Foster Home: Terri
Update: Sara Beth was adopted in August, 2008. We received the following update in December, 2010: I adopted Sarah Beth in the fall of 2008. I had seen her “profile” on the GLBCR website for awhile. At the time, I had just lost a wonderful BC/Greyhound mix, named Rosie (a shelter rescue) to a spinal disease. I wasn’t “ready” for another dog yet. But because of Rosie’s wonderful demeanor and “intelligence”, I decided to bide my time surfing the Border Collie and Greyhound Rescue sites….with the idea that “if and when” I was ready, I would have done my “homework” on each breed.
I saw Sarah’s profile….so much of it was familiar….Sarah, like Rosie, had been neglected and abandoned for reasons I will not judge. She had, severe, SEVERE allergies, and according to her foster Mom was somewhat of a “princess”… But, I was not ready to adopt. Rosie’s loss wasn’t reconciled yet.
But, I kept checking back. I did the usual…”if it was meant to be”, she’ll still be available for adoption when I am ready. A couple of months later, I printed Sarah Beth’s GLBCR’s “profile” and picture and put it on my refrigerator. Again…”if it was meant to be”…..
More months later, I contacted Sarah’s foster Mom….( who we now affectionately call “Mama Terri”…..) and inquired about the possibility of adopting Sarah. I admitted I had no “true” border collie experience. But, I did have experience with a BC mix and several dogs with severe allergies. “Mama Terri” agreed and a home visit was arranged. I passed and the adoption process went into full swing.
Shortly thereafter, I was driving from southeastern Wisconsin to Michigan to bring Sarah Beth “home.”
As her profile said, Sarah was very much “go with the flow”. She settled in without complaint. But, this worried me. For several long months, she “kept her distance,” preferring to “view the world” from outside the pack. Despite invites, she slept away from the rest, sunned herself away from us when outdoors, etc. Maybe, I thought, she just “needed time.”
After awhile though, I thought perhaps it was her health issues that were causing the self imposed isolation, I took her to my vet with plans to do whatever would be necessary to help her. It has been an ongoing endeavor ever since.
Sarah Beth would engage “only as necessary.” I bought her toys, beds, treats, etc...she was always “go with the flow”….but seemed somewhat distant. I didn’t “force” her...knowing of her past and health issues. But, I was “sad” in that I felt that somehow I wasn’t meeting a need she had.
Both my vet and I reviewed Sarah’s previous vet records. They showed a dog who had suffered since birth with terrible ear infections and allergies. Working with my vet, we tried numerous modalities. Some were successful...some not. It were the successes that allowed Sarah Beth to come out of her shell. Without what must have been agonizing pain, she was more willing to “interact” and have some fun. But, after time, the allergies would return, Sarah would be miserable….and would again “retreat” to a back corner of the house.
I was at a loss and felt bad for her. I delved into more research and took Sarah in for more tests. It was about a year ago that she was finally diagnosed with the canine version of the MRSA virus in her ears and an allergy to “common mold” (an outdoor mold so common, it’s literally impossible to avoid!). It’s been a long journey since. We have tried various treatments, both “western” and holistic. For each step forward, there have been a couple steps back.
Despite all this, there has been some significant progress. The allergies are being “somewhat managed.” I will be taking her to the UW-Madison vet school for an evaluation at the end of December in the hopes there may be something else that can be done to help eradicate the allergies and MRSA virus.
Through all of this, Sarah Beth has been a “trooper.” I do believe she finally KNOWS she is “HOME.” Where she once “avoided” eye contact, she NOW SEEKS me out. Where she once slept in the furthest corner of the house, she NOW sleeps with me. Where she once kept to her self, she NOW follows me from room to room. AND she WAGS her tail! What a sweet sight!!!!
It should be noted, that because of the aggressive treatments needed to combat the MRSA virus, Sarah Beth has gone deaf. It was an outcome that was expected. But, sweet Sarah continues to “go with the flow” and taken it all in stride. I have since taught her hand signals. She now knows “COME”, “SIT”, “WAIT”, “THAT WILL BE ALL/ALL GONE”, “NO”, “THIS IS MINE”, “OUTSIDE”, and “I LOVE YOU/SCRITCHES ARE COMING!”.
One other thing about her. She LOVES her routines! Do something “twice” with her and it becomes a “routine” which she expects everyone to follow! She doesn’t fuss, get agitated, bark, pace, etc., if the “routine” isn’t carried out. She simply sits straight up, and gives you the “BC eye”...that piercing “you know what you’re supposed to be doing” look; the look that makes you do everything possible to “look away,” that look that finally forces you to “cave in” to keep YOU from “fussing, getting agitated, pacing...etc.” :)
I’ll keep you all posted on the outcome of our trip to the Vet School. (Road trip! Just us girls!)
Know this though….
Sarah Beth has a HOME, she is LOVED, and will always be taken care of.
Thank you GLBCR and “Mama Terri” for letting this “wonderful soul” into my life…..
September, 2008: A month later, her new mom writes: "Just wanted to give you an update on "Princess" Sarah. With all due respect, the girl just does NOT like getting her paws wet in any way!!!! I know you mentioned that in her bio, but she is adamant about not stepping on wet grass even! I can't imagine what winter is going to do to her! The other day, we had to put her on a leash just to take her for a walk in the field behind our house. At times, she even has to be coaxed to walk on dry grass. She so favors stone, asphalt, concrete, etc. Today, I wanted her to go for a walk with Mack and me in the field. She stood on the driveway and just looked at me. I had to call her several times. After much hesitation, she decided to join us, but she walked across the grass like she was walking on hot coals! Paws were high and she looked at me with this look that questioned...."you really want me to WALK on THIS?!?!?!" SUCH a PRINCESS!
"She is playing more now. She will play tug and fetch with me....not with Mack yet. But it is nice to see her "having fun". She is getting more confident. You can see it in her stride (once she gets over the paws on grass issues. :) She still seems...and I really don't know what word to use here....not "at fully at ease". Don't get me wrong...she is wagging her tail, playing, eating well, but it's as if "something is on her mind". I know our other BC was the same way for about 8 months after we adopted her. After that, her demeanor/spirit completely changed. I hope the same can happen for Sarah. I just want her to know she is home."