Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome (Foster) Home Doji

I have a four legged soul mate.  I found him in an animal shelter 10 years ago next month.  His name is Toby and he has made an amazing difference in my life.    Right now, Toby is curled up in one of his 9 dog beds in my house.  Tonight, he'll be sprawled on my bed and will probably sleep with his head across my ankles.  At some point in the night, when he is comfortable that I am comfortable, he'll move to "his" side of the bed and leave me room to toss and turn until I find his spot with my feet.  In the morning, he'll heave a giant sigh and stretch out as I wake to NPR on my clock radio and immediately reach down to pet him.  When I cook dinner, he'll sit in the dining room where he can watch me.  When I'm curled up in my chair, he's in his "snuggle bed" by my side.  He is an extension of me.  My four legged soul mate.  

But this blog isn't about Toby.  It's about helping someone find his/her four legged soul mate and helping a dog find his/her two legged soul mate.  I understand the mystery and weariness of adopting a dog.  You don't know why they were given up... was he aggressive?  didn't like children?  didn't like cats?  couldn't be housebroken?  too destructive?  expensive medical costs?  For one dog at a time, I'll find out for you.

On Saturday, January 7, 2012, I became a foster mom.  I drove up to Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary ( retrieve my first foster dog.  This blog is dedicated to finding Doji her people soul mate. 

Doji is a 4 or 5 year old Golden Retriever.  Her story is mostly unknown, but we believe that she was purchased to be bred.  At some point her right hip became dislocated and she may have been dumped at a shelter because she could no longer be bred with her dislocated hip.  When Almost Heaven rescued her from the shelter in Huntington, West Virginia, she had a torn ACL as well on her left leg.  Almost Heaven paid for surgery to repair her ACL and started to nurse her back to health. 

And that's all we knew until this weekend, when this beloved creature joined my family.

Now I can tell you more about Doji. 

Doji is as docile as a dog can possibly be.  Granted, she is on the mend from surgery for her ACL and spaying.  Still, from the moment we gingerly loaded her into the car, she hasn't made a single demand.  She curled up in a ball for most of the 2 1/2 hour ride from Capon Bridge, West Virginia, to Maryland.  Every once in awhile she popped her head up to look around and then curled up again. From the moment we got home, her tail has been wagging.  She feasted on a giant bowl of homemade dog food and when hers was finished she hobbled over to Toby's bowl to inquire if he was going to eat it all.  We watched cautiously as she put her nose in his bowl.  Toby has never had any food aggression and we figured if Doji had food aggression, it would be nice to know right away.  No curled lips or stiffened bodies!  Check.

Every time I say her name, Doji's face lights up and she wags her tail.  It doesn't matter if she's curled up in a dog bed or if she's standing up to greet you-- her tail will wag and you can see the smile on her face.  She follows me from room to room.  I'm trying my best to keep her from moving around too much so her knee can heal, but she insists on being by my side.  Yesterday, I spent the better part of four hours cooking and she did her best to lay under my feet.  I'm not sure if she wanted to catch any food that fell from heaven or if she just wanted to be close to me.  She never once poked her nose into the open garbage can where tasty meat wrappings were piling up.  She never sneaked a nose or a lick at the counter top where plenty of food was available for the taking.  She just watched and napped.

She LOVES to be petted.  Sometimes I avoid eye contact because I feel like I'll disappoint her if I don't reach down and give her a good belly scratch.  She'll saunter up to my chair and push her nose under my hand for a good head scratch.  When I stop petting her, she'll give me a paw or nose me again to keep it going.

Although Doji is crate-trained, we haven't had her in a crate yet.  We had ordered a 42 inch crate from Amazon last week and it arrived damaged.  The replacement came today, so from here on out she'll be in the crate while we're at work.  For today, I baby-gated her into a small office with a dog bed and a few toys.  I found her there this afternoon wagging her tail with enthusiasm when I came home.  No sign of any destructive behavior-- just a warm spot on her dog bed.  She eagerly grabbed one of the toys to show me, and carried the toy around the house as she wriggled with excitement as I took her out. Following dinner, she settled into a dog bed in the the living room and is snoozing the night away without any demands.  I wouldn't know she was there if it weren't for an occasional sigh as she repositions herself. 

If you are interested in adopting Doji, please contact Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary.  


  1. Hi Anne, We do not live near Almost Heaven but we have support Carol & Skip for the past few years. We found out about the Rescue through the BumpassHounds & Kitties blog.
    We have owner and loved Goldens for over 40 years and have presently our 5th & 6th.
    We also have the first Rescue we have ever had. We are very involved with our local Golden Retriever Rescue where we foster and do transports. I was fortunate enough to be included on your email list and have observed what a tremendous job you all did to help Carol & Skip during this very difficult time.
    We wish you tremendous success in the coming months and years.
    We pray that Doji will find her forever home very soon .
    God Bless you all for everything you have done and are doing.

    Sheila & Bob Johnson Sr.
    Hamish & Rescue Sophie

  2. Hi mama Anne,
    I adopted my sweet Maisey from Carole & Skip several years ago. she was one of my many senior gals over the years and one of my most special. She passed away 2 years ago and today I only have a 3 year old boy, Oakley, who is sweeter than sweet but will forever require much love and attention as he was rescued from a 'breeder' who never socialized him (grrrrrr). I saw Doji on Carol's site and then on your blog and think I'm totally in love. I miss having a senior Golden girl in my life and wish I could find a friend for Oak. He's been going to day care since I got him and it's helped his fear tremendously - he adores other dogs. I also have 3 rescue cats and all are beyond sweet and loving. What does Doji think of cats? thank you for loving her xoxo - Amy Hanna (

    1. Stacey, our foster is living with us and gets along fine with our three cats.