Twitter Feed

  • Digg
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Guess Who Came to Dinner?


Foster parents Cindie and Jerry were getting out of town for a New Year’s celebration. While they were gone they’re two dogs, Keesha, an adorable Keeshond, and Buddy, a sweetheart of a Sheltie-boy they rescued through Sheltie Rescue, and their foster Sheltie, Kalvin, came to stay with us.


If I remember correctly Keesha was found sitting in a local shelter when Cindie and Jerry took her home. That was a very lucky day for everyone because Keesha can make anyone smile and feel loved. She’s a dream to care for and we enjoyed her presence immensely. Getting to know her was a little New Year’s gift for us.


Buddy’s previous family contacted Sheltie Rescue because they could no longer keep him. They loved him and were quite concerned about him because he’s a bit shy and wouldn’t fit in with just any family. They were also under some time pressure to move him out of their home. At the time, Jim and Barbara were in China because Jim had a business meeting there but we were in email contact. Cindie and Jerry were incredibly gracious and helpful – taking Buddy initially, into their home as a foster, and then into their hearts as their own. The fondness and attachment that Buddy has for Keesha was apparent in our home. Buddy seemed to be greatly reassured by Keesha’s presence and liked to follow her around sniffing at her (you-know-where!). Every now and then Buddy seemed to do a sort of little dance behind Keesha. It looked like he might be thinking of asking her to play but we were never quite sure what it was.


Kalvin, Cindie and Jerry’s foster Sheltie, has quite a story. He lived all of his life with one family until, as a senior, he began snapping at grandchildren. They brought Kalvin to the Humane Society in Salt Lake City where he exhibited fear (not at all unusual – I think I would too under the circumstances) and soon thereafter bit one of the staff. His heroine at the Humane Society was Iris Platt, a regular volunteer who’s worked diligently to save animals for years. The numbers that have survived because of her efforts are too numerous to count. Iris is one of the many heroes of rescue and animals who you probably won’t see in the news, on Animal Planet, or elsewhere because they’re too busy volunteering their time to rescue – a multi-faceted job that is endless.

Iris took Kalvin in as a foster but brought him to stay at the Humane Society during the day so people could see him and possibly adopt him. During this time Kalvin bit a second staff member but that wasn’t the worst of it…a well meaning member of the public was there when Kalvin got out of an enclosure. The staff repeatedly warned her that Kalvin bites and not to approach him but to let the staff get him. She insisted she knew what she was doing and approached him anyway — and I’ll bet you can guess what happened!  He bit her! As if that wasn’t enough, sh[photopress:Keesha_is_sweet___Small_.JPG,thumb,pp_image]e took it upon herself to go up the chain of management at the Humane Society to complain.  Kalvin was going to be in serious trouble.

At this point Iris was worried that Kalvin would be put down if she didn’t get him out of the Humane Society and into someplace where he could have the stability, comfort, and care that he needed. Iris called us at SRU. We told her we’d take Kalvin into our program and foot the bills for the medical care Kalvin needed. In seniors especially we always take the approach of looking for an underlying medical issue for behaviors such as biting. Iris had indicated that Kalvin was desperately in need of a dental. That was at least one area where it was likely he was having some pain. Most seniors have some arthritis – another source of pain that’s often not treated. In Kalvin’s case he also had low thyroid and needed regular medication to normalize his body functions. (People on thyroid medication have said that they were very irritable before their medical problem was recognized and treated.) While Kalvin was getting his medical needs attended to he continued to live with Iris which worked well for awhile.  At some point Iris needed Kalvin to move in with us and lighten the number of foster dogs living in her home.  Without Iris and her intervention and efforts on Kalvin’s behalf there’s a good chance Kalvin would have been euthanized.  The awful irony is that this heroine of so many animals is now battling for her own life against lung cancer.  We silently battle alongside her and believe in her conquering spirit.


Kalvin fit into our household very nicely.  Well behaved and very affectionate we enjoyed having Kalvin live with us but we knew he’d be even happier if he had a Mom that belonged only to him and not to a household of 10 other Shelties too.  When we got a call from an elderly woman who had just lost her Sheltie we thought we might have found a permanent home for Kalvin with a Mom all his own.  Kalvin went to live with Lily and the two bonded beautifully.  Lily was somewhat incapacitated and was almost always at home which suited Kalvin just fine.  He had a fenced yard but other than occasional he much preferred being inside with his Mom, Lily.  This placement was the first time we provided a Sheltie with all their food (Kalvin needed a special diet), medication, and shuttled them back and forth for vet exams.  We recognized Lily’s limitations.  Lily and Kalvin provided each other with something they each wanted and needed.  We supported this situation but it wasn’t one we had foreseen.

I think that supporting a foster in a home under special circumstances like these is a good idea but it’s expensive in terms of time and money.  I would be open to pursuing a program of placing senior Shelties with seniors like Lily, as we have more resources to handle this.

Lily told us she was leaving town to spend several months living with a daughter in Texas.  Kalvin came back to us and fit right in as though he’d never left us.  We’re not sure that Lily will ever return given the poor state of her health.  We’re very fortunate that Jerry and Cindie are fostering Kalvin and giving him a loving home with great companions in Keesha and Buddy.


On this day..

Be Sociable, Share!

1 comment to Guess Who Came to Dinner?

Leave a Reply