Rescue Tails - The First Night


I almost lost Murphy twice on his first night home.

We got home and just sat for a few minutes.  When I gave him his supper (kibble), he would not eat it until I walked out of the room.  I guess he was afraid I would try to take it away from him or fight him for it.  He warily stood guard until I left the room, and then I could hear him eating. 

The pet sitter came over.  I had talked with several, but my friend’s pet sitter, Jennifer Rust from Carolinas Critter Sitters, came through for me.  She didn’t have a sitter in my area who was available on such short notice, but she was willing to do it herself until she could get one of her regular sitters lined up. 

She wanted to meet Murphy when I was there.  And she was a godsend.  She asked so many good questions and gave me so many good tips.  But I could tell that she thought I had a project on my hands. And she was so sad about the condition he was in. 

Murphy on his first night home. Photo by Jennifer Rust, Carolina Critter Sitters

Murphy on his first night home. Photo by Jennifer Rust, Carolina Critter Sitters

After she left I put his collar on and told him we were going to try to go for a walk.  It was dark outside.  We went down the stairs of my house and started down the sidewalk.  As “luck” would have it my neighbor opened his door and his two unruly dogs rushed us.  Murphy, terrified, pulled himself out of the collar (which clearly was too loose) and took off.  It took me a few minutes, but I found him cowered in a ball on a neighbor’s porch.  My heart was pounding out of my chest and so was his.

I felt very foolish and ashamed, but I’ve since learned how often this happens with new fosters or adoptees.  (Register that microchip).  I’ve read of some people who double leash to reduce the risk of a skittish dog in unfamiliar territory being able to bolt.  I realize now how lucky I was to find him so close by. I think that he was trying to find my house and ended up on someone else’s porch.  So, in some way, maybe he already felt safer.  Or his was still tired from the anesthesia and that was as far as he could go.  Anyway, I found him.

That night I had the crate upstairs in my room so I could hear him.  It was a restless night for both of us. He was a little restless and whiny, and I was attentive to every move he made.

And the next morning I almost broke him again. I’m not sure how exactly it happened, but as I was carrying him down the steps of my house we both fell.  I think he tried to get away and got out of my arm. He tumbled, but landed on his feet and I didn’t land on him (which would have been disastrous). So, two near misses in about 18 hours.  But I got better.  And so, did he.              

Lessons Learned:

Snug collar or harness/ firm grip on the leash – you don’t know what may scare your new friend or how they will react to other dogs.

Careful carrying and careful of steps – I don’t think Murphy had ever experienced a staircase. 

If you plan to use a dog walker or pet sitter, do your homework – I was fortunate to have a recommendation from a friend.