June, 2014. As I continued to work with Shadow each day I began searching for a "not-gonna-break-my-heart" dog to foster and take a break from the special needs ones. But each time I picked one of the easy going dogs that just needed a break from the shelter, they inexplicably would get adopted literally hours before I showed up to take them home. Then...
"A puppy, believed to be under the age of one, was found on the city’s near north side malnourished and in need of medical attention. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was contacted on Memorial Day by an anonymous person. The rope holding the dog was underneath a trash can near the 1900 block of Carrollton Avenue.
“IMPD contacted Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, who took over. Dawn Contos, community outreach coordinator for the IACC, said it could take a couple of months for this dog to become healthy again. The Humane Society of Indianapolis will pick up the dog on Tuesday and help the dog recover from its current condition."
So a half-starved little 7 month old named Sally Sunshine entered our lives. Despite her sad looking state, and a little bit of growling at first, she quickly proved to be a very affectionate and normal puppy. We had to keep her on a carefully controlled light diet for several days to make sure her weakened body could handle it.
She desperately wanted to suckle so for a week I rescinded the normal "to teeth on skin ever" rule and let her suckle away on my hand or arm.
Sunshine had about a three hour bladder so we started crate training from day one with many trips outside throughout the day. She lived for her three meals a day, and the couple of kibbles she got each time she went into her crate. I made a point of petting her every time she ate in the hopes of preventing any possible future food aggression.
She was quite content to be in the crate in-between outings to the backyard and romps in the living room and kitchen. She eventually learned how to chase and fetch different toys and play some tug of war. She always loved to be petted.
After a week Sunshine was strong enough to go on our daily morning walks. She proved to be curious and basically a normal puppy. We had family over several times to visit and she did just fine.
After three weeks her weight had gone from a half-starved 16 pounds to 22. I took her to the shelter so the vet could have a look at her and she walked around and meet lots of new people with no problem.
We ended up watching another dog with a broken leg for a week and she and Sunshine got along great together. Her weight continued to steadily increase as did her ability to run and play with no apparent side effects of her half starved past.
After about six weeks and many daily visits to the shelter Sunshine was ready to stay there full time in search of her forever home. I still spent at least an hour with her each day at the shelter to give her as much experience with going to different places and meeting as many people and dogs as possible. Her only real issue was being a little bit mouthy and sometimes jumping up. Such a puppy.
She was eventually adopted by a family who changed her name to Mia. Happy days.
"Mia Sunshine" as we now called her was later featured in the shelter's advertisements. I got to work with her for a few days while they brought a production crew to the shelter, even making a cameo getting my face licked. Ah, showbiz. It was very interesting seeing our former foster doggie on billboards and the sides of buses, not to mention on TV!