February, 2012. Mieshka was our next foster. According to IndyHumane: "This 4 month old 23 pound puppy was trapped in a live trap by members of FIDO. The pup was living with a bunch of semi-feral dogs." She was very fearful at first and came with some pretty specific warnings that she was a major flight risk. Our first time in the backyard she wanted to go to the far back corner and disappear.
But it only took about 24 hours for most of her fear to go away. After that she would closely follow me around happily wagging her tail. She then got a bit nippy with Boomer, but after a few quick corrections and some "laying next to each other submissively" sessions she accepted her new "Uncle Boomer". After that they would run around the deck chasing each other, played tug-of-war and slept next to each other like pack mates.
After a week we had some family over in two shifts to help socialize her. With Boomer leading her in she showed no sign of fear of humans, which was wonderful to see. She let several people pet and hold her and did especially well with the girls. Looked like she was ready to fit right into a happy forever home, no problem.
But then she got a cough and the vets wanted to put her on a 21 day run of meds. So our little Mieshka Bear got to spend over a month with us. We did lots of socialization during this time. We went to Petsmart and Petco several times, meeting lots of other dogs and people. We had two of our nieces and their Golden Retriever sleep over, giving Mieshka her first three-dog-walk. And we took her over to their house as well to get her used to different places.
Since we had her for so long we gave her the full run of the house, which meant taking her out every few hours for house training. She only had three accidents the whole time we had her. We spent a lot of time working on recall, loose-leash walking and basic manners. She should be a wonderful pup to whoever is lucky enough to adopt her.
It took about a week and a half for Mieshka to find her forever home, so I got to see her several more times. She was always very happy to see me, although still a little bit shy at the shelter. But once out in the yards she instantly returned to her happy, tail-wagging and ball-chasing self.
On the last day while I had her in the hallway at the shelter a woman walked by and said, "Oh Mieskha, that means "bear" in Russian." The same woman was speaking Russian on the phone while waiting to be interviewed to adopt a dog... Mieshka! And sure enough, I looked it up and Mishka (or Misha) is the name for the iconic "Russian Bear" and was the official name for their mascot from the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. So on St. Patrick's day our American dog went home to learn the Russian words for "love".