A couple of months ago, I found a wandering dog. She came to me happily, tail wagging, so I brought her home and called the number on the tag and the grateful owner came to retrieve her. A happy ending!

Except. My dog, Milo, was so excited to have another dog in the house, even briefly, that I started to wonder if maybe he needed a full-time friend. 

So I tentatively reached out to the rescue where we got Milo to see if we could apply to foster.

“Foster?” my husband said. “You know you will fall immediately in love with any dog you bring into this house!”

“I will not!” I said, extra-indignant because I knew he was right. 

I applied on Friday night to foster a dog described by the rescue as a “hard case.” I have no expertise whatsoever with “hard case” dogs, but something about her eyes just called out to me. 

They invited me Saturday to come meet her, warning me she was part of a breeder dump, was “basically feral,” and had been mistreated. It seemed like bad form to back out at that point, so I went, sort of suspecting that I was making a terrible mistake.

And I’ve honestly never seen a dog so terrified. When they tried to get her out of her crate at the rescue, she flipped and cowered and braced her legs. They finally just had to tip her out in a heap. She was a total and complete neurotic mess.

So of course I took her home.

Then it took me 20 minutes to coax her out of the car, only to have her bolt inside, bolt back out, and burrow in my daughter’s booster seat for another 20 minutes until I could coax her out again.

“What have you done?!” my neighbor yelled from across the street.

“She’s very scared!” I said. “And anyway, I’m just fostering!”

“Yeah,” she said, snorting and gesturing at her two dogs playing in the yard, “these guys were fosters, too.”

The new dog spent one day hiding in a corner of her crate while I periodically whispered to her and hand-fed her treats and gave her gentle pets through the bars of the crate. It broke my heart because she was so scared but not mean. Plenty of scared dogs growl or snap … but she just stayed in the corner, obviously horribly scared but wanting to trust and desperately craving human connection.

But on Sunday, she came out of her crate and played with Milo and ate like four bowls of food and jumped and ran and went potty outside and walked well on a leash and slept near me all night and …

Anyway, we have a new dog now.