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Ria Is All Grown Up!

Ria is over a year old now, and I just had her spayed a few weeks ago. I had put it off for awhile because one of her ears had a notch in it, which could indicate she was spayed by trap-neuter-release (TNR), when she was young. The vet said it was unlikely, but impossible to know for sure. Not wanting to put her through unnecessary surgery, I decided to wait and see. She went into heat, so that confirmed it!

smiling dog
The notch in her ear must have been from a past injury.

She got to come home from the vet the same day and recovered quickly. I was surprised that she’s now 13kg (28 pounds)! This will be her full size, although I’d thought she wouldn’t get much bigger than she was a few months ago.

She’s outgrown her harness, so I had to use one of my other dog’s harnesses to take her to the park. It fits her well. She’s so thrilled to get a chance to run! She prefers grass rather than road, so I have to go at a time when there aren’t many people there.

Ria gets excited about running through the grass at top speed! She stops before running into a puddle.

No more adoption drives for Ria recently because I’ve been trying to get three puppies adopted first (not staying with me!). They were abandoned in a cage at my friend’s house; I put them in a boarding house since no one would foster them and it’s too expensive to do that for long. I don’t want them to end up in a shelter; any dog that goes to a shelter is almost certain to stay there for life. The shelters are all far away, no one can visit, and no one brings dogs out for adoption drives if they’re over 6 months old.

Shiloh, Zahara, and Maddox are waiting for their forever homes.

That was why I decided not to let Ria go to the home for dogs with special needs. They never try to get those dogs adopted, and while their basic needs are met, it’s not like having a home. She’s much better off with me, and if there’s no one else out there for her, she can stay here.

I actually got one inquiry for her on Petfinder, someone who sounded nice and responsible and had brought her dog and cat from China. While I was excited about the chance, I did feel a bit sad at the thought of letting Ria go. She said she’d ask her boyfriend about setting up a visit, then didn’t get back to me and never replied after I followed up. Maybe it’s for the best!

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
Little Ria the Survivor is brought to you by Tripawds.