Things don't always work out the way we expect them to. But they usually work out the way they should.
That's what happened with a small basset hound named Penn, a beautiful male about 2 years old with a light brown face, floppy ears, a glossy black spotted body and white stockings.
Penn, so named because he was found at a truck stop in Arkansas with a second basset that rescuers named Teller, was brought to this area by All Bassets Cherished Basset Rescue. He was supposed to be a foster dog at the home of Gordon and Katie Perry of Cheektowaga, just staying there until he could be adopted. After the first of Penn's two scheduled weeks with the Perrys, Katie Perry asked her husband every day, "Can I keep him?"
"He is a gem, he is so good. He's just a good little dog. I couldn't believe how well-mannered he was – he was just about perfect. I fell in love with him," she says.
Gordon reminded Katie that they had agreed before they started to foster that they would not become victims of the well-known "foster failure" problem. That's when a homeless dog endears himself so completely and fits in so well with the family that the temporary placement becomes permanent. The only down side to foster failure, says Shelley Gordon of Cheektowaga, vice president of ABC Basset Rescue, is that "when you foster-fail too many times, you can't foster any more."
Shelley Gordon should know. She has foster-failed with four basset hounds, as well as adopting one outright. After the recent death of Dudley, Gordon and her husband, Don, now have Diesel, 5, and his mother, Eeyore, 8, who came into rescue separately; Duke, who is 7 and deaf; and Claude, who fell asleep in a dog bed Gordon had behind her table at a basset adoption event. "He chose us, so we had to keep him," says Gordon. "He made it clear that he was our dog."
Convinced by her husband that Penn would find a good home, Katie Perry took him to a Basset Bash on April 28 in Rochester. "I wasn't even in the door and they were saying, ‘Come on, we have a family for him!' " she says. "So they took him, and I cried."
The Perrys were busy in May and early June, with a few trips planned, including one to their daughter's graduation from Marine boot camp. When they returned home and were ready to foster again, Katie Perry checked the ABC Basset Rescue website. There she discovered that Penn had been returned by the family because they wanted a more high-energy dog.
"I wondered if they knew what kind of dog they were adopting," says Gordon. "Did you think they were getting an Australian shepherd or a border collie? They had the dog for a week and returned him."
When Perry got the update on Penn, she says, "I texted my husband to tell him Penn was back up for adoption, and I said, ‘I want him!' He called me and said, ‘If you really want him, he's going to be your birthday present.' " She emailed the adoption coordinator.
But there was yet another hurdle to jump. Because officials of ABC Basset Rescue never knew that Katie Perry longed to keep Penn, he had already been promised to somebody else. Again, her hopes were dashed. "I said, well, maybe it wasn't meant to be," she says sadly.
Or maybe it was. The woman to whom Penn had been promised did not follow up with the group, so the adoption coordinator called Katie Perry to say, "He's yours."
Last week, Penn came home for the ?final time.
When the Perrys went to get him at the foster home in Tonawanda where he was staying, Katie Perry says, "I don't think he recognized us at first, but I knelt down and ?he gave me tons of kisses, because he's just ?that way, he loves everybody. We brought ?him home and he was sniffing around the yard and it was almost as if a light bulb went on and he thought, ‘I remember this place!' because he got all happy and jumpy."
Her feeling that Penn remembered the house was confirmed when, she says, "he went to get a drink of water where his bowl used to be, and I hadn't put it down yet, and he kind of looked at me, like ‘Hey!' " she says, laughing. "I think he remembers the schedule, too."
One thing needed to change – Penn's name. "It's kind of silly to have a Penn without a Teller," says Katie Perry. So the happy basset's name is now Finn, short for Finnigan, similar enough to be familiar but a new name for a new lease on life.
All Bassets Cherished Basset Rescue continues to bring bassets and basset ?mixes to this area to be adopted. Six dogs arrived over the weekend from Texas, almost all with medical problems needing immediate attention. Donations to pay for their care, foster homes and permanent adoptive homes are always needed. For more information or to offer a temporary or permanent home to a basset hound, go to nybassset.org or call Gordon at 656-1760.