Foster homes - the first stop in our program dogs' journey to the good life - are an invaluable part of A Rotta Love Plus. When a foster home decides to keep its foster dog forever, you may overhear us joking, "another one bites the dust." But as you'll see in this post about the Williams' family experience with Sula, like many other "foster failures" before them, the match between dog and home was just too perfect to resist. Click here to learn more about fostering for ARLP.
Blog post by Seth Williams.
In early June, we were spending a typical Saturday out and about and had no idea that a new chapter in our lives was about to open. A phone call from ARLP foster coordinator Amy let us know that ARLP had visited Minneapolis Animal Care and Control (MACC) to evaluate a Rottweiler for foster care and, while there, they were alerted to a second female - of the 'Rottweiler mix' variety - that might be a good candidate as well. Seems the MACC staff arrived at work one morning and found her tied up in their front yard and saw some potential "amazing" in her. But she needed a home. Could we take a dog? Sure! Today? No, but how's tomorrow work? Done. She had her temporary home.
Amy and Larry arrived the next day with a stunning little female on the other end of the leash.
That 60-pound, grey and tan Rottie mix walked into our patio that Sunday in June and, though we didn't realize it at the time, into our hearts as well.
Sula. Photo by Lp Reyes
We did the initial meet n' greet, got her settled, and rustled up a bag of food, some treats, and toys, and off went Amy and Larry.
We had decided on the name 'SULA' the night before her arrival based on a photograph Amy sent us. Sula's snout had a tan marking that looked like a mountain, and I was instantly reminded of a beautiful peak in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana named Sula Peak. She was as beautiful as that peak.
We began our Foster journey, intent on finding out what made this girl tick. Why was she abandoned? Was there something we weren't seeing? What could it be? A few weeks passed without learning any such information. What was happening, however, was Sula's subtle yet effective integration into our family.
Sula was brought into a home that already had two humans, a four-year old Lab named Hoolie, who has seniority, and a four-year-old (or thereabouts) Rottweiler named Andy, who came to our home a little over a year ago from the State of Texas. Also in residence was a 13-year old feline with an attitude to match.
Andy, of TX200 fame. Photo by the Williams' family
Sula meshed into the daily routine and was readily accepted into the pack by the pack dudes. The cat tested this new arrival but soon decided she was worthy of feline companionship as well.
Training started with Rott n' Pit Ed, and attendance at Adoption Day events was planned and executed. All this time, we humans found we were constantly challenged by the idea of Sula one day leaving our family.
Sula and Seth. Photo by Lp Reyes
It was becoming evident that we were bonding and enjoying having her in our family. Besides, we were learning about the 'inner' Sula. Who else would understand her, know her likes and dislikes? But we found comfort in ARLP's ability to find the 'perfect' home and knew our job was to give her the best foundation as possible for success in her new home.
Sula and Hoolie were fast becoming play companions and seemed to find great joy in eachothers' company. Andy, the cerebral Rottweiler, would engage Sula once in a while, but mostly seemed to watch in awe as Sula and Hoolie expended great energy in nothing more than play -- a concept that baffles Andy.
Hula and Soolie. Or is it the other way around? Photo by the Williams' family
When the applications for Sula started rolling in, our discussions of making Sula a permanent member of our family took on a sense of sincere purpose. Several days of discussing the pros and cons helped us discover that Sula had, in a bit under two months, in fact become a family member. If she were to be adopted into another home, we would miss her terribly, Lab Hoolie would lose a true play companion, and at the end of the day, our family would have an empty hole left behind.
Discussions conducted, evidence weighed, decision made. Sula was in her forever home.
Now we understood. Now we found, in the decision, joy, peace, and completion. It was, and is, the right thing.
We will continue to foster, albeit short-term, but anything we can do to help these critters successfully navigate waters they are thrust into, through no intent of their own, is time and effort well invested.