Blondie Bear and the 50 Strays of Grey Contest

Over the past weekend I entered each of our current 5 dogs (all rescues through the Dr.Carol Hood Memorial Animal Shelter) into the Rescue Pups 50 Strays of Grey photo contest by selecting a photo of each that best represents the personality of that dog.

On Monday I was greeted by the following notice on Twitter:

Rescue Pups@maxandkota 8 hours ago

Check out the #1 entry in our 50 Strays of Grey Contest
@DougBittinger: #RescuePups #50StraysofGrey Blondie Bear ”

Investigation revealed that Blondie had not won the contest, it still had another day to go. Being the #1 entry was supposed to indicate that she was in the lead. So we put the cake and ice cream away and hoped we’d still get to celebrate the next day.

It was actually a couple of days before we were notified, but YES: Blondie WON!

50 Strays of Grey Prize

The promotion for this contest touted a $50 prize to the winners favorite charity. We directed that prize to the Animal Shelter in Newport because they rescued Blondie and brought her into our lives.

Blondie’s Rescue History

For most of the animals we get from the shelter for fostering all we know about their history is either “picked up as a stray by Animal Control” or “Owner Surrender”; details are scant. But with Blondie we know that she was removed from a situation where she was on a short chain out in the back of a yard, with minimal provisions. We also know she was badly neglected because of her mental condition.

When she arrived at the DCHM Animal Shelter the staff thought she was autistic: she showed no interest in anything, would not make eye contact, and just sat staring off into space. But volunteer Rescue Coordinator, Jen Steele saw potential in this poor girl and the staff worked with her. When Blondie tested positive for heart worms, Jen lobbied for a sponsor to help save Blondie and placed her with us under their Foster Home program for treatment.

When I arrived to pick up Blondie, she did seem unusually docile and subdued, but Jen and her staff had obviously made some progress. Since then, Blondie Bear has blossomed into a personality-filled, loving, and intelligent dog. Cochise liked her so much he convinced us to adopt her and they have been best friends ever since.

When a foster home adopts one of their charges it’s referred to as a “foster failure” because the purpose of fostering is to prepare the dogs for adoption elsewhere. Each time we fall in love with one of our charges and adopt him or her, it diminishes our capacity by one. Cochise was our very first foster dog, and our first foster failure. Blondie was our fifth foster. We wrestled with the decision: adopting a large dog means taking on a considerable commitment to their health and well-being. But Cochise was right: we all loved her and would be heart-broken to send her off somewhere else.

Over the years since, Blondie has not once given us cause to regret our decision. She is a well-behaved girl that can be trusted completely in our home, even when we go away for the day. She even helps us in the training of foster dogs by serving as a role model and mentor. Although she hasn’t a mean bone in her body, she is currently helping by being a Drill Sergeant with Dune the Jihadi Dog, who is here for behavior modifications.

Blondie loves attention, but also is quite loving and attentive herself. We sometimes refer to her as Nurse Blondie because of her nurturing attitude when any of us (two or four footed) are sick or injured.

She is sweet and gentle, but does get playful. She can be very entertaining with her playful nature, but she’s never destructive. Well, almost never: she and Buster once got overly enthusiastic while using a snuggle bed in a tug of war and they tore a hole in it. But she normally treats her bed and blankets with gentleness and care. When she gets playful she can a little wound up:

All the dogs talk to us. Each has their own means of expression. Cochise is quite vocal. Blondie rarely barks at anything, in fact she was here over a year before she barked at all. But she does have her own unique way of communicating with us:

That is a quick look at Blondie. We hope you’ve enjoyed meeting our sweet-face baby girl and winner of the 2015  50 Strays of Grey photo contest by Rescue Pups.

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