Finding My Forever Home : Lulu’s Story

Sometimes, life leads you to the right decisions. I was missing having a dog in my house after my little JRT passed away at 16 years old. Life was easier but somehow it seemed something was missing in our small family of three. My friend A had recently adopted a beautiful cross breed pup, and then a few months later, an older dog with a great personality. I admired her magnanimity and  saw that her family really enjoyed having the dogs so much. At the same time, I was also looking around on the internet and had some dogs on short list. Lulu caught my eye because she was really pretty. What's more, the description of her personality as "a sweet and gentle disposition that endears her to anyone who meets her", "reserved and very well behaved", "undemanding" sounded perfect for me. Coincidentally, I then saw Lulu's picture on friend A's FB wall when she liked a post about Lulu by Hope Dog Rescue. I took that as a sign and made an enquiry. 

A few days later, volunteer, Lisa called to ask some questions and this was quickly followed by a house visit. Poor Lulu was so scared because there were 4 people from Hope, 3 from my family and 3 from next door (my sister's family) - we were all so excited to meet her. She spent the few hours with her tail between her legs, walking around nervously. 

The following week she came to stay. She was so easy to walk and followed me closely. She was not active, sleeping most of the day and her sad, soulful eyes held little spark. One morning, I woke up and she was not in the house and the patio door, open. Walking out, I smelt and saw poo everywhere. She had diarrhea and had somehow clawed open the aluminum patio door, jumped over the short gate and was stuck outside. There was poo on the patio and the little garden - but not a smudge of poo in the house or on her paws! She was really desperate not to dirty the inside of the house. What a considerate and clever dog.

For many weeks she basically kept to herself and minded her own business, only showing any interest when I came home with a shy wagging of tail (which was still mostly down).  The children were a little disappointed that they couldn't play with this dog - but this dog didn't know how to play. She was however very easy going with them, and put up with many hugs and squeezes. She was not much interested in food, and also wary of treats, so it was hard to coax her into doing anything. I reminded myself that she had lived on the streets her whole life.

After School Cuddles
Today after a year, she is quite different. She wags her tail excitedly to see us home, even my husband - whom she ignored for months! She greets the kids when the school bus drops them off, and she is always the first one they will want to kiss and hug. She loves sneaking to my sister's house next door for morsels of salmon skin, or the fat, chewy bits of roast beef. She has two families to love her, that's for sure. Some days, if she's in the mood, she'll even play catch with you! Still, she is very much her own dog, indulging you only if she feels like it. Many a time, we still see a lot of sadness in her eyes.

After Bath Snack
Are we glad we got her? Definitely. We've always had a dog in our family and it just seemed a natural thing to complete the family. My child who sometimes laments being an only child is happy to have a dog for a sister (I suspect, for an 8 year old boy, this is way cooler than having a human baby sister!). We may not always know what to do, or what is normal behavior for a former street dog adjusting to a home, so many thanks to god-ma Lisa for being available to support us on that.

Lulu watching world cup Argentina vs Belgium with the boys

Written by : Hong May Kong (Lulu’s forever Mommy)

Note from HOPE : Adopting an adult or senior street dog is rather different from adopting a puppy. A puppy may never know how tough it is living on the streets. An adult street dog would have survived accidents, dog fights, abuse, starvation and endured sun and rain just to make it through the day. Thus, when you adopt them, a lot of patience is required. Many of them come "fresh from the streets". They have never been in a car, a lift, or a home. They might be terrified of a leash / collar because they may have been caught previously or dislike the feeling of being choked. They may be scared of certain family members or sounds and try to bolt. Some don't even know how to drink from a water bowl because they have drank from puddles on the roads all their lives.

Adopting an adult or senior street dog is extremely rewarding. It might be challenging as well, and lots of patience and understanding is needed, but the rewards from seeing them learn to adapt and eventually realize that they finally have love, home, regular meals and a forever roof, is something money can't buy and that is priceless.