Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Introducing Miss Bananas Foster


For the past six months there's been an absence in the house. After fostering Bonnie (who came from a Florida dogfighting case and suffered neurological damage), she was adopted into a wonderful home and there was no longer an adorable female pit bull in the house. At times the vacuum was so startling to me that it stopped me in my tracks. One day, there would be a permanent girl moving into the house. Of this, I was sure. But when? Brando is eleven and has thyroid issues as well as some mobility problems that require injections of Adequan. Zephyr has Cushings disease, recently had to have a plate implanted in her wrist, and recently was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy (the canine equivalent of MS). Meanwhile, Doug has been twiddling his paws and daydreaming about the days when we were able to wander into the French Quarter where he imagined himself as a sort of celebrity busker. I wasn't sure that any of them were ready for a new dog and my own antsy daydreams of moving added one final reason to put off any decision.

And then, a few months ago, I drove past a gas station where a young couple was selling pit bull puppies from the back of their car. I kept going, then turned back around to introduce myself. Or, I said it was just to introduce myself. I pulled a Sula Foundation calendar from the back of the car and explained the work we do. The couple explained that they hadn't intended to breed the litter, and had already had the female spayed after the birth of the pups. They had all had their shots, and were gorgeous shades of blue and blue brindle. But they couldn't find any takers. I didn't want a litter of puppies, since the Sula Foundation already has a group of adult foster dogs waiting for homes. But I gave them my contact number and offered to help if I could.

The entire time, behind her four rambunctious siblings, the runt of the litter sat very still and seemed to be taking in every word I said. When they emailed me for help a few weeks later, I knew, if nothing else, I was going to take her off their hands. But how could I take one and not help the others? So a Saints player, on the advice of one of our Sula volunteers, took a male puppy. And the other three went to the LA-SPCA with a promise of a spot in their adoption room. (Things didn't turn out quite the way we planned, but I'll tell that story another time--they all did find homes in the end.)

So Bananas, the runt, came home with me. I figured if it didn't work out, I could find a home for her somewhere. The first night, Brando was terrified by her presence. As she stepped towards him, he backed up the whole distance of the living room. Rut ro! Doug was indifferent. Zephyr aloof.

Of course, within a few days, Brando and Bananas were inseparable, and as she came out of her shell, she began to demonstrate all the ridiculous, affectionate traits of a great pit bull. My favorite move: when I sit on the steps of the deck behind our house, she likes to run up from behind and squeeze her head under my arm to kiss me.