The Monster Milers and PAWS
Although this week has been one of the worst work-weeks of my life (as everyone on Twitter well knows), there have been a lot of totally fantastic things happening, too. I''m going to start things off with my very favorite thing: my husband has agreed to foster a shelter dog for one month! Yaaaaaay!
Let me back up a second.
A couple months ago I saw an article in Runners'' World about a project called The Monster Milers, based out of Philadelphia. The idea is for runners to volunteer to run with dogs from PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) while the dog wears an "Adopt Me" vest so that potential owners will know he or she is available. I checked out the website but they mentioned there was a long waitlist so I kind of forgot about it, but I still followed them on Facebook, which turned out to be a smart move.
Last week they posted a status saying they unexpectedly had some openings for an orientation the following day, which I had off, and I emailed immediately and nailed a spot. When I got there I felt a little out of place; there were 4 other women, all very fit and all wearing running tights and sneakers; I had come from doing errands and was in jeans and boots and a sweater. It turned out we weren''t taking the dogs out for more than a second, so it didn''t matter, but nevertheless I was very aware of being the only fat chick in a room full of svelte athletes.
We were walked through the idea of the program, the rules and guidelines around their walks (short leash, no iPods/MP3 players, keep an eye on them around kids and other dogs, etc) and then were were allowed to go through the process of leashing and vesting Jerry, an adorable pitbull/boxer mix.
Jerry was so sweet, and so excited to get outside for a minute (we each took him for a quick test stroll down the block) because he had been inside with kennel cough for a week or so.
I was really happy to hear that Jerry got adopted this weekend; he had been in the shelter for weeks, and everyone was mystified because he is so well-behaved and snuggly. I''m really happy that he''s going to a proper home.
After Easter was over I had my first run on my own. I was paired with Bebe, a very good boy, also pitbull/boxer mix. He put his head through the collar himself, and was so good at pacing with me! I didn''t take pictures outside because it began to rain, but this was him laying down after we got back.
He was extremely well behaved; we ran into another dog and they just sniffed at one another, there was no growling or posturing of any kind. Even when a bunch of kids unloaded from a bus directly in front of us, he sat calmly as they approached and patted his head, and he licked their hands and sniffed them, then moved on. He was a perfect gentleman.
Now, I have wanted a dog for some time now, but haven''t indulged this because 1) Brendan doesn''t care for dogs, and 2) I didn''t want to take on that kind of commitment. But when I saw that PAWS needed foster homes for puppies, kittens, cats and dogs, I was psyched. A perfect compromise! I get the chance to see what it would be like to have a dog, but it will be a temporary commitment, and the shelter will cover all of the medical expenses so I don''t have to worry about it.
Brendan, as it turns out, was harder to convince. He loves our 3 cats dearly, and was very concerned that since none of them have ever been exposed to a dog, they would completely flip out. Totally understandable concern. However, when we went to the open house today, Johnny (who is in charge of dog fostering at PAWS) assured us that each dog is cat-tested to see if they can deal with swats, eating next to cats, and other contact without getting predatory. It took a lot of convincing, but finally Brendan relented under the condition that if, after the first dog he didn''t want to foster another, I would concede, no questions asked.
It seems like the average time that a fostering lasts is about 3 to 6 weeks, though I''m sure it can be longer (or shorter). I am trying to prepare myself for the potential heartbreak of getting attached to a dog and having to give them to a new home, but I am hoping that feeling good about doing something kind and helpful will help me get past that.
I''m really excited to have a buddy that will get me outside, especially since it''s finally getting nice out; it will be great to have company in our practically unused backyard too! I don''t know what kind of dog we will be paired up with, but since this will be Brendan''s first dog and only my (barely) second, Johnny said he would try to find someone fairly low-maintenance.
So that''s the news for today, but I have lots more to tell. New post tomorrow!