yard with the
gang. His eyes are soft and filled with life. He
loves hugs and likes to
show off his tricks, if you have the cheese.
Someone called today and asked about him, they saw
the picture I took the
first week. They asked about his personality, his
history, his breed. They
asked if he was pretty. I asked them lots of
questions. I checked up on
them. I prayed. I said yes. When they saw him the
first time they said he
was the most beautiful dog they had ever seen.
Six months later I got a call from his new family.
He is wonderful, smart,
well behaved and very loving. How could someone not
I told them I didn't know.
He is beautiful.
They all are. "
Written by: Martha O'Connor