As I recall the conversation went sort of like this:
Carol: I have a lady who said she “found” this Italian Greyhound on the side of the road.
Me: Oh, do you want me to foster it?
Carol: Can you? Maybe just for the weekend?
Me: Is it a male or female?
Carol: (knowing I prefer males) Ahhh, it’s a female, and it’s small.
Me: Well, OK I’ll try it.
Carol: Oh yeah, it’s also a puppy.
Having never fostered a puppy before I left to meet the woman in the parking lot of a nearby restaurant. Needing moral support I also took my 17 year old daughter who adores all animals. The dog was in a crate in her car. She said she can’t pick the dog up, she lets it come to her. Red flag #1. She brought the dog over to my crate and placed it inside. Sheepishly, my daughter and I peered into the crate. She signed the surrender papers and we quickly said goodbye. As we climbed back into the car I angrily whispered to my daughter “That is not an IG, it’s a flippin’ Chihuahua.” Red flag #2.
As soon as we got home I immediately called Carol at her work to inform her of this momentous error. I didn’t even want to bring it out or introduce it to my dogs since I assumed it wasn’t going to stay with me? One hour later Carol was at my door. She went to take the little girl out of her crate and the puppy went ballistic and tried to wiggle, kick and bite her way out of her grasp. Red flag #3. I then learned the professional trick dog people do when they handle a difficult dog–they wear gloves. What a concept? Work or garden gloves make it a lot easier to deal with a fearful 3.5 pound puppy. I was about to ask Carol how quickly we can get rid of this Chihuahua when she announced it was an Italian Greyhound. The type they were breeding 30 years ago for a miniature size. Oh God, now what do I do? Carol offered to take her for me. My insides screamed “Take it, take it” but my daughters face said something else. My head spinning, I sat immobile. Right now I should tell you a secret, Carol is not only the local IG Rescue Coordinator, she is also psychic. Reluctantly, I agreed to “try to foster it–whatever it is” and on the condition I get to keep the garden gloves. Deal. Carol put her in a harness and made a tiny collar out of a cat collar with smaller holes. Her parting words to me were “In 24 hours this might be a totally different dog?” As the door closed I had that sinking feeling of dread and doom, will this be my first IG foster who will be unadoptable?
I gave the puppy a little time to settle in, get used to her crate and our house. Mustering up all my courage, I approached the small crate, and would wrap her up in a blanket with my big gloves on. I must have looked ridiculous holding onto a 3.5 pound dog, like it was some kind of wild animal. I petted her and talked gently to her for a few minutes every few hours. No lie, within 24 hours the gloves and blanket were gone and this tiny little girl would not leave my lap. I enjoyed showing her off to my family since she was so incredibly small. I joked that she isn’t really a dog, she’s a wind-up toy. We tried thinking of an appropriate name for her, most didn’t fit. My sister came up with Paris since she resembled the type of dog the heiress carries around. Paris now enjoys everyone she meets. She is learning commands and knows her name. She bounces around in our backyard like a rabbit. She has at least 4 adorable outfits to fit her and keep her warm. We worried about her size and climbing stairs and jumping on furniture. Paris has no boundaries, she goes up and goes down anywhere she wants to. Paris is an IG who loves to snuggle under your favorite blanket with you, but has also been known to put my older, bigger IG’s in their place if they approach her without respect. My husband enjoys recreating the opening scene of “The Lion King” while holding Paris up as Simba. I have learned so much living with Paris, including the process involved with indoor training a small dog. Her personality is huge compared to her size. We all adore Paris but no, we will not adopt her. Someone wise once told me I could do a lot more good fostering, than just keeping a lot of dogs. Paris’s life starting out with me was anything but simple, but she has really come into her own and has been adopted by a loving family in Illinois.