For the last few months, I've been helping with a new organization here in Bethel called Bethel Friends of Canines. We have a dog problem in Bethel. People get dogs and then decide they dont want to care for them anymore. Or maybe their dogs have puppies and they dont want to feed them. Or maybe they have a sled dog that isnt pulling their weight on the team. What happens to all these dogs? They end up homeless and abandoned on the streets of Bethel. Many of them end up in the pound and then have to be put down because they are unclaimed. Not anymore.
The goal of Bethel Friends of Canines is to get the strays off the streets and into loving homes. They also have worked to get many dogs spayed and neutered. After a dog has gone unclaimed at the pound for a certain time period, the dog used to be put down. Now the dogs are put into foster homes while they wait for a more permanent home. Eventually, many of the dogs end up getting shipped to Anchorage where homes are found for them there. Others end up being adopted by people right here in Bethel.
Back when the organization first was getting going, I volunteered to be a foster dog parent. I've taken in and fostered several dogs in the last few months and found all of them loving homes right here in Bethel. Whenever I get a foster dog, I dont like to name it, because I would rather leave that privilege up to the family that adopts the dog.
I usually just call the dogs puppy or little girl or something like that. This last foster dog, I called pup pup. I'm usually really good about not getting attached to my foster dogs, but I just fell in love with pup pup. He was such a well behaved puppy. He was playful at the right times and cuddly at other times. He was potty trained completely at 9 weeks after only being at my house for 6 days. He was super cute.
Eventually, people started to ask me if they could come look at him to see about adopting. I kept putting people off and telling them I wasnt available or that it wasnt a good day. After turning aways several serious inquiries about adopting him, I finally had to admit that I was planning to keep him.
I was still having a hard time committing to another 15 years of dog ownership, especially because it is difficult when travelling. Also, I wasnt sure if I was ready yet after Taboo died a couple years ago. Then, I lost him.
My friend, Sadie, and I took both of our dogs out for a ride on the snowmachine. Our plan was to get out of town and let the dogs run while we checked the rabbit trap line. We got almost all the way to Oscarville (about 4 miles) before realizing that my pup pup had jumped out of the bin in the back. We searched and searched for about an hour before finally heading back toward Bethel. When we got close to Bethel, we saw a few other people riding their snowmachines and stopped to ask them if they had scene a little yellow dog. They said they had seen him closer to Bethel. Then we saw the little red flashing light that I had attached to his collar in the distance!!! Yay!
I was so happy when we found him that I realized I was going to keep him and I started trying to think of a real name to call him beside pup pup. Eventually, I settled on the name Ryder since he had a history of riding snowmachines. He has grown up so much in the last few months and he is still a great dog, even if a little ornery.
I still miss Taboo, but I think 2 years was long enough to be dog free. I love my little Ryder. AKA Pup Pup, Puppalup, Puptastic, Puppalupagus, Snuffapupagus.