Hi everyone! This post is part of a personal blog that I have created to tell stories about my fosters. I hope you enjoy!

Our current foster right now is Gracie. She came to us in mid-July, our 11th foster, and admittedly is a new challenge for us. Previously, she was supposed to be a hunting beagle, but she decided that she really did not want to hunt. We’re assuming it was her adverseness to hunting, but whatever it is, she is far and away the most emotionally damaged beagle we have ever encountered.

We went one Saturday to pick her up from the home of a wonderful woman that works with TBR. Gracie had been taken there with her two beagle buddies to get baths and initial vet treatment. When we arrived she was in a deep sleep on a bed snuggled up with Ruth Adelaide.

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Ruth Adelaide and Gracie snuggling

We got her home and found that we had to carry her wherever we wanted her to go. She was too terrified to even move. We realized the extent of how scared she was when I tried to pick her up in the yard and bring her inside. As soon as I touched her she spray-pooped everywhere. All over me, herself, I mean on everything. This had never happened to me before. We took her straight to the bath, and although she probably didn’t enjoy it very much, the results were pretty cute.

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Gracie and her soap hat

Once her bath was finished we showed her to her crate. The crate we use is fairly large for a standard beagle, probably for a medium sized 40lb dog, but I think creates a nice space for the pups during the day. We put a big comforter, another blanket, and a bed in the bottom of the crate. The bed took up maybe half of the crate, so she had the option to lay in the bed or on the blankets if she liked.

She slept there almost non stop the whole weekend. We had to pull her out by her paws to get her to go outside. She took a quick liking to our dog, Mac, and was visibly calmed by having him around (which wasn’t really all that calm, but at least enough to keep her from spray-pooping).

Gracie in her crate

Since I had never had a foster this scared before, I turned to our TBR Facebook group for advice. I was met with a lot of reassurance that she will get better and given a few tips on what to do. I was skeptical, but it turns out they were right. (Side note about this- I cannot overstate how grateful I am for the guidance of the people in our TBR groups. There are fosters on there that have been doing this for decades and have fostered hundreds of dogs, and it’s easy to find a solution to anything. It is truly the best resource I can imagine when caring for dogs.)

Finally, on Sunday night, we pulled her out of the crate and put her on top of us on the couch. She was resistant at first, but soon enough was sleeping deeply and inching closer to cuddle. Yes, I absolutely cried.

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Gracie’s first cuddle with us

I think a little bit of this forcible cuddling really made the difference for her. She has now turned into one of the biggest snuggle monsters we’ve ever had and sleeps DIRECTLY on top of me each night. While she is a little damaged emotionally, it makes every small victory so much more touching (trust me, I’ve been tearing up at everything from her jumping onto the couch on her own to when she walks on a leash). Now I’m happy to report we’re making progress by leaps and bounds. More stories of success to come!

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