In October, I saw the cutest German Shepherd I had ever laid my eyes on at a shelter I had to go and see.  I expressed my desire to bring him home to my boyfriend to which he laughed and brushed the idea off. 

Little did he know, I was determined to foster this dog no matter what.  I saw him on Sunday, made an appointment to see him on Monday, and by Wednesday he was in our home. 

When the staff brought him into the play pin Charles was shy, but super friendly.  He brought me a ball to play with him.  After a short time spent with him and a few pointers from the foster staff, I signed the papers to foster him for 30 days and the rest is history. 

When he first came home, he was very cautious. My boyfriend had a lot of concerns due to the fact that Charles had been found on the streets and the shelter had limited knowledge of his behavior and personality.  I saw this as a positive challenge, but not an excuse to not bring him home.  I was willing to struggle through the ups and downs of getting to know an animal and gain their trust. 

The first night was awful.  We put him in a crate provided to me by the shelter to have him sleep in at night.  He cried and whined the entire time.  Being indoors was very stressful for him and it was also stressful for us and our pet cat Archibald.  We made the decision to have him sleep outdoors, since the weather was beautiful and he instantly became happy.  He didn't trust us enough to sleep under the same roof. It was sad. 

We continued to allow him to sleep outdoors since he enjoyed it and stay outside for the first few days.  He was not obedient when asked to come inside and every time we tried to bring him indoors, he would cry.  I couldn't force him into a situation he felt was unsafe.  

When I had to take him back to get neutered, I was concerned with how he was going to do indoors, since we had to keep him inside for recovery.  Was he potty trained?  Was he going to cry all night? What were we in store for?  I was apprehensive letting him stay indoors because it was a major hurdle we would both have to overcome.  It was also an opportunity to gain each others trust.  

I lined our spare room with potty pads and blankets where he could sleep.  I had purchased a bed for him, which he refused to sleep on.  It's still in the corner of our patio collecting leaves as we speak. When I brought him home, he was pretty out of it, but he was happy to lay down and sleep off the anesthesia. The first night went smoothly.  No accidents and a good nights rest.  I was surprised that he was indeed potty trained.  He did however struggle being inside.  He wanted to be out in the sun, but due to his incision we limited his outdoor time.  Doctors orders. 

To make matters worse, he continued to jump on the gate we installed in the doorway so that he could see out and not feel enclosed in the spare room.  This caused a lot of swelling in and around the incision, which led to more trips to the vet to make sure everything was okay.  He had to get staples due to his incision opening and his constant jumping made the incision longer than it originally was.  I was instructed to apply heat to his scrotum to see if the swelling would go down and determine if they would have to remove it.

He's a happy boy! 🐶
I  cringed at the idea of having to apply heat on his scrotum, but more importantly, I wanted to make him feel safe and trust that I was helping him and not going to hurt him.  The first time I tried helping him, he was not having it.   As the days passed, he started to trust me and rub up on me and comply.  By day 5, we were best friends and has trusted me ever since. 

My heart breaks when I wonder where he was before.  He suffers with alopecia areata, has allergies, and had mites and fleas when he was found.  If we raise our voices walking toward him, he shrinks and whines as though he is waiting to get hit.  It shatters my heart.  I can't allow anyone to ever hurt him again. 

In the end we decided to adopt him and both agree that he has been a great addition to our family. He brings a lot of excitement to our lives and has integrated into our family easily. We look forward to many more adventures with Charles and a lot of cuddles. And maybe his cat brother Archibald will come around and accept him 100%.  As of now, we're still at about 50%.