We stopped to rest at the park, and I sat on the bench and gave the dogs attention as they laid and rolled in the grass. We were in no hurry, and were under a huge, shady tree in the center of the park. This gave us a 360 view of all the other walkers, joggers, kids, and dogs, though our sitting area was quiet. And Zoey's fear shifted into curiosity, then contentment. She settled in and laid down with my dogs, eyes blinking gently and no longer vigilant to the other activity in the park On the way home, her tail went back up, and she walked much more confidently. I felt like a million bucks, and thought to myself, "She has come a LONG way since May 19... She's about ready to be adopted!" It felt like a huge win. I am quite proud of how well my dogs have instructed her... and they do deserve most of the credit!
*** FLASH FORWARD TO THIS EVENING ***
I attended a dinner tonight for our local Japan-America Society. It was at Sama Zama (the new One Bite), and I talked Kelly into joining since neither of us had been there yet. We arrived about 15 minutes late due to a soccer game Kelly was watching. No big deal.
But if we hadn't arrived late, we may have been sitting at one of the big tables rather than the "kids' table" (a 4-seater off to the side). This ended up to be significant. Patty introduced us to our dinner company, Mindy and Eric. I'd heard of Mindy for years, as she teaches Japanese in the Olathe district, and have been at some of the same language competitions in the past, but had never met her. She and Eric are both awesome & we had a blast talking with them.
At one point I mentioned my dogs (they're Japanese, after all), including Zoey, my foster pup. And they mentioned that fellow Japanese teacher Dianne was looking for a dog, as she & her husband lost their 18 year old mixed breed last fall. Mindy was telling us that she & Dianne just returned from Japan two weeks ago, and saw Shibas all over, and they had both fallen in love with them. I showed her a photo of Zoey and she said, "She looks just like Dianne's old dog!" I gave her my card with my information on it, but wasn't expecting anything.
BUT apparently as we were all on our way home, Mindy texted Dianne to tell her about Zoey, because Dianne called me before I had even pulled in to my driveway, to see how soon they could meet her! And... Long story short, Dianne and her husband Jerry just left my house. They loved Zoey, and showed me some photos of their old boy, Boomer, and he looks a LOT like Zoey. (Larger, but with the same pointy ears and curved tail, and SAME coloration!)
They are experienced with dogs and enjoy daily training. Sounds like Boomer had a very active/smart personality & they loved the challenge of keeping him engaged. We still have to go through the application process, but I think they'd be a FANTASTIC home for Zoey and they sound like they want her.
I'm going over there to do the home evaluation tomorrow night, and they're going to try to get the application done before then! Unbelievable. So, so excited and hopeful that this is the perfect home that little Zoey has been waiting over two years for. That would be sweeter than tonight's かき氷 (Japanese snow cone)!
Update: The home visit went well, and Zoey was able to move into her furever home. After just a few short days she is doing well, and is very happy. Here is a picture of Zoey catching some zzzzz's in her new home. Congratulations Zoey on your graduation from "foster dog" to MSIR Alum!
(Jen R. MSIR Foster Volunteer)