Cupcake is our sixth dog.
In mid-June 2006, Michelle from Rochester Italian Greyhounds sent an urgent email to the group asking if someone could foster a female IG for an elderly couple. Paul and I, who had thought about fostering before, immediately said we could foster for any period of time they needed. I agreed to meet at Michelle's the following Friday so that the couple's daughter could hand over the dog.
Michelle and I were so excited when Julie finally arrived. We saw her get out of the car and we were both surprised to see how chubby Cupcake was--but such a cutie nonetheless--mostly gray, with some white markings on the face, chest, and feet, and a little white tailtip. When she got inside, Cupcake was very friendly, but very afraid of Tanner and Marley Blue. Despite her weight, she seemed to want to sit at the highest points possible on the couch, which concerned Michelle greatly--she was afraid Cupcake would jump down and break a leg. Julie's parents had had Cupcake for her whole life, about 8 years, but had recently become unable to care for her due to health concerns and hospital stays. The dog was a little bit upset by the whole ordeal--we found out later she had sneaked into the kitchen while we were talking to Julie, and had left Michelle a little surprise on her kitchen floor. Sorry Michelle!
We waited around for awhile so Josh could meet Cupcake, then afterwards I packed her up in a crate and drove her home. She was a good girl in the car, but since I was alone I thought I'd better keep her in there just this time. When I got home and lifted the crate out of the car, Paul caught sight of her and said 'oh my god, she's HUGE,' to which I laughed but said I thought she was freakin' cute anyway.
As expected, she had no idea how to deal with other dogs--she'd flee from the slightest contact. Luckily our dogs aren't aggressive at all and for the most part just ignored her. She spent a lot of time hiding in the bathroom or near the front door. At night she slept on a bench under the window to avoid the other dogs in bed. At mealtimes we had to work out a routine for handing out food, otherwise she tried to snatch at the other dogs' bowls--she ate like there was no tomorrow, so we had to stop free-feeding the other dogs (no big loss--Grep was diabetic and couldn't free-feed, and the others didn't do it much outside mealtime anyway). Unlike Icky, she was completely silent--no grunting, and it took days before we found out what her bark sounded like (it turned out to be deeper than Icky's!).
If there was one thing she loved about living here, it was walking around outside. We had her leashed for a few weeks, then found she wouldn't wander far (we have a lot of property and are far from any road), so we started walking her off-lead. She enjoyed trotting out to the chicken coop with us in the morning, around the trails, around the house, down to my parents' house next door, wherever. While she didn't lose much weight, she seemed to have better muscle tone after awhile and she stopped waddling and started running like Icky. Gradually she started seeing him as a buddy, moreso than with the other dogs (Grep is much smaller and Sobe much larger). When we all walked outside, she took her cues from Icky--running when he did, following where he went, etc.
Eventually she learned to fit into the pack. She started sleeping in the bed with the other smaller dogs (even inadvertantly snuggling with Icky, occasionally, in the middle of the night), barking when people came to the house, and generally being less afraid of the others. She learned that when Grep gets her insulin shots, she also gets a snack, and took advantage of this to also scrounge snacks. When mealtimes come about, it's always Grep and Cupcake waiting eagerly for the bowls. Grep barks her head off the whole time, but Cupcake only barks when Sobe gets to the kitchen--as if to say 'don't give her mine--she's huge! she'll eat it all!'
While she's not a kisser like Icky, she's also less suspicious of strangers and loves to meet people. She's not crazy about new dogs, even though she's learned to deal with and even like ours...she'll even play-bow to Icky sometimes.
After a month or so, Julie and her parents decided they couldn't care for Cupcake anymore. By that time, Paul and I were attached (guess we're not fostering material) and told them we would keep her. Eventually we worked out the paperwork, and she became a permanent part of the pack.