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Happy Birthday to My Foster Failure

DSC_0717-1024x678(Adriana La Cerva, June 2014)

DSC_0051(Adriana La Cerva Armstrong, June 2015)

Adriana La Cerva Armstrong a.k.a. Ade was born on June 3, 2014. It’s ironic that she was born to a feral mutt in a bramble bush on Smith Street, yet I know the exact day her eyes opened. I met her when she was one week old, living in a muddy, trash-littered backyard with her seven litter mates. She’s been in my life ever since. It took three weeks of fostering her before I fell in love and decided to adopt her, officially earning the title of foster failure.

I had big dreams for Adriana, meaning I thought she’d turn into a sixty-plus-pound dog, but she weighs twenty-eight pounds soaking wet. Somehow, I always end up with the runts.

As far as personality, she’s pure tomboy, spending most afternoons outside digging for worms, hunting moles, chewing up sticks, or roughhousing. Although she’s tight with everyone in the pack, she wrestles with the biggest dogs the most. She holds her own, too. Mason and I have watched her drag Rosie, a dog double her size, across the floor by the collar multiple times.

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Even with all her tomboy ways, she still has moments of pure sweetness. She likes crawling up in laundry fresh from the dryer or cuddling for naps with any cat, human, or canine. At night she sleeps under the covers, worming her way between Mason and I, so that when we wake up she’s squashed between us. Throughout the day, she’ll peek her head into the office to check on me. I think she has grave concerns about my stationary work. At times she stops to lick my toes or nibble on my finger, as though inviting me to play. I’ve never seen her hurt anything besides flies and moles.

Ade isn’t perfect by any means. Even though I’ve been socializing her since she was six weeks old, she’s still timid around people, probably because we live in the middle of nowhere and don’t see a lot of humans unless we drive to town. She’s great on a leash if I’m walking her, but she’ll take advantage of any poor sucker that doesn’t act like a leader. She barks more than we want.

I think what I love the most about Ade is her independence. Moments like right now, late afternoon, cloudy, and humid. All other six dogs are asleep by my feet or on the couch with Mason watching a NCIS rerun, but not Ade. Through my office window, I see her wandering the fence line, stopping to munch on a chestnut or eat the wild blackberries growing through the chain links. Occasionally, she’ll come across a forgotten tennis ball or rope toy, snatch it up and sprint across the yard, having the time of her life. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. Adriana is living proof that sometimes being a foster failure is worth it.

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