Saturday, January 15, 2011


Nibs was one of the most rewarding fosters I've had. She was rescued from a puppy mill and was dropped off at my house the day after Beans left. I believe it was on Halloween or the day after because we gave out "Nibs" candies, hence how she got her name. That first night she was terrified, matted and was in desperate need off a bath. Since Beans had just been adopted and Tag was long gone she was the only dog in the house so I took the quiet time to just sit in the same room as her. She didn't seem completely terrified of me, which was a good sign, and after awhile she would even come right up to me. I wanted to reward her somehow so I searched the house for anything that seemed slightly appetizing to a dog. She wouldn't eat anything! By the morning I was a little worried. She was already underweight but she had turned her nose up at everything, including the three different versions of wet and dry food I had ran out to get. I was sitting on the floor a little frustrated, eating the left over Halloween candy and she walked up to me and kind of stared at me. I offered her a piece of candy and she ate it! After calling the roommates in to witness her accomplishing her first big step, we all decided to name her appropriately. And it worked considering our new food themed nicknaming routine.

After she finally had a name, Nibs got over her distaste for food and started eating evvverything. She ate all her food and soon took to sitting on my lap once I bribed her with treats. Her favourite activity was destroying paper. She would take anything, a notebook, a sticky note, a receipt, and rip it into as many little pieces as possible. One day I left my notes for a class project sitting on the coffee table and she climbed up and ripped it into shreds. She had managed to climb onto a table at least a few inches taller then herself and totally destroy my work in less then 15 minutes, which for a dog that couldn't figure out stairs was a big deal. I couldn't even be mad, but I must say my classmates had a hard time believing that my dog actually did eat my homework.

Notice all the tiny paper scraps? She also liked to sleep with my slippers.  
Nibs was different from what I had expected. I was told to take things slow and let her learn to trust. But Nibs seemed to at least want to trust me within 12 hours. She would let me touch her after an hour, would come up to me when I called within 3. She ate from my hand after knowing me less then a day. I decided I could push her. The second day I threw her into the bathtub and washed the years of dirt off her little body. My roommate and I gave her a haircut so we could see her face and she could see ours. I showed her her new collar and leash and spent hours following her around the yard until she kind of got the point. After a week we had made so much progress  I agreed to take on a second foster. I figured the second dog would be able to teach Nibs a lot of things I never could and I was right. Our new foster, Lexi, seemed to understand Nibs was a little different  and took the her new role as teacher right away. With Lexi's help we managed to take actual walks in the neighborhood and eventually trips to the busy downtown core and even the dog park. She took it all in stride and even her annoying habit of marking the house was getting better. Nibs taught me that owning a dog isn't all about obedience. Sometimes its better to just sit back and let them experience whats going on around them. I really took this to heart and with every dog since I try to find a happy medium between me making the decisions and letting them discover the world themselves. And I've learned alot.

We accomplished so much it felt like we had Nibs forever, yet when her new potential family came to meet her I felt like we still had so much to do together. She had only just figured out the stairs! The day before she left she let me have one more special moment, the most amazing moment I have ever had. I sitting on the floor playing with Lexi and Nibs walked up and put her paw on my leg. When I looked down she had her little stuffed pumpkin toy in her mouth. She had never, ever, even looked at a toy with the slightest bit of interest no matter how many times we annoyed her with them. I thought she just didn't care, some dogs don't. But she chose this day, after watching Lexi and I for weeks, to try to do this "play" thing. I slowly went to grab the toy and she backed up and did her best, yet kind of goofy, play bow. Even Lexi was shocked into silence. Nibs dropped the pumpkin, so I tossed it a few feet away and Nibs ran and grabbed it. She did a little lap around Lexi and me, and then let me play a little game of Tug-of-War. I was stunned. Lexi was stunned. My roommates didn't believe me until they got to play with her themselves. It was a great send off on Nibs' part. The next mourning Nibs left with her little pink jacket and with the new name "Hana" - which may have been the biggest disappointment of our time together. I mean come on she had a great name, and to change it to Hana? 

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