Joan and Teddy BearOn June 29th, I became a new mom to a very large new furry kid.  I signed up to be a foster parent for a German Shepherd for the German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California.  I went through their process to make sure I was a good pet mom.  After I applied, a volunteer came to my home to check it out and to meet me in person to interview me and spend some time with me in my home to make sure my home and I would be a good fit to take care of their dogs in need.  The volunteer and I will undoubtedly have a long-term relationship given our mutual love of animals and desire to make their lives better.

I was approved and impatiently waited to receive my foster dog.  The same volunteer who met me in my home delivered my new pup to me about a week later.  It was love at first sight!

A photo of My New Foster Pup walking to my front door.

His name is “Teddy Bear,” and I call him “Teddy.”  He is about two years old, although you wouldn’t have guessed it to look at him.  He was emaciated.  Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw him for the first time.  His ribs pushed through the thin skin covering them and his bony hips protruded through his coarse, thin, malnourished fur. He weighed a mere 60 pounds and a healthy weight for this guy is about 100 pounds.  He had a skin and ear infection and needed some love.  My home was ready to supply everything he needed.

Teddy looking out the back door

I guess I could live here

I spent the next couple of weeks giving him as much love as each moment could hold.  He became my shadow and we went everywhere together. As soon as the volunteer left, Teddy and I walked to the Napa River.

Teddy's first walk to the Napa River

Teddy’s first walk to the Napa River

Teddy checking out the river

Teddy checking out the river

a photo of Teddy at the Napa River

Happy Dog celebrating his first day of freedom

The power of touch is important for both human beings and animals.  Throughout the day, I would massage him from head to toe, giving his atrophied muscles some gentle love and encouragement to grow while building trust to let Teddy know he had a safe home and owner.

a photo of teddy on his bed

Time for a massage mom!

I immediately recognized he was special.  He has the temperament of a wise old soul with the fun loving attitude of a pup.  I have two cats and he instinctively gave them the respect of knowing he was entering their home.  It was quite extraordinary to see how good he was with them.  They didn’t immediately return his generous attitude.

A photo of Teddy Bear and my cats, Claire and Trouble Cat

Teddy Bear look at Trouble Cat in the pot and Claire on the chair pad

When the rescue organization told me someone was interested in adopting him, my stomach jumped into my throat.  I had fallen in love with this guy and couldn’t imagine him leaving my home.  In a very short time, he had touched my heart and gave me a renewed desire to more fully explore life and create adventure.  Importantly, one of my goals is to volunteer with returning war veterans who are recovering from post traumatic stress disorder.  I want to volunteer with my dog, particularly a German Shepherd, because I believe we can make a difference.  Given Teddy’s temperament, I thought he’d be the perfect dog for this duty.  After speaking to the rescue organization, they agreed.  I adopted this precious boy and now he has his forever home.

We go hiking….

a photo of teddy Resting after hiking a huge hill

Resting after hiking a huge hill

a photo of Teddy ready to launch a long hike

Teddy ready to launch a long hike

a photo of teddy checking out the view of Napa Valley

Wow mom – check out that view!

a photo of teddy resting at the top of the hill

A good place to rest

a photo of teddy hiking

How lucky am I??

a photo of teddy at westwood hills

Ahhhhhh, the good life

And wine tasting…

a photo of teddy sleeping next to a wine glass

One glass too many

a photo of teddy sleeping on the floor

After a full morning of socializing, Teddy was crashed on the tasting room floor

And work out…

a photo of teddy on my work out mat

Time to work out mom

And he checks out skunks…

a photo of teddy and the bottle skunk off after he was sprayed by a skunk

Teddy’s first (& hopefully last) skunk encounter in his first week in his new home

And he likes napping, especially after eating big meals, which he now can count on three times a day….

a photo of teddy sleeping on his bed

Teddy Crashed on his bed

And he plays…

a photo of Teddy enjoying a chew toy in the yard

Teddy enjoying a chew toy in the yard

And he is flourishing….

a photo of Teddy under the redwood tree

Teddy under a redwood tree

a photo of Teddy taking a breather after a long walk

Teddy taking a breather after a long walk

In a very short time, we’ve already had a lot of adventures.  And it’s just the start.  We count on a lifetime full of adventure and making a difference.  Stay tuned as I’ll undoubtedly share our adventures with you.  I hope you will create your own adventures and add a rescue animal to your life.  They understand the karma of a second chance and will add a dimension to your life that you will never get in any other way.

a photo of teddy's beautiful face

Carpe Diem!

Joan Jakel

Pin It on Pinterest