This Old Dog Learns New Tricks

I have to start by saying, thank you SO MUCH to all of you that commented and emailed your advice to us. It is much appreciated! We will be taking all of your tips and suggestions to heart. It is so nice to know that we have many friends and supporters as we face new challenges with fostering. All of us blogging fosters are a little community… know that we are happy to repay the favor anytime you need support!

I try to keep this space very organized and methodical… much like I try to maintain my life! But my world is feeling very topsy-turvy disorganized right about now, so this particular post may be much the same. I apologize in advance!

Gia wrestling with Foster Dad. Her signature move? The Kiss of Death

Have I mentioned lately the fabulousness that is Foster Dad?! He really is the most supportive husband I could ask for… he is my perfect life partner. While I was working yesterday, he was on afternoon doggie walk duty. Which, can be a bit hectic, given that we are still doing some pooch rotating, rather than releasing the hounds all together. Not only that, but while playing with Miss Gia outside, my notoriously terrible multi-tasker was also pooper scooping. For a dog-loving Foster Mama, does it get much hotter than that?! Some of you out there know what I’m talking about… and the rest probably think I’m crazy.

Best friends

Anyways, what may sound like a silly story turned into an opportunity for us to learn more about Georgia girl. As Foster Dad was wielding the shovel with skill, he leaned down to give Gia some lovin’… and she proceeded to melt down onto the ground into a terrified, shivering puddle. šŸ˜¦ Poor baby. She adores her Foster Dad, at least as much as she does me. They share a special bond, so the fact that with a shovel in hand, she didn’t trust him, made J feel terrible. As soon as the tool was down on the ground, she came back up to him wiggle-waggling, but it just reminded us that you will learn new things about your pup’s past everyday. This is why it is so important to approach their training process with sensitivity and understanding, as well as a willingness to adapt your methods as you learn more about your dog. Every dog is different, every dog’s past is different, and maintaining flexibility in your approach will ensure that you provide your dog with a secure foundation for their future. While we have long ago made the decision to only employ training methods of positive-reinforcement, Georgia still deals with issues from her past that create lingering fear and distrust. We will embrace this knowledge as an opportunity to increase her confidence and security in her relationships with us.

He knows the way to this girl’s heart

Not to get too philosophical here, but isn’t that a great way to approach life in general? Whether two or four-legged, we never know what challenges others have faced or are currently facing. If we kept in mind that everyone has their own battles to fight and insecurities to face, perhaps we would not be so quick to make their paths more difficult. We should all be so busy pursuing the improvement of our own journeys, that we have no time to judge the actions of others. Jonathan and I approach our marriage with the philosophy that if both spouses are consistently putting their partner’s desires first, everyones’ needs are met; but what if we brought that theory to all of the relationships in our lives? We would all feel constantly empowered and embraced. To me, that is what life is all about: doing what I can to improve the happiness and experiences of those around me.

“Let the refining and improving of your own life, keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” — H. Jackson Brown Jr.

{Okay, sorry… end soap box.}

You should all know that our brain-storming idea of sharing one of Georgia’s only flaws, actually may have worked! We have a family that sounds pretty darn ideal who is very interested in our baby doll Gia. Fingers crossed that it works out… so far they seem like a match made in heaven! It would be great to have Georgia in her forever home in time for the holidays. We will keep you posted.

If you think you might know someone who would be interested in adopting our sweet girl Georgia, please share her story! Any questions about Georgia or the adoption process can be directed to me (Stephanie!) at

8 thoughts on “This Old Dog Learns New Tricks

  1. That is so sad that there is an object she associates so definitely with fear, it plants the vision in your mind of her past experiences with it:( I’ve known a dog who was afraid of brooms and Shaka was afraid of feet coming towards her. It sounds like you are doing a great job with her, good luck with the adoption!

  2. Awww that is so sad that she was so terrified of the shovel. It makes you wonder what really happened in her past. She is so lucky to have you two in her life now to show her that everything isn’t as scary as she thought it was =)

    Athena seems to be afraid (probably better described as timid) of the human hand. Our most recent trainer explained to us that Athena’s body language when approaching new people may suggest that she had a harsh owner in the past who may have used their hands on her in the wrong way. I almost cried when she explained this to us. But, now we are better able to recognize Athena’s body language when she meets new people that she isn’t too sure about so that we can help her to have successful greetings with humans. She LOVES having human hands all over her once she takes a few seconds to warm up to them. I guess it’s just a matter of time for her to put the past in the past and begin to trust that humans are not going to hurt her anymore.

  3. What a wonderful thing that would be, if Georgia could get her forever home for Christmas. Best gift ever!! So sad that her past life should have her that scared of a shovel but I know she’s in good hands now. Dogs are so much better than us people at overcoming past issues.
    PS – wish more people could think like you!

  4. Have my paws crossed that Georgia finds her forever home for the holidays! That is so sad about her fear of the shovel, I was never abused and can’t even imagine. She is lucky to have you guys to foster her!

  5. I completely agree (and I think we all need to get on our soapbox once in a while!). Everyone’s struggles are so individual that approaching people from a place of acceptance and understanding goes a long way šŸ™‚

  6. Our boy Hades is crazy terrified of brooms but I don’t think anyone ever abused him–I think he just is kind of a chicken! Haha. I think dogs who didn’t live indoor lives often find household objects to be terrifying regardless of being abused. There’s nothing to make you feel worse though when your dog looks at you like they think you may have intended to hurt them. Ohh the innocence of pups!
    If my boyfriend ever scooped poop I’d fall over dead (okay he has once or twice when I was away,) but I know the feeling of that support. Jay has always gone along with my foster and volunteering efforts even though I know he’d like to scale back. I’ve been trying to give a little too, though, and allow him a break now that our two fosters are gone, but I still have that itch!
    Good luck with your beautiful girl!

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