This is Rayley, or "RayRay", as Matt has nicknamed her. She's a 4 month old puppy we've been fostering for a short time. A friend of Matt's rescued her from a shelter with plans to transport her to a rescue organization in New York.
We don't know anything about her life before she came to the shelter; the only clue is a bite-sized chunk that is missing from her left ear. But despite any hardship she may have known, she is a very trusting, sweet, and gentle little soul.
It's interesting to compare her to how Abby was as a puppy. Abby has a seriously stubborn streak and has always resisted her position at the bottom of the "pack." She's scrappy and independent, and was very stand-offish as a puppy. Only recently has she begun snuggling up to me for a nap now and then.
This little puppy just seems overjoyed every time a human or another dog interacts with her. She chases along after Scout and Abby, no matter how roughly they play or how much they pick on her. She burrows in beside you every time you sit down. She discovers every new toy (and, of course, every other thing around the house that she thinks must be a toy) with delight.
It sounds like I've fallen in love with this little puppy, doesn't it? Maybe. I blame her sweet wrinkles. She must have some sharpei in her, since she seems to have enough skin to cover a dog twice her size.
We've considered keeping her. Questions rise up: How big will she get? Do we have enough time to give her the attention she needs, and still do all the other things in our lives that we want to do? One thing I've come to realize is that, like with any endeavor, the more time you invest in a dog, the more you get back. A dog wants nothing more than attention, exercise, love, and a sense of purpose.
I have been surprised, though, at how well the dogs take care of one another. It reminds me that dogs are indeed pack animals and are hard-wired to look after their own. No matter how much Abby and Scout appear to be picking on Rayley, or ignoring her with weary, resigned expressions on their faces, I know they are teaching her how to live in our family.
Whatever our final decision, I have an increased respect for all the kind-hearted folks who work to find homes for stray animals. There is such a lot of heartbreak in this work, and I very much admire the brave people who undertake it.
RayRay says "Happy Monday (and let's go play!)"