Dear Della (her foster family is fond of old Perry Mason reruns!) looks to be a Wire Haired Fox Terrier mix. She found herself in a city shelter with no prospect for adoption. She was found stray and had dreadful teeth and at first it was thought she might be adoptable. However when the shelter did her dental, they discovered squamous cell carcinoma on one of her tonsils. This is not a common cancer in dogs, and has a very poor prognosis (just a few months they say). So the shelter contacted ODH with a likely hospice candidate.

An experienced ODH foster home was found who was ready to welcome little 10.5 pound Della into their home. They drove to the shelter to pick up their new family member and had a bit of a surprise. Della had been described as very friendly to dogs and people, but on the way home, a different personality was evident. Della seemed to be terrified. The car ride didn’t bother her, but being touched did and she reacted with growls and an occasional snap. There was concern that pain might also be involved, so a vet visit was scheduled as soon as possible so any needed medication could be started. The first night was the worst for little Della. Once she found a comfy dog bed, she defended it from all comers. She did, however, try out every dog bed in the house and seemed to find them quite to her liking. Also, meal time was met with eager approval!

It was a learning time for all – human and canine, and fortunately things began to ease very quickly. Once her new family ‘got it’ that Della, unlike her pack mates, found touch to be quite scary, they gave her plenty of space. They treated her just like the others EXCEPT for touching. In a very short time, Della was approaching both her foster mom and dad with tail wagging and even sought out occasional petting with more wagging. She also was more tolerant of her new pack – though she still gets anxious if another pup walks too close to ‘her’ bed (defined as whatever bed she is in). Grooming is another matter and Della will be on the scruffy side for awhile!

We truly hope that Della will have long enough with us to really settle in and be able to relax and enjoy her new, loving home. Already she greets her family at the door with excited wags. She loves going on walks and is quite a good walker.

Thanks to ODH, Della now has a safe home and a loving family and pack mates; and the best medical care to keep her comfortable for as long as her health permits. Watching her learn to trust and really relax is wonderful and we are very grateful to have her with us.

Update:  After only a month, little Della let us know that it was time to say goodbye.  Her cancer was obviously growing and she was becoming more uncomfortable.  We loved her completely and while she was with us there were lots of very comfy dog beds, and the very best treats and food.  We hope she knew just how much we cared about her.  She left peacefully in the arms of her mom and dad – and will be truly missed.