A client of ours sent us the most adorable story about how she adopted her rescue dog, Clover. Then she gave us permission to share her story with you.
Clover the Rescue Dog & the Foo Lion
The Classy Canine Animal Shelter seems like the right place to find a small dog. It takes some looking but here it is in a side street with a little dog sleeping in a glass enclosure in the window. A shop bell rings as I walk in and a woman walks out of a side room through a velvet curtain apologizing.
“I only have three dogs to choose from right now,” her voice sounds like a warning before dropping and becoming very friendly, “and they are all very cute.”
One puppy looks like a fluffy pink marshmallow and has big black eyes under her shaggy bangs. She wags her tail like a big feather.
“I’ll take this one,” I say to the lady.
“Good choice,” she said. “She is a very special little dog.
“Do you know anything about her?” I ask.
“She has her shots and she is housebroken.”
“Sorry, I mean about where she comes from.”
“Well, the lady who brought her in the first time only said that she was bringing her in because things got “out of control.” She tells me this quoting her fingers in the air. I mean, just look at her. How ‘out of control’ can a little piece of fluff be?”
“The first time?” I ask.
“Yes, the second time the people said she would not behave, but after all, dog training should help with that.”
“How confusing for the puppy,” I say.
“Not as confused as I was when the next family brought her back. They said she was not good with small children.” she says.
“Okay, well, there are no small children in the house and it looks like I should start with dog training,” I smile.
I am sure you will give her a good home,” she looks at me, nodding. Come into my office and we will sign the adoption papers. I am going to give you a discount…and…” Her voice stretches the word ‘and’ as she reaches around behind her to take a bluish statue from the bookshelf….”here is something from the first owner. She left this statue here when she brought the puppy to us and said that we should always keep it near her. Nonsense of course, but here it is.”
“That’s okay, I don’t need to….”.
“You have to…” she insists, staring at me until I pick it up. It is a rather ugly little statue and I cannot tell if it is a dragon or a lion or a laughing horse. I stick it in my bag and put a little leash on our new puppy.
We drive a good hour to get to our home out in the country.
When I open the door she jumps out like a high dive champion and rolls and rolls in the clover. That is her new name. Clover.
Clover is pretty calm for about a week. She sits curled up in her soft little bed, she takes walks on the leash and she eats her dinners.
On day eight she begins barking.
She barks at the mailman.
She barks at birds on branches.
She barks at cats.
She barks at squirrels.
She barks at people walking by
She barks at the doorbell.
She barks if I leave the room.
She barks if I leave the house.
She barks if someone comes to the door.
On day nine she begins snarling. She locks her knees, throws her head back, squints her eyes, shows her sharp teeth both upper and lower, growls in the back of her throat and then begins clawing in the air.
She snarls if you try to put her leash on.
She snarls if someone reaches down to pet her.
She snarls if you reach down to ask her to go for a walk.
Clover is a rescue dog with issues.
One day my grandson Nick comes over and she goes berserk and nearly bites him. She jumps around showing her teeth like an angry piranha fish. I tell her she is being an ‘awful waffle’ but she does not care. Now Nick does not want to be around her.
Dog training is not starting soon enough for me. But the day finally arrives.
“Oh, isn’t she cute?” the trainers coo, “So, what are your goals for dog training?
“She acts vicious sometimes and I do not know what to do.”
Everyone in the class laughs.
She gets along very well with the other dogs, mostly retreating if she feels uncomfortable. She is a model student. She is even able to learn circus tricks quickly. Until the day of the tunnel trick.
“Please take off her leash so she can run through the tunnel,” the trainer asks.
“But she won’t let me put it back on,” I protest.
“Be serious,” he says, “just put it on.”
“I’m afraid she’ll bite me,” I say, sheepishly.
“Here, give it to me,” he says, sounding exasperated while reaching for the leash.
Piranha Dog jumps into action. She locks her legs, throws her head back, squints her eyes, bares her sharp teeth and begins clawing in the air. Everyone gasps at Clover’s behavior.
“We did not believe you,” he says. “She’s such a cute little dog…but something is not quite right. She is a rescue dog with issues.”
The next stop is the vet for flea and tick medication. She does not want the vet to touch her. She does not want flea medication. She locks her knees, throws her head back, squints her eyes, bares her sharp teeth and raises her claws. I leave the room and they are finally able to wrangle her.
The vet says goodbye. “She is a rescue dog with issues. Is it safe to keep her?”
Safe to keep her? What are my choices? All of my hopes are pinned on the dog training.
Clover and I drive out to visit my sister Chris at the beach.
“Why on earth did you bring that awful little statue to the beach?” she asks.
“The lady at the dog shelter told me to keep it near Clover.”
“Where is the other foo lion?” she asks.
“What is a foo lion?” I ask.
“That statue that you have in your hands, it’s a foo lion.”
“Oh, its a lion,” I say, surprised. “I couldn’t tell exactly what it was. But I only have one.”
“What do you think happened to the other one?” she asks.
“You’re kidding,” I laugh. “Isn’t one enough?
“No, I think there are always two. In China they are thought to protect homes and buildings.”
“So how does a statue protect homes?”
“Their power is in their claws, their fangs and their eyes.”
I take down the statue and look at it. I had seen that look.
“Now I do see the resemblance.” I say, puzzled. “Now that you mention it Clover behaves more like a lion than a dog!
I tell my granddaughter Thea about the statue.
“Why don’t you find out more about the lady who brought her in the first time? The one who left the statue at the shelter,” Thea suggests.
“Sure, let me do that. There is something very odd about the whole thing.”
I call the dog shelter.
“Hi, Remember me from the Pomeranian poodle puppy I adopted last month. Do you remember giving me a small statue the original owner had left with the puppy?”
“I do,” she responds.
“Could you ask the lady who left it to contact me? I have a question about the statue,” I add.
“Oh, I hope everything is okay. Sure, I can do that.”
My phone rings about twenty minutes later.
“Hello, the lady at the dog shelter asked me to give you a call. Is the puppy okay?”
“Sure,” I said, “I’m calling about the statue.”
“The little statue I left at the shelter?” she asks, with trembling in her voice.
“Do you think we can meet somewhere for coffee? I am in town this afternoon and I have some questions about the statue.” I say, trying to sound casual.
She begins crying. “I know, it’s all my fault. I never intended….I am so sorry, so sorry.”
“So you don’t mind meeting with me?” I ask, hopefully.
“Okay, okay. Here’s my address. About two o’clock?”
I park in front of a narrow cement building with big windows, maroon drapes with gold fringe and hundreds of little statues and decorations in her tiny garden in front. An older woman wearing layers of clashing scarves and necklaces over a crocheted poncho and black leggings opens the door. She had 1980’s eyeliner tatooed on her eyes.
“Please come in, come in. You can sit over here. I just set some hibiscus tea.” She begins very busily moving cups and spoons.
“Thank you,” I say, hoping she will sit down, “I brought the statue,” setting it on the table.
She begins crying again. I had clearly struck a nerve.
“There were two of them. There are always pairs of foo lions. In China they are called stone temple lions. In Japan they are called foo dogs, but they are not dogs, they are lions who will protect your home or a building. They were sitting there”, she said, pointing to the mantle. She stared at the mantle for some time.
“And then something happened?” I asked.
“I found an old book at a yard sale showing how to put spells on things. I was just standing here in this room waving sage, practicing the words and movements and before I knew it, the statue…..(breathing heavily)…the statue began moving and came alive and a puppy jumped off the mantle. I could not believe it. I had cast a spell! Me! A spell! ” Her eyes grow wider as if she is very proud of herself and then she begins crying again. “I’m so sorry!”
I cannot believe what I am hearing. For a moment I feel like someone inside a Tin-tin adventure and try to imagine what she is describing. Moments later my scientific mind kicks in. Is this woman on drugs?
“Are you kidding me? A statue on the mantle came alive with a spell?” This is just plain kookie. I stare into my teacup, trying not to laugh or roll my eyes at what she is telling. So this is the twilight zone.
“The little puppy was so cute and sweet and I was so happy for about a week. And then she began snarling and biting and scratching me and that is when I took her to the shelter.”
“So that explains why she is behaving like a lion and not a dog?” I said, catering to her crazy story, for fear she might try to put a spell on me!
She nods eagerly. I had to go. This is too much. I can not stay any longer.
“Okay, well thank you for letting me come over. Clover seems pretty happy in her new home, just difficult at times around people.” I am in a hurry to say goodbye.
I tell my granddaughter Thea about my visit and the very strange story about the statue. Thea loves dogs and walks well-behaved dogs in her neighborhood.
“I don’t really believe in magic spells, but if the lady did cast a spell how do we know the she won’t do another spell and make her a statue again?” Thea asks, even though we both think the whole thing about spells is really unlikely.
“Well, we know that Clover is alive and not a statue. We know that she behaves badly for a dog. And we know she behaves quite normal for a lion. So since she is here and she is alive maybe we need to look at her differently.”
Clover does not like the rain.
Clover does not like water.
Clover likes to sit and watch fish in a pond.
Clover does not want a collar on her neck.
Clover does not want a leash on her collar.
Clover does not want random people to pet her.
Clover does not like the smell of medication.
Clover is much like a cat. A lion is a cat.
Clover seems quite content as a living lion. She loves her morning walks. She loves to sit for long stretches and protect the birds. She does not allow any cats or squirrels anywhere near the birdfeeders.
Clover loves to be petted only when she decides. As soon as I sit down on the couch she jumps up and paws at my hand to pet her. As soon as I sit on the bed to put my socks on for a walk, she jumps up and lowers her head for a neck and shoulder rub.
Clover loves broccoli. Even when she does not want to go for a walk in the rain, you can lure her to the porch with broccoli.
Clover loves swiss cheese. In the evening when I slice apples and add a slice of swiss cheese, she comes over, sits silently, puts one paw up and waits for a tiny piece of cheese
Clover loves the snow and jumps straight up and down with
joy. Foo Lions are called Snow Lions in Tibet….so that figures.
Clover’s best friend is an older lady in the neighborhood who likes to read with her. She also prevents me from giving Clover to the zoo on very bad days.
Clover enjoys her life enough not to think she will do better as a statue. Our big problem is not to let animal control know we have a lion in the yard because our neighborhood is not zoned for wild animals and because we only pay taxes on a dog.
I no longer tell people Clover is a rescue dog with issues. I just say she is a Foo Lion who likes to sit by the door protecting her friends.