POPSI

I saw a post about Popsi, in July in 2019. She was a street dog, around 4 years old, that lived by a gas station. People noticed that she is pregnant and that's when she ended up in a small local shelter. She quickly came into foster care and had her puppies. All puppies - as puppies - where already her size, so this poor thing must have had not an easy birth.

She was down to last few puppies and ready to find a home for herself. It was a new shelter to me. Just like with almost every single dog I have now as my own, or fostered in the last 2-3 years, it meant connection with new shelters, new volunteers, expansion of my networking. Luckily, they have heard about me before I contacted them, so they were immediately happy to collaborate. I decided to take her into fostering, because she seemed like a perfect and easy little dog, one that would find home upon arrival. She was not "my type" of dog, so I had zero ideas about keeping her.

Soon after, in August, she arrived. It was a very problematic arrival, that lead to stress-full rushing through different cities and picking her up in the middle of, well middle of nowhere. She was calm and very happy to see me. As soon as I took her into my arms, I melted. My partner told me we have to keep her, but I said no way this is happening, I am keeping my limited spots for "my" dogs. She was overly cute, but not mine.

She was little miss perfect, unbelievably sweet, following everywhere, infact smelling and looking like a puppy herself. All dogs were neutral about her from first moment, even Lucy, who is not fond of new dogs. Yes, she was perfect, that is - until you leave her alone...

Turns out she had horrible separation anxiety, that resulted in destroying everything in reach. As you know from my fostering rules, I tend to keep my distance from foster dogs. This was impossible with this one. I lived in a rented apartment and foster dogs had a separate room, with glass doors, to spend their time alone. She was not having it. No matter how much I barricaded the doors, she was right next to me few minutes later. I did not wanted to give up, because I knew this is going to be a huge issue in a new home, so she should start learning now. I tried tying her up to a radiator. She destroyed everything in sight and ate off the leash. I tried metal cage - she ate through it. I tried big dogs kennel, she ate the door mechanism and got out. Once I leashed her in that room with a metal dog chain, and left her alone, she screamed like someone would be killing her, although she could clearly see us all right in the next room..

I have not slept in two first weeks after getting her. Home was covered in stress pee and things where destroyed, one after another. I honestly hated her, which is not nice to hear from an animal lover, but I was loosing my mind :) I also knew no home will have her, when she is reacting to stress so badly. She also gets car sick and puked every time, short or long drive, doesn't matter. So, what had to be a perfect dog with new home immediately, turned into a nightmare.

Through all these problems, it was hard to see good things, but I started observing her closely, when she was allowed to be with us. She displayed incredible intelligence and a dedication to stay. She was copying everything the other dogs do. She also noticed that while Sjuzi and Josie are a close tight duo, Lucy was an outsider, so she started actively seeking Lucy's approval. She was the only one, that could handle Lucy's rough play nature and not get into a fight if it got too heated. 

She walked perfectly without leash, tried not to get in the way and was listening and observing everything. So it happened, that another foster arrived in that time, because Popsi was supposed to be already in new home by then. I noticed her taking care of that foster dog, calming them down, encouraging to play....She quickly became a "nanny" dog, or as I say - my social worker. I also started bringing her to my photography work, where she was babysitting my client's kids and helping client's dogs calm down.

As long as she could be by my side, she was perfect. She quickly became the essential part of the pack, that brought in balance between them all. She became great assistant to me and she was so easy, that it never felt like a 4th dog. I joked that I have 3 and a half. 

That's how Popsi stayed. She worked hard for it until she became irreplaceable. It took a while for her to fully feel safe at home and not destroy anything, while I am away, but she got there. She also doesn't puke in the car, mostly, only on some occasions  as long as she can ride on my lap. If I move, she moves, she follows me everywhere. Even when she is on someone else's lap, she observes me, waiting for me simply give the look and she rushes to me immediately.

 

Even though she is perfection and loves me beyond imaginable, she still is not my soul dog and probably the least "appreciated" here in the pack. But it's just cause it seems like she can take care of herself, she does takes care of everyone else. Lu is blind, Lucy is getting older, Josie is the first born and Sjuzi is the Queen, so they all get more attention than Popsi. But Popsi knows she is loved and doesn't complain, she is still grateful to be here. It is remarkable, how kind she is. I believe it was also essential for her to have a big pack, to keep her busy, otherwise she would surely be obese lap dog, not knowing how to be a dog and to play. She also has too much love and care, to be giving only to one. 

 

While she is pretty far away from being my "type" of dog, she is so essential to the well being of all of us, that I call her pure magic. And she is. She inspired me encourage people to open their minds and hearts to all dogs, not only the specific types they like or imagine having. Sometimes you can get very lucky by getting something you didn't know you needed. I got lucky 5 times.

Her name originally was Saurida, named after gas station she lived by. I did not want to change the name before new home, but it also was very sad to call her that. I started saying Opa Popa, as a fun command for her to jump on things. Due to her look and smell of a puppy, I started calling her Pupi, Popi, and she immediatly accepted and reacted. When it was decided for her to stay, I could not imagine any other name, it suited her on so many levels. I just aded "si" to match the rest of pack and she became Popsi. She is know by many names now, including "Papinski effect".

After doing enough of social work for me, I am taking her to her next chapter and Popsi is now registered as a therapy dog for people in elderly homes. She has so much love to give, our family alone is not enough to absorb. So I want to try to spread her magic wider. We still have final finishes to do, but I have great hopes for her and that we will make a difference. I believe this is her calling and if I am wrong, she will continue to be only our little magic :)