Blog Du Jour

How to Treat a Princess: Foster Dog Finds Love

Her eyes scanned the crowd as if searching. I held on tight to her leash and spoke gently to her as she paced back and forth.

“What’s the matter? Are you looking for someone?”

She glanced at me with worried eyes, and then directed her attention back to the crowd and to a path leading to the library. We were at a pet adoption event at Emma Clark Library. This girl was there to hopefully meet her forever family. She started to do some vocal exercises, tiny wines from deep in her throat accompanied by a move forward.

“Where do you want to go?”

That’s when I saw her destination move through the crowd and head in our direction. This girl caught sight of what I realized was her foster mother accompanied by an adorable black lab mix and was eager to once more be at her side. Upon her foster mom’s approach, the girl’s tail wagged furiously like a banner in a windstorm—an obvious euphoria set in.

“Thank you for watching my sweet Princess,” the woman said.

Motioning to the lab mix, she explained, “I had to meet up with a couple who expressed interest in my foster boy, Charlie.”

“I just got here,” I explained. “She was actually with another volunteer that had to go do something, so I had a chance to spend some time with your girl. Is she your foster too?”

The woman smiled and replied, “Yes, I have three right now.” She pointed in the direction of what appeared to be a terrier-mix puppy at the side of another volunteer.

“Wow, three fosters?”

She nodded, “Yes, and that’s in addition to my own three dogs.”

“That’s amazing,” I marveled.

“It’s necessary,” she said very matter-of-factly. “They needed a foster home and a chance at a happy life. How could I say no? You have Princess, and this is Charlie. Butch is over there,” she said.

The girl, with the royal name of Princess, greeted her foster mom with joyful licks.

“She was anxious for you to return.”

The slender woman, bent down to Princess, accepted a deluge of kisses and gave her a big hug in return. The connection was obvious and strong.

“She’s such a cute girl. What type of dog is she?”

“Princess is a mix of rat terrier and beagle.”

So that’s the reason I immediately gravitated to Princess when I arrived. She’s part hound and, having three dachshunds of my own, I must admit I’m rather partial to the hounds.

“She’s a really sweet girl,” I said.

“That she is,” her foster agreed.

“And she really loves you.”

She looked down at Princess, shook her head and said, “Poor Princess has had it rough.”

The woman went on to relate Princess’ story. It seems Princess was treated as anything but a princess. As her foster mom relayed a horrific story of the extreme torture of this sweet, unassuming girl, my heart ached. And a revelation also set in. I understood why her foster mom was such a great force in her life, why she got excited at the very sight of this person who took good care of her.

Princess is the epitome of the rescue dog. She suffered terribly at the hands of her owners—the people she should have been able to trust. They were detestable people with no shred of moral decency. How else could one reason tying a dog to a tree, leaving it outside in all sorts of inclement weather and totally ignoring her? No food, not even water was given to this poor little girl. She wasted away, down to 15 pounds, and this starvation ravaged her body, particularly her pancreas.

Thankfully, this emaciated girl was rescued and she left her suffering behind. She was taken to a vet who diagnosed her with Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency, which means her body could not absorb nutrients from the food she was receiving at the sanctuary.

Her foster mom went on to explain that there is an easy fix. The enzymes her body cannot produce must be sprinkled in powder form over her food. Princess has flourished through the loving care of those who rescued her and her foster family.

How amazing that Princess does not hold a grudge against humans who took this perfectly healthy pup and tortured her with utter neglect. And yet, Princess can detect good people from the bad. She knows that her foster mom wants the best for her and she is so openly thankful for that.

“Are you considering adopting her?”

“I still want to give her a chance to find her own place, but she is so sweet that I’m more than happy to continue hosting her.”

Foster parents are such special people. They put their own feelings aside to help a dog find a permanent home. I have seen many foster moms dissolve in tears at the sight of their foster dogs walking off into the sunset with a forever family. You might ask why they don’t just adopt the dog if they feel so strongly for it. The answer is that if they fill their homes with dogs they grow to love as they foster them, that would leave no room to host another needy dog. The rescue system would soon fall apart. Foster parents are truly unselfish people.

Princess needs her own place, her foster mom is right. She needs to rest her head on the lap of her forever mom. Princess would be happy with a family to call her own. She is safe now. She is comfortable and she is obviously so thankful to the kind people who rescued her from the jaws of certain death by starvation—a terrible way to die. In the end it would mean utter deterioration of body as well as soul. That’s what happens to any being left in isolation—total decay, both of body and mind.

Princess is one of the lucky ones. She was given a second chance. She rose above the suffering and today she weighs a healthy 28 pounds. She is content, happy and overwhelmingly loyal to the person giving her love. This sweet girl charms all who meet her.

At night when Princess goes to sleep, I imagine she dreams of a forever family to call her own—a forever mom and dad, maybe a brother and sister. That would be fun too. But for now, she waits patiently at adoption events like this one. She waits for that special family to stop short, look into her soulful eyes and instantly realize Princess is the girl who will make their lives complete.

My fondest wish for Princess is that she won’t have to wait too much longer to realize her dreams. She’s gone through way too much during her short two years on this earth. Thank goodness all that horrible mistreatment is over now.

After all, that’s no way to treat a princess.

Meet Princess this weekend at the Setauket Presbyterian Church Mission Fair on Saturday, June 6, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Click here for more info

To adopt Princess now, contact Last Chance Animal Rescue at

Barbara Anne Kirshner is the author of Madison Weatherbee-The Different Dachshund. She is a regular contributor to

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