Bouncing around is great fun when it involves a tennis ball!
Bouncing around is great fun when it involves a tennis ball! At my house, our dogs know that vacuum sound that a canister of new tennis balls make when you pop the lid open. I am immediately swarmed by a bunch of barking, crazy canines, leaping as high as my eyeballs, completely focused on the yellow ball I'm about to throw. (By the way, this is the most economical, durable toy you can buy for your dog. Two dollars buys you countless hours of fun, exercise and training for your faithful friend.)
For Monte Frasier, our black Boxer, bouncing around has not been quite so much fun. You see just a couple of weeks ago our Frasier was adopted by a lovely family. We received pictures that very evening of him snuggling on the couch with his new dad, with Frasier's head lying against his chest. It brought tears of joy to our eyes to see him so content. The oldest daughter in the family was away when Frasier arrived in his new home. Within two hours after her return, this young girl's eyes swelled accompanied by all sorts of signs of a serious allergic reaction to their furry new family member. Devastated, the family was forced to return Frasier to us. The family has another dog but it is a "hairless" breed. The daughter had been around other dogs but only outdoors, so the allergic reaction had not occurred until Frasier's arrival in the home.
This is at least the third time this poor guy has been "bounced around." Frasier was abandoned out by our property at our new construction site a couple of months ago. He had health issues and was afraid of people, especially men. Through the consistent dedication of FFAA caregivers, Frasier is now a healthy, handsome boy who is no longer afraid of the world (except if it thunders). When his emergency return occurred, Frasier's only foster home option was a home where felines rule the roost. But when Frasier walked in the door, they knew right away this gentle boy was a big black marshmallow! Lewis, (the black cat who thinks he's a dog), uses Frasier as his new rubbing post and playmate. Frasier and the cats' favorite playtime has been at 4 o'clock in the morning, much to the chagrin of his new foster mom, although she admits Frasier has been a perfect gentleman and house guest, otherwise.
Frasier is adjusting to his new surroundings and his new foster family but obviously was quite sad to once again be bounced from people he loved and the place he thought was "home" at last. Dogs have shown tremendous resilience, willingness and the ability to recover or rebound from amazing mistreatment. Some remind me of that inflatable punching toy we had as kids that had sand in the bottom and every time you punched it, it popped right back up. Most can forgive and move on to embrace new life and love, but each are so unique. Sometimes, the "bounce" just hurts too much and their spirit is crushed. Some have a tender, more easily wounded spirit than others and have a much harder time bouncing back.
I went to check on our Great Dane, Bernadette last night. Bernie was tied to a tree for at least a year, starved and kicked hard enough to break her pelvic and hip bones and then abandoned. Bernie's physical body is healing, but not at the rate we had hoped. Bernie's spirit is broken. You can see it in her eyes. Even with all the love that is being lavished on her now, her foster caregivers say she seems so sad. Yes, even in dogs, the physical, mental and emotional all affect their ability to heal. We so hope for the day we see Miss Bernadette's tail wag.
Most orphans that come to us have been bounced around hard, and several times, before they are rescued. We always desperately hope that the last bounce they take will be into the loving arms of people who commit to them until death do they part. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, but in a world with some fickle people, selfish people, mean people — and allergies.
Leanne Williams writes a weekly column for the Daily News.