"It's Always Something..." Stories of my pets, patients and adventures

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The Harlan Chronicles 1

Harlan
I began 1993 as “The Year of Facing My Fears”. Come to think of it, the only real fear that I had was that of dogs. Actually, it was more of a phobia. At first sight of a bushy tail, I would freeze, cry & squeal. Freeze on the spot, cry a little on the inside and then finally, in a high-pitched squeal, desperately beg for someone to get it/he/she away from me.

You know the type.

So, I resolved that I would beat this screwy dog thing. My mind was made up. I decided to become a foster mother to a homeless dog – a dog something along the lines of small, blind and toothless, preferably small enough to fit into my handbag. The dog would get a nice place to stay and if it didn’t work out, I could bring it back. Win-win.

When I arrived at the no-kill animal shelter, I met with an “adoption counselor”. I didn’t dare confess my reason for fostering a dog as I was aware that those “dog-nuts” would never let me have one if they knew. So I confidently told them that I would be happy to foster the most un-adoptable, passive dog that they had.

Within minutes, I was introduced to Harlan. A 50 lb. black and white Border Collie mix who had been rescued six months prior from an abusive and neglectful owner. While all of the other dogs were barking and jumping up to the front of their cages, Harlan was pressed up far back into the corner of his kennel, a little larger than I had originally imagined, sitting square on his butt with his tummy facing me, jaw clenched and looking alot more afraid of me than I was of him. When I asked what was wrong with him, her response was "He's depressed". He was perfect!

Despite the fact that it took two shelter employees to drag him out of his kennel and three to stuff him into my Pinto, I was determined that we would get along just fine. I had a doggie crate waiting for him in my den and I just knew that things would work out. Driving home with Harlan huddled on the floorboard of my back seat, I had time to think…“How would I get him out of my car?” “ Was he house broken?” “Is it too late to turn back?”

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