Jessie has been in foster care for a few weeks now … and her mom is keeping a journal we just  love. She’s still available for adoption and, as you can see, is going to make someone an amazing forever dog. She’s loving, patient, funny, laidback and sweet as all honey …

Jessie: It’s the Little Things

By Abby Knight

The most amazing thing about being a foster is the little successes:   changes so slow, and so subtle that you don’t notice.

Jessie has been with us for just over two weeks. (Only two weeks?  )  She still cowers on occasion.   But the transformation from shy and insecure to confident and just a tad bit sassy is so dramatic from day 1 to day 17.

Since school is still out, she and Boe spend most of the day with the teenagers.  But, as any true dog parent knows, dogs can tell time.  When I pull in to the driveway, two little faces are peering out the front windows waiting for me.  And, I promise, you it’s not my teenagers.

I can barely get into the door when the loving starts (again, not from the teens.)  Both dogs demand a hello, and a kiss, and scratch behind the ears, before they race to the back door for play time.  Out the three of us go to the back yard, where we play fetch and they race each other to get to the tennis ball first.

When we first brought Jessie home, she did not understand the game. Toys, balls, raw hide, were all foreign objects, viewed with suspicion.  Now she gives Boe a bit of a head start before she takes off leaping, bouncing like a deer across the yard.  Boe likes to get the ball and take it to a corner to hoard it.  Jessie is more than eager to show me her prize.

There was a groundbreaking study last week in the news that dogs get jealous. This was hardly news to us dog parents. While sharing the couch is no longer an issue, we have found that my lap is the new Alpha throne.  But the tense moments are fewer and at a farther difference. When it happens, Jessie is given a time out in the crate.

Jessie sleeps in bed with my daughter at night, Boe sleeps with me.  She is not normally in my room but ended up there last week while my daughter was busy.   Boe sat in his corner of my bed, and glared at me as I held onto Jessie and limited her ability in his space.  No growls were exchanged.   But the look in both their eyes told me not to try that again!

Their interactions have grown and developed into the spirited, playful wrestling of two pups.  This has become more evident over the last few days.  The tug of war with toys, the playful nipping, the chase up and down the stairs and around the first floor.  The other night I was in my room with the door closed when I heard what I thought was rolling thunder.  Instead it was the thundering herd of puppy paws as they chased each other around the upstairs.

My confidence in their interactions has enabled me to let them share a crate when we are away for short periods.

When we first brought Jessie home, it was days before we heard her bark.  Then, the rare times she did bark it “sounded like an old man cough,” according to my 15 year old son.  She has since found her voice.  While she is does not bark at every bird or squirrel (ahem…  Boe… cough cough), she does let us know if there is activity on the cul de sac.

The Jack Russell/Chi mix who met me at the door last night in her rocker girl/Brett Michaels puppy dress was the not the timid little pup we brought home.  Last night’s Jessie was confident on her paws; she gave love confident she would receive it in return.  She led the path to the backdoor for play time.  She held her own when fetching balls in the back yard.    She barked back when the neighbor’s terrier barked hello.    While we watched tv, she stretched out confidently next to me and dozed.  She didn’t jump at loud noises or clanging dishes.    She asserted playful dominance over Boe while they played in the hall without growling or snapping.

Jessie needs a family that will return her unconditional love.     She needs a place to run free, but also loves to take walks as well as go on rides.  She deserves to be spoiled with love and attention.  She seems to enjoy the laid back style we have at my house.  We are working on basics.  No eating human food.  No taking out the dachshund’s jugular.    This is a toy.  This is how you play with a toy.  But her eagerness to please would make her easy to train.  I already have taught her how to stand on her hind legs for a treat.