Happy Tails! Lost to found, the story of Kermit!
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
Kermit was our first foster, but I'm sure he won't be our last. At the risk of sounding cliche, fostering a dog like Kermit, bringing the little guy back from the brink, was one of the most rewarding experiences we could have ever asked for.
I'll start at the beginning.
We wanted to foster. We already had 2 pittie mixes, but wanted to help more. We love the breed, the big, playful, affectionate goofballs that pretty much every bully breed can be.
We knew our local animal shelter was taxed, and there were so many bully breeds languishing in the shelter - it's where our two pups came from. We already had 150 lbs of bully love in our home, but felt this overwhelming need to help. We reached out to local foster groups around New Years, told them that we worked corporate gigs are weren't home much, but wanted to help. Do you have any dogs that would be OK with this schedule, we asked. At first, we thought we'd foster a sweet boxer mix recovering from heartworms that would need some crate time.
Fate, or the universe, or kismet, or just dumb luck, had different ideas.
The founder of Doggie Harmony (a fantastic organization, I may add) had one of her friends call. They were in the mountains - on a trail we frequently hike with our own two dogs about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta - going for a jog with their boxers when all of a sudden this little pittie came out of nowhere, skin and bones, and tried with all his might to work his way into the pack. Despite being grossly underweight, and probably tired and frail, he wormed his way into the pack.
These kind people took him to Dekalb County animal shelter, told the people at Doggie Harmony about him, and they contact me and my fiance.
We saw the pictures, how sad and underweight he looked, and made a decision: So long as he got along with our dogs, he wasn't spending another minute in the shelter.
Within a day or two, we headed over to meet him, with our little pack in tow. He had already been vetted and neutered (sorry Kerm), but was still in need of some love and attention. I went in, asked about him (he was named Criss Cross at that point - not sure if that was an homage to the 90's rap duo of a different spelling or what), and they brought him out. He was about 35lbs, I could see every bone in his body, he stunk, and he had crusty ears, eyes, and missing some fur from his tail. He was in bad shape.
We put a leash on him, and went out the door on a brisk mid-winter day. After being introduced to our pups, no signs of aggression on either side - I said "that's it, wrap him up, he's coming home with us."
We signed some paperwork, got some meds for his whipworms, and pain meds for his neuter. Then we were off.
Looking back at this picture, I find it amusing there is a kettlebell in it. That was not intentional at all. I guess it was prophetic in a way, as Kermit would be the first of hopefully many many bullies we help at Barbells For Bullies. In all honestly, if those people didn't find him, he wouldn't have made it. We got him a week before a cold snap where it dipped well below freezing. If he was living in those woods, which we can only assume he was, he wouldn't have seen another spring. I'm sure of it.
We weren't out of the proverbial woods yet though. In addition to his whip worms, and all the other stuff he had going on, he had some kennel cough. So we took him to the vet, got him some antibiotics, and had him in quarantine for a week to make sure our dogs didn't get sick. That didn't last long though.
Before long he was romping around and snuggling with Slater - our 75lb bully mix. They were best buds; chasing each other in the yard, snuggling on the couch, playing tug of war. And I have to admit, even though Kermie Worm (which he was lovingly dubbed) was only about half Slater's weight - he was no pushover. He gave as good as he got. But all in all, he loved his new foster brother.
I present you exhibit A:
It took about 2 months to get him up to a healthy weight, but was well worth it. He went from being an emaciated and skittish little dude, to a muscular and confident shin-high pocket pittie. Super affectionate, very, very intelligent - he aced his obedience classes at Frogs to Dogs and got promoted to "level 2" after one session - if we didn't already have 2 pups, he would have stayed with us permanently.
But we agreed that he needed and deserved to be somewhere and with someone that could love on him all day long, and give him the attention required.
After a couple phone calls, some interested emails, some very promising prospects, and a couple bumps in the road, we found him a home: the perfect home for him. He would have a sister he could play with, a TON of land to explore, even chickens and turkeys and all kinds of wildlife to sniff. As hard as it was, in mid-April, we swallowed the bittersweet pill of saying "Goodbye for now" to Kerm Worm, our first foster, and a phenomenal dog.
As I write this, I miss him, and I can almost hear his big froggy feet (in case you were wondering, that and his big eyes are where he got his name from) clip-clopping across the tile into the kitchen to see what I was doing. But he's with a great family, in a great home, all the way up in New England, snuggling with his new sister, and I'm sure getting all the belly rubs his heart desires.
Godspeed Kermit, we'll never forget you.