Monday, September 24, 2012


The day after I posted Shaka's ad, I got a really promising call from a local fireman who was looking for a new dog. He had his last dog, another pit bull, for 13 years and loved her dearly. He had a big house with a yard and a teenage daughter who would be happy to share her bed. He was excited to have a dog that he could take off-leash hiking because he last girl had a strong prey drive and was always on leash. He also said he would be happy to let me have Shaka when he had shifts at the fire-house which was something I put in the ad(free dog-care so I could still see her!) We set up an appointment for him to come meet her the next day!

I was so excited, I got up early to bathe her and practice her commands. As usual, everyone was distracted but Shaka.

Norman is distracted by his own tail. No wait, it's the cat.

Kaya is distracted by Marty. Norman is distracted by Kaya.


Everyone is wondering why the kitten is taking so long to eat her treat.

Yawn! 2 have had enough.

Shaka is wondering why the kitten is leaving training mid-session.

When he arrived, I decided to put my dogs inside so he could have the chance to meet her without having to fend off my 2 overbearingly friendly lovers. This was a huge mistake. I didn't realize how much it would help her trust a new person to have her buddies around. He greeted her with a soft voice and stretched out his hand for her to sniff, but she stood there with her head low and her eyes gazing up at him with not a speck of trust. She didn't retreat but she was very guarded and showed no signs of warming up.

He asked if he could take her on a walk which I found strange that he didn't want to spend a little more time letting her adjust to him first, but I agreed and went inside to get her leash. She marched up the stairs behind me and I let my dogs outside as I went in. With their presence, she did a complete 180. She lit up, tail wagging, mouth open, smiling, jumping up and down with delight at the sign of the leash. She even happily went over to the guy for pets. This is when I realized it was going to be much harder than I thought to find her the right person if this one didn't work out. What if she just needed much more time that we didn't have?

He took her on a quick walk and came back very impressed with her manners towards other dogs. I knew how great she was with other dogs, but was concerned that he was not connecting with her, but was simply impressed with her stellar temperament. Like he was checking things off his list, but not actually bonding with her. He left and said he was interested in taking her for a overnight trial, but I had a heavy heart about it. Should I let him give her a try and hope she just needed a few hours with him to warm up or should I just shut this door and wait for another call?

I did get a few other promising calls. There was one guy, who seemed very friendly and nice, but mostly clueless about dogs. "Will a couple 15 minutes walks a day be enough?" Yes, she is a low-energy dog and will not go bat-shit crazy with that much exercise, but for her well-being she should be allowed more time to run and explore, like hiking. "But I can take her to the dog park on the weekend." She loves other dogs and playing with them, but at a dog park she will most likely be found standing behind you feeling overwhelmed. "There is another dog I want to adopt also, do you think it is a bad idea to bring 2 new dogs home at once?" Yes, probably.

Another guy who called was retired and wanted a dog to spend all his time with. He would take her everywhere with him, including regular trips to Tahoe! But he lived a good hour away and I was hoping to find someone more local so I could still see her from time to time. I was also hoping to find her a home with other animals since she connected so much to mine.

Only one woman called. She had 3 cats and 2 horses. She said she was having a hard time finding a dog she was interested in who was also cat-friendly. She was really drawn to Shaka's photos because she looked a lot like her boyfriend's pittie girl, Daisy. She lived right in Oakland too and her horses are stabled right near our regular hiking spot! I noted in her ad that Shaka has seen several horses on our hikes and has been unfazed by them. She even walked up and sniffed one nose to nose. It was so sweet!

There were also several calls who I just lied to and said she had already been found a new home. When you hear a smug voice blurting out, "I'm calling about the pit bull," red lights go off in my head. One caller said they were pit bull breeders, but wouldn't breed her. Duh. I didn't even bother saying she would be fixed before going home anyways. No thanks.

 Shaka needed a family of her own. She needed someone who was happy-go-lucky to bring out her silly happy side. She needed someone's bed and couch to sleep on. She needed someone who would spend too much on her food and treats. She needed someone who wanted a frequent driving partner. She needed someone who wanted a soppy little puppy in a bulldog outfit. She needed someone who would adore her and treat her like a family member instead of a cool backyard ornament.


  1. Ugh. I am dying to know what happens to Shaka! I am so nervous for her!

    1. Stay tuned, I have several more Shaka posts to come!

  2. Based on your experiences with her, it seems she would do best in a family that already has a dog. Since you're getting a lot of calls, hopefully you'll find the perfect fit soon!

    1. I was thinking the same thing, but I also thought it would be awesome to see her bond with a person and not need the presence of another dog to make her feel safe and happy.

  3. I can't imagine being faced with finding a home for a dog. For me a great part about fostering for me so I don't have to be involved in that situation. Kylie went to a home I wasn't crazy about and they returned her less than 24 hours later for going after their cat. I didn't want her going there anyway because they only wanted one dog and I thought she'd be lonely but ultimately it did seem like a good home and it wasn't my choice. When things don't work out for my fosters I just say okay, it wasn't my choice anyway, and sit back and let the process take its time. That's a lot of pressure for you, I hope things are going well! I didn't realize she wasn't fixed yet. Kaya must not be a bossy dog at all or that might bother her! Your pups really are so wonderful. And on a side note, Norman's face never fails to melt me!

    1. It would have been easier if it had started out as a normal foster situation and I would have known all along that the outcome would be her finding her forever home. But finding her as a stray, I have been torn all along about keeping her or not. I simply adore her, but it has also been stressful!

      Kaya is actually a pretty dominant and bossy dog. She has very little tolerance for rude dogs and has taken corrections to other dogs into full blown fights before, which was really scary. Luckily, I figured out what makes her tick and can avoid those encounters now. It's never been about gender for her either, though she did once tell a huge 100+lb dog to get his balls out of her face.

      On the flip-side, when it comes to her crew, they can do no wrong. Her tolerance is sky-high when she's with her buds. Besides that, Shaka is VERY low-key and sweet as pie, not sure how anyone could ever have an issue with her. She shares her meals with my kitten:) But so does Kaya...