Oh me, oh my…have we really let it go over a month without an actual foster blog post for Cora Beth? I mean, sure, she’s gotten plenty of activity and exposure on the Lucky Blog Facebook Page, but this is Cora Beth’s first page to call all her own.
Cora Beth arrived to DC July 22, and she waited quite some time to get there. Poor thing arrived at the shelter in Florence County, SC over a year ago, incredibly terrified and I suspect far more wary of people than she is today. After some time in foster care down in South Carolina, Cora Beth began to come out of her shell and start finding her way towards transport.
After we lost Seth, I took a few weeks to take a step back and take some time to heal. Taking on a new foster was, for me, a way of finding my way towards acceptance, and finding a way to move forward. I was kind of banking on an easy foster, so as to get back on the bike with some training wheels. I inquired about a few local fosters, and then with a new transport on its way, I was asked if I would be up for taking a shy dog. If I would be willing to take Cora Beth. I knew how many transports had passed her by, and when called to the task, all I could think to say was “of course I will foster her.”
As we prepared for her arrival, I got in touch with CB’s last foster mom in South Carolina, who cared for her over the span of three months, until she left on transport. She was very kind in giving me lots of helpful information about her personality, her quirks, and what to expect. I have to say, lots of that information was spot on, and the most helpful advice she gave was “She may cringe and shiver and stop eating and make you feel just awful in the beginning. But time is her best friend.” And sure enough, having that in the back of my mind kept my feelings from getting hurt when Cora Beth showed up at my home and really wanted nothing to do with me.
Cora Beth is a beautiful soul, but clearly that beautiful soul was broken by someone along the way. Someone somewhere in her life taught Cora Beth that people are not to be trusted. In her first days, she ran when I would come near her. She flinched when I would reach over to pet her while laying on the far end of the couch, and many times jump off, seeking out a dog bed or spot on the floor so she didn’t have to be near me. When I brought her food dish to her, she backed away as if I was feeding her cyanide. Every act of kindness was received with suspicion. And still, some of those acts are still observed a little warily. Though in her defense, I didn’t exactly get off to a great start by shoving off-transport meds in her mouth and putting frontline on her back.
But for her wariness of humans, Cora Beth finds comfort and guidance in her canine friends. For every time I would pick up the leash and she would keep a safe distance, if Ollie went towards the front door, so did she. On trips to the dog park, she would keep a close eye on her little foster brother, keeping a close eye and counting on him to find comfort amid the things that made her nervous.
Gradually, Cora Beth started to let her guard down. She would allow me to give her a little scratch behind the ears, and no longer flinched when I would lean over to pet her on the couch. On our walks around the lake, her tail would be raised and she would have a casual gait about her. She still backs away from me when I come to her with her dinner, but she rebounds more quickly. She would find new friends at the dog park to play with, and take her laser focus off Ollie. And tonight, as I write this from the loveseat that she would never sit on as long as I was seated here, Cora Beth is cozily curled up within inches. And when I lean over for a pet and rest my arm on her body, she opens her eyes for a moment and then drifts back to a gentle sleep. Maybe she knows that this is our last night together, and is trying in her quiet way to tell me that she’s all right with me after all.
Tomorrow we will be bringing Cora Beth to a weekend foster while we go out of town for a wedding, and it looks like we won’t be having her come back to us when we get home. But it’s for the best reason possible. After waiting a year to get to DC, Cora Beth ultimately found her family within the first 24 hours.
The day after CB got to town, she came to her first Lucky Dog adoption event in Gaithersburg, MD. When she got there, we assigned her to a handler. Frances is a volunteer who, at the time, was on summer break from college, and on that particular day, was the person on the other end of Cora Beth’s leash. Scared and shy as she was at her first event, something about Cora Beth was endearing to Frances, and perhaps reminded her of her own family dog, Rosie.
A couple days later, an application came in from Frances’ mother, Kate. And a week later, at the next week’s adoption event, Kate spent two hours hanging out at Cora Beth’s side. And two weeks later, she was back…having driven from Silver Spring, MD to Falls Church, VA to see her again. It was clear that this woman was smitten with Cora Beth, standoffish-yet-curious adoption event attitude and all. The only hangup – the family was going on vacation at the end of August, and knowing about Cora Beth’s shyness, they didn’t want to adopt and leave her with a dog sitter. They wanted everyone to be home, and staying put for awhile, so they could get a start together on the right foot. I respected that, but I also cautioned there was a possibility that Cora Beth could be adopted before they get back.
Nevertheless, Kate’s family went through the adoption approval process and completed their home visit the morning before leaving for vacation. We also met the family at the dog park so they could see Cora Beth outside the stressful adoption event setting. And wouldn’t you know it, she showed herself as a social butterfly with her canine friends and pranced around like a gazelle, so she could show the family how lovely she is in her element. It was official – the whole family was on board to give Rosie a sister, and they were hoping it could be Cora Beth. And hoping that she wouldn’t impress any humans in the two weeks before they got back to town. They will be back on Saturday, and are fully ready to adopt on Sunday at our Labor Day eve adoption event.
Obviously, Cora Beth didn’t get adopted (in fact her new mom has so cutely been sure to check in after the last two adoption events to make sure she was still around), and I’m thrilled that this loving, patient new mommy who sees Cora Beth’s beautiful soul through the guard she has put up, is going to give her the forever home she deserves.
Cora Beth and I have spent the last month trying to understand each other, and while it’s been challenging at times, time really is her best friend. In a way, I’m sad that we didn’t get a little more of it, but this lady’s happy ever after has been a long time coming, and I know when I leave her tomorrow, I am effectively sending her to a place where she will get lots and lots of time in the weeks, months, years ahead to be the best, happiest, most loved Cora Beth that she can be.
I think a lot of puppy kisses are owed to the wonderful Florence County fosters, especially to Sharon for taking such care to help me know what to expect with Cora Beth, and to our amazing FAHS Lucky Dog ladies Stephanie and Liza, for giving this girl all the love and support she needed to get where she is today as a Lucky Dog. I have a hard time grasping where she started, but I know she has come a long way.
While I didn’t do much in our comparably brief time together, I am grateful that by opening my home at, what turns out to have been exactly the right time, I was able to open a new life for this wonderful, and now truly Lucky Dog.
Eagerly awaiting the opportunity to share a post-adoption update,