The Electrician and I are happy to welcome our latest foster dog to the dollhouse: Bernadette. My awesome husband met one of SCARS’ doggy chauffeurs Friday after work, who had driven our new guest down with a handful of other dogs from an area in the northern part of the province. When he texted me to state they’d made the transfer, I replied, “What is she like? Pretty?” Little Bernadette came to us with very little information, not even a photo, so I had no idea what to expect.
His only response was, “Hairy.”
Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, which which we are proud to volunteer as a foster home, accepts animals from pounds in rural and municipal areas who have been unclaimed, not adopted, and are facing euthanasia. In a number of these facilities, the time an animal is held before he or she will be killed is as brief as three days, so SCARS offers hope to many, many animals in dire circumstances. Bernadette came to us from a municipal pound, and she is alive (and currently curled up peacefully by my feet) because of the dedication of SCARS volunteers on the front lines, who often see animals in the most horrible circumstances and work tirelessly to bring them into SCARS’ care and into safety.
Bernadette is named for the eponymous song from 1967 by The Four Tops. The Electrician and I decided we will give our fosters names related to songs or musicians if the dogs come to us without names, carrying on the theme that started with “Sweet Caroline.”
Upon her arrival yesterday, Bernadette was two things: filthy and terrified. She did well in our yard, but was so scared to enter the house that she just cowered in the porch and tried to hide under my shoes. The Electrician had to carry her downstairs so I could brush her as much as I could and clip the mats from her coat; then he carried her up to the tub where we tried our best to shampoo the grime from her very dense coat.
How so much dirt accumulated on such a wee dog is beyond me, but Bernadette stood like a statue in the tub, shaking no matter how much I warmed up the water: she did not fight us in the least. When I rinsed her with the showerhead, the water running off her quivering little body was the colour of chocolate milk. The whole time, she was nothing but patient, even as I worked on the snarls in her coat. Under all that stress, in a strange place, and during what was quite likely her first bath ever, Bernadette quietly allowed us to perform all the indignities necessary for her to become a (decent-smelling) resident of the dollhouse.
After all the grooming, she curled up in a tight ball and slept straight through until the morning. She was so exhausted that I couldn’t wake her up enough to finish brushing out her coat. Unexpectedly, she snores.
This little pup is so incredibly sweet, and is so grateful for a sliver of attention. I’m astounded by how well-mannered she is, especially for a dog who seems to never have been in a house before. Tonight, we had a family dinner with The Electrician’s mom and grandparents, and my auntie. Bernadette lounged on a dog bed in the living room and was quite content to stay there while we ate baby back ribs. There was no whining, no begging at the table, none of the normal things a dog would do when the humans were eating something so desirable to a canine. She merely snoozed by the heat register and showed no interest in being a pest.
Some lucky family, who is willing to spend some time brushing her regularly, will have a wonderful companion in Bernadette. We’re happy to have her for the time being, but we can’t wait for Bernie’s fairytale ending. This sweet little girl deserves all the things she has missed out on so far.
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