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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.

Ria’s Thanksgiving

I always make a full Thanksgiving dinner even though it’s not a holiday here in Malaysia. Ria and the other dogs were excited to get treats while I was prepping the food over a couple of days. To add to the fun, another puppy, Creamy, was staying for a couple of days while her fosterer had some work done on her house. Ria loves new dog friends.

two dogs on a couch
Ria and Creamy hanging out while I was working.

She does not love new human friends. Since I live alone, she doesn’t get much interaction with people, so I was glad she’d get a chance when my friend came over. Creamy’s fosterer picked her up soon before the dinner, so I was back to four dogs in the house. Everything was almost cooked and well out of reach of them.

When my friend came, Ria started barking at him. She has met him before and had the same reaction, just not used to another human being in the house. She does happily take treats from him, however, then starts barking again, runs over to me for cuddles, gives me a big smile, runs back and barks once more.

All the dogs gathered around the table, hopefully waiting for treats during dinner, and of course, we gave them a few bites. Then, after putting most things away, we’d left the remains of the roast chicken on the table and went into the kitchen to get the pumpkin pie. Immediately, Ria leaped onto the table, grabbed the chicken and ran off with it! She did not get to finish it, of course, but she seemed proud of herself.

My friend asked if it hurts her to jump off with just one front leg. It is a hard landing for her, but it doesn’t seem to bother her. Not that I encourage jumping on the table! She’s great at climbing on things-the couch, the coffee table, the bed. Nothing seems to slow her down.

Ria’s Second Adoption Drive

I was a bit worried about taking Ria out after her ordeal, but really I don’t think she’d run anywhere as long as I’m in sight, and she’d always let me catch her. She just doesn’t want other people getting too close, and I have to work on that. There was a two-day adoption drive at a mall, and I just took Duncan the first day and decided to see about taking Ria the second day. After the first day, another puppy named Dot Dot stayed overnight since his fosterer lived out of town. Ria had fun with her and Duncan.

three puppies

On the second day, Ria went to the drive and was happy in a playpen with other puppies. She was quiet there most of the time, but jumped up excitedly with a big smile whenever I was near. At least people got to see her smile, although she backed away when they tried to pet her.

As usual, most people were interested in the younger puppies. A few asked about Ria’s story, but no one was seriously interested in her. Duncan got adopted, so I was down to five dogs at home, a manageable number! Four other puppies there found homes too (including Dot Dot), so overall it was a good weekend. Ria was exhausted after the long day.

two dogs in bed
Little Ria the Survivor is brought to you by Tripawds.