By Apache Weatherford Hobaugh
Story told by Apache Weatherford Hobaugh (written by Jane Weatherford)
Hi, my name is Apache. I’ve had an interesting life for just being 12 weeks old, and I’d like to share my story with you. I hope you’ll read it and consider helping other pups like me that might need a temporary home.
Four weeks ago, seven of my siblings and I were placed in the drop off cages at the Brown County Humane Society animal shelter. We were left there overnight. The next day some lady took us out of the cage and placed us in the kennel. The kennel was nicer because it was warm and we had more room to play. It wasn’t too bad a place because I had my brothers and sisters with me and we were warm and had lots of good food. The bad thing was that it was so scary when those people came into our kennel. Sometimes they would pick us up and try to make us play. None of us had ever been around people and we were very, very scared. Why couldn’t these big people just feed us and leave us alone? We didn’t want to have anything to do with them. I overheard some of them talking about us. They said we were “under-socialized”. Well we were perfectly social with each other and with the other dogs in the shelter. We just didn’t like being around people. Then I heard them say that if something wasn’t done soon we probably would not be adopted. I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but it sounded like a really bad thing if you weren’t adopted.
A few days later a lady came in to our kennel and took my two sisters away. She said she was going to foster them and socialize them and then find them a home. She wasn’t a mean lady but I was so scared when she came near me that I was glad she didn’t take me. After a few more days a man and a woman came in to our kennel and chose three of my brothers and said they too would foster them and socialize them and then the shelter could find them a home. So then it was just me, Apache, and two of my brothers left. My two brothers were getting more used to people. They would run up to people when they visited us and they would lick and play with the visitors. It was just too scary for me to do that. I just ran to the farthest corner of the kennel and tried to hide from anyone who came to visit. Soon my two brothers were adopted and I was left in the kennel all by myself. I can’t tell you how scared I was. All my brothers and sisters were gone and these great big people kept trying to touch me. Why didn’t they just leave me alone? I overheard the shelter workers say that there were just a few more weeks left to get me socialized or I might never like to be around people. I’m thinking — So what’s wrong with that? But they said it in a very grave voice and that was scary too.
The next day a lady came in to my kennel, picked me up and gave me a bath. I quivered the whole time, mostly because I was scared, but it was a little chilly to. Then she put me in her truck and drove me away. I whined and quivered and stayed hidden under a blanket during the whole drive. What was happening to me? Where was I going? Where were my brothers and sisters? The last time I was in a vehicle I ended up at the shelter and I was so frightened that something really bad was going to happen to me.
When the truck finally stopped the lady picked me up and took me into her house. Thanks goodness there were two dogs in the house so I felt a little better. If these dogs could survive
here, maybe I could too. Soon another lady showed up with three dogs and I got to thinking maybe this isn’t so bad. I love other dogs and I’ll just stay away from the people. But the people had a different idea. They went to pick me up, but I was fast and got away. I hid behind some boxes so that I couldn’t see them. They were so big and just wouldn’t leave me alone. The other dogs weren’t helping me and I was so scared. One of the ladies finally got a hold of me. She wrapped me up in a towel and carried me off on a hike. At first I was so frightened. I just hid my head and tried to pretend I was somewhere else. But after a while I peaked out and saw what fun the other dogs were having. I whined a little and the lady put me down with the other dogs. Then what fun I had. I ran and chased the other dogs. But then I got tired and one of the ladies picked me up and put me in the towel again. So I just rode along enjoying the hike. Being hugged by this lady wasn’t too awful bad. She talked to me and told me a wonderful boy I was. Maybe these two people weren’t so bad.
As it turns out, I have two foster moms. When one is at work I go stay with the other one. It’s pretty cool ‘cause then I have all kinds of different doggies to play with and some kitties too. I have two houses and two crates and lots of treats and toys. The bad thing is these foster moms just won’t leave me alone. They keep picking me up and holding me and giving me treats. I’ve been in foster for two weeks now and I’m actually starting to like my foster moms. They keep me warm and give me food and let me play when I want to and they have a safe place for me to sleep when I’m tired. They have some pretty nice friends too. They take me to meet all kinds of different people and although each new person is scary to me, so far no one has been mean to me. I’m getting a little braver with each person I meet. Apaches are supposed to be brave you know, so I’m trying to live up to my name.
After a couple of weeks in foster, I’m thinking life isn’t too bad. Foster moms are nice. Their friends are nice. I’ve hiked in the woods. I’ve visited people in their shops in Nashville. Perfect strangers on the streets in town have petted me and given me treats. I’ve been on lots of car rides. I walked through creeks and sniffed at horses. I’ve had lots of new experiences and getting through each one has made me more courageous. My 12th week of life was lots better than all the others put together.
Now I hear I’m going on a big adventure. There are lots of puppies at the shelter here in Brown County and so my foster moms think I should go Massachusetts to find my new forever home. They say I’m used to people now and can pick out the perfect family to live with. They know some shelters up there that don’t have enough puppies and would just love to help me find the perfect home. So in a few days, my moms will pack a bag full of treats and toys and blankets for me and I’ll head out east. The best thing is that some of my brothers are going with me so we are going to have lots and lots of fun. I’ll sure miss my foster moms and foster doggie siblings, but I’m ready to find my very own family. I hope my foster moms aren’t too sad when I leave. They’ve helped me become a very brave, confident and happy Apache. I know I’ll find the best family ever. (Thanks Mom Red and Mom Jane for helping me understand that people are OK. I’m ready to move on and really appreciate all you did for me.)
Thanks for listening to my story. And maybe I’ll even send you an update from my new home.
P.S. — My foster moms have had a blast with me and I bet your family would enjoy helping a pet temporarily too.