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Ria’s Chinese New Year

Ria is still with me and hasn’t been out to any adoption drives recently. There was a two-day one last weekend, and I was planning on bringing her Saturday, but I had to help with organizing the vendors, so it didn’t work out. Sunday was my other foster dog David’s turn since he hasn’t had a chance to go out in a long time. I’m not in a big rush for Ria anyway; she’s so attached to me, though I’m not giving up on finding her perfect home.

This weekend is Chinese New Year, so no adoption drives and lots of people traveling while I happily stay home with my pets. The Chinese who aren’t traveling are having family over and setting off fireworks like crazy. Friday night sounded like a war zone with non-stop firecrackers for about four hours. My poor Penny was terrified, running around, hiding in the bathroom trembling, then squeezing all the way under the couch and not coming out until it was over. I noticed Ria had disappeared and was worried about her. Then I found her smiling on my bed! She was in her safe place and not too bothered by the noise. She followed me out and hasn’t been scared.

It’s traditional to give red packets to children on Chinese New Year, and since my pets are my children, of course they got some filled with treats. Ria was thrilled to get hers!

Dog getting red packet

Ria continues to become more confident. She loves her friends, Patches and Penny, and gives the two bigger dogs their space. She’s still not happy about any strangers coming into the house, very loudly letting them know they’re not welcome. But she’s more chill about people walking past outside than Penny is. As long as they’re outside and far away, she doesn’t mind.

Ria’s Sixth Adoption Drive

Ria went to another adoption drive last Saturday and had a great time. She’s starting to be more comfortable around people and walking with her harness. And she proudly wore her Tripawds Ambassador bandana!

dog wearing a tripawds bandana
Ria happily wearing her bandana

There were several groups and independent rescuers at this drive, with about 15 dogs and 20 cats. Ria stayed with me on the leash the whole time because there wasn’t a playpen high enough that she couldn’t climb out of! She’s always happy to be right by my side anyway.

happy tripawd dog
Always smiling

At other drives, I’ve had to carry her because she’ll just sit still and refuse to walk or try to pull me to something she can hide under. Some people ask if it’s because she can’t walk well! This time, she walked around and was happy to see her friends, Ellie and Chapati.

Poor Chapati is at risk of being sent to a shelter for the rest of her life, and she’s only seven months old. She’s been to almost all the same drives Ria has been to. Her six siblings were all adopted, and she’s the only one left. Ellie’s fosterer works on a cruise ship for eight months of the year and volunteers when she’s around, but she just had to go back to work. So Ellie’s fate is up in the air too. She had two potential adopters interested recently that backed out at the last minute.

At least Ria is safe with me. She got so many treats; she’s the greediest of the three of them, climbing up on a chair to beg for my fries at lunchtime. Chapati, so quiet and gentle, just lay under the table. When it was the dogs’ meal time, Ria devoured her own food and then finished up what everyone else left.

Mmm…are there any more fries?

She’s friendlier with dogs than she is with people, but she’ll happily take a treat from anyone who offers it. It wasn’t a great day for adoptions but one small puppy and a couple of cats got adopted. I’m mainly focused on getting Ria socialized for now.

She’s also been wanting to go out of the house more, and I took her for her first short walk outside the gate today. She wanted to run! Good thing I’m a runner! She did get scared and want to go home pretty soon, but at least it’s progress.

I’ve been hesitant to take her out because I’m afraid of people seeing how many dogs I have. People often give me dirty looks when I’m walking my dogs. It’s not common for people to walk dogs here. Most people just leave them inside their gates if they have dogs at all. The few that do walk their dogs usually have purebreds. Still, my dogs are well-behaved, so hopefully no one will actually complain.

Ria’s First Christmas

It’s been nice to have a break from adoption drives for the holidays, and Ria and my whole furry family had a great Christmas. Usually I put my Christmas tree on the coffee table, but since Ria and Penny have taken over the coffee table, I put it on a cabinet this year. Amazingly, it only got knocked over once…by Patches!

Ria didn’t try to get into the tree, but she liked the excitement!

I don’t cook for Christmas other than baking things the dogs can’t eat, but they got plenty of treats over the weekend anyway. I went to a friend’s house and came back smelling like other dogs (one of which is Merrell’s sister).

Penny and Ria had fun helping me open Christmas presents! Ria’s favorite gift was from my friend, a beef-flavored Nyla-bone that’s strong enough that even my extreme chewers can’t destroy it.

After a fun day, Ria took a nap on the coffee table among the wrapping. Then they all ran around and played some more.

Dog on coffee table with gifts

I had today off too, so more time for cuddles with Ria. She just loves to sit on my lap and lay her head on my shoulder. We watched Strays, which I found very entertaining, and I think the dogs enjoyed it too. I came across it a few weeks ago searching for something like “revenge on dog abuser” 😅. Cathartic to see an abuser get what’s coming to him in the movie.

Ria’s Fifth Adoption Event

This was not specifically an adoption drive; it was a Christmas pet bazaar. Stray Tales Society, a group that makes feeder boxes for strays, allowed me and a couple others to bring dogs for adoption to their fundraising booth.

dog in a wagon

I bought Ria her own wagon; the one she was in at her first adoption drive was MDDB’s. Since she liked it so much, I thought she should have one, and she was happy to sit in it and enjoy treats. She was more relaxed about letting other people pet her this time.

That’s ostrich tendon hanging out of her mouth!

There were booths selling pet clothing, all kinds of treats, homecooked pet food, and pet portrait packages. The photographer was kind enough to take a few photos of the rescue dogs for free! Ria didn’t want me to go too far away, but when I stood right behind the camera she gave me her gorgeous smile.

tripawd dog posing for a picture

It was also nice to learn that one of the pet food vendors has a tripawd she adopted, also a victim of abuse like Ria. No one was interested in adopting that day, though. Most of the visitors came with their pampered little purebreds – Pomeranians, poodles, Shih-Tzus, Shiba Inus. People like that tend to look down on rescue dogs.

Of the five dogs I have with me now, four are brown “Malaysian mixes” or pariah dogs. Dogs like that can be found as strays everywhere, and many people see them as street dogs, not worth being pets, possibly useful as guard dogs. They come in all colors, but the most common are brown with pointy ears. If they have floppy ears, they have a better chance at getting adopted. I think pointy ears are just as cute! These are wonderful dogs – gentle, loyal, affectionate, easily-trained, few health issues since they’re bred through natural selection. I just wish more people would see them that way.

When posting for adoption, it’s helpful to be able to say they’re mixed with some known breed if they look a bit like something. For instance, I said one black and tan dog was a Doberman mix and she got adopted by someone who always wanted a Doberman but wanted to adopt not buy. I use a dog identifier app to get ideas, but it just says Ria is a Carolina dog, which is the same thing it says about my other dogs (except for Nymeria, the Norwegian buhund). Carolina dogs are descended from primitive Asian dogs and look similar, so it doesn’t sound like an exciting breed.

On the other hand, people who are looking for certain breeds might not be the right ones anyway. Ria deserves someone who will love her for what she is, beautiful, brave, cheerful, and loving.

Two dogs sleeping on a coffee table
Ria and Penny, my foster fail, another Malaysian mix

Ria’s Third and Fourth Adoption Drives

The Sunday after Thanksgiving was another adoption drive, outside the entrance to a mall. It was a hectic day – one puppy managed to escape and run off (fortunately, it was found and brought back), two little puppies started having diarrhea (fine by the next day too)…and no one interested in adopting.

Ria was just hanging out in a playpen with Creamy. At least she let some people pet her and didn’t bark. But then when it was time to go, there was another near-catastrophe. I had gone to get something and the other volunteers tried to pick her up. She freaked out, snapped at them and attempted to get away. Then she saw me and as always, let me pick her up with no problem.

happy dog after a bath
Ria before the adoption drive, very happy after a bath and zoomies.

That was the start of a week from hell. One of my cats was suddenly struggling to breathe on Monday, so I rushed her to the vet. She had to go to the emergency vet and go on oxygen. The next day, when they took her off it to do an x-ray, she passed away. They didn’t even know the cause, said she had a pleural effusion and it may have been from a tumor. I was heartbroken. She was only 6-7; I’d taken her in in 2019.

I was in no mood to do anything for the next weekend’s adoption drive, but I did the best I could, making posters and helping get stuff ready, while also trying to meet deadlines for work. And even more bad news, an adopter decided to return a cat that I had been fostering. She was supposed to bring it to me on Sunday, but no, Saturday morning, just as I was getting ready to go to the drive, she sent me a photo of the cat in a box in her car and said she was on the way. At least she got here with the cat just in time before my friend picked me and Ria up.

Ria was happy to sit on my lap, not in a carrier, and she was wearing her new harness. She still didn’t want to walk on the leash much and preferred to sit right next to me, hiding under a table. It was a slow day since there was a big pet expo at another mall, and most pet lovers would have gone to that instead.

In the playpen with other dogs, Ria relaxed a bit and even let some kids pet her. She was more trusting of them than she is of most adults. Some people asked about her story, but no one was interested in adopting.

One puppy from MDDB did get adopted and someone volunteered to foster his sister so she wouldn’t have to go to the shelter; that was the good news of the day.

After an exhausting day, I thought I could finally relax. Ria and my other dogs were sleeping all around me on the couch, when suddenly, Ria’s rescuers turned up at my gate. I had not seen them since they left her with me in September, and I have no desire to see them. There was a huge drama back then because one of the rescue groups was publicly shaming them for leaving Ria with me without painkillers. Also, apparently there was more about them not wanting to help look for her when she escaped in October.

I try to stay civil with them; they’re not with any organization. It was a good thing that they rescued Ria and got her the surgery. Of course they weren’t very responsible, but I love Ria and am happy to take responsibility for her. It’s not like I even hear from them much. Just a couple times, weeks ago, they’ve said they’ll come visit sometime. I certainly didn’t expect them to just show up!

I was polite; Ria was not. She gave them a threatening growl and some side eye. They didn’t pet her because they were afraid she would bite. They gave me two small cans of dog food and left.

I’m starting to wonder if Ria might be a foster fail. But I can’t really have four dogs, can I? I’ll keep trying to get her adopted, but it feels like she’s my baby already.

Little Ria the Survivor is brought to you by Tripawds.
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