After His Sister ‘Belle’ is Adopted, ‘Beast’ Transforms with Love of Foster Family

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This story has been adapted from a beautiful account of the fostering experience written by Beast’s former foster dad Phil, as well as a touching update from his adopter Magen.

Beast came into Animal Care League as a local stray in November of 2019 along with his sister Belle. These two silly siblings were typical teenage pups and though they loved each other, they were not required to be adopted together. Eventually Belle found her forever home, but Beast was still waiting. We decided that Beast deserved a break from the shelter and a potential foster family was found.

PHOTO: QUINN LENTZ

When the potential foster family first met Beast, we warned them that the meeting might not go so well. Beast could be wild, uncomfortable with strangers upon first meeting them, and was particularly uncomfortable with men. We advised the fosters not to look him in the eye and to quickly give him treats as they walked alongside him. That first meeting, they tried petting Beast, but he snapped his mouth shut and warned that he wasn’t yet comfortable.

We hoped the second meeting would go better. Indeed, he recognized the fosters and this time allowed them to pet him, but he was still of such a temperament that they weren’t quite comfortable taking him home. Thankfully, they decided to give it a third try. This final time, the fosters brought their puppy Sadie along and she and Beast hit it off and loved playing together. It now seemed that he was comfortable with the fosters and indeed they were comfortable with taking him home, if only for a little while.

A Dedicated Foster Family

As the first day or two passed, Beast began to shed his tough guy exterior—it melted away to reveal the sweetest dog the fosters had ever met. All Beast was looking for was attention, affection, and to be touched. He loved playing with his foster sisters and running around the yard to rid himself of all of the excess energy he was carrying.

The fosters knew that Beast needed some time, patience, and love so that his true, loving nature could shine through, so they decided to commit to fostering him as long as it took for him to find the forever home that he deserved. Because he was anything but a beast and his sister Belle had already been adopted, the fosters decided to soften up his image a bit and start calling him Bigby.

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As the summer moved on, he came to love his foster home, love his sisters, and love his foster parents. He became particularly attached to the foster dad, Phil, which was surprising considering that at one point he had an aversion to males. Now, however, Bigby couldn’t be separated from Phil. He was his loving shadow, always waiting for a pat on the head, a belly rub, and for him to make a move so he could jump up and follow along by his side.

Ready for Adoption

After two-and-a-half months of living in the foster home, a couple inquired about Bigby and wanted to meet with him. They were prepped, as the fosters were, that the meeting might not go so well, that he had an aversion to strangers, didn’t like eye contact, and that they might have to meet him a few times before he warmed up to them.

When they met Bigby, he immediately walked up to them, and very calmly waited for them to pet him. When they did he eagerly accepted and let them know that he wanted more. His new potential parents were allowed to walk him and they quickly fell in love with Bigby, that sweet and lovable beast who at one point didn’t want people looking him in the eye. It was a match made in heaven and they took him home that day. Bigby, who was renamed Sunny, now spends his days cuddling with his new moms on the couch, happy and content as can be.

PHOTO: QUINN LENTZ

Since adopting Bigby, his adopters say he has brought nothing but happiness into their lives—he is the most lovable dog they’ve ever met. His adopters are convinced he thinks he weighs about 5 pounds because he loves to plop down on his mom’s chest or face to beg for some kisses and belly rubs. As happens in so many cases, Bigby’s adopters feel like he’s the one who saved them.

We’ve included much on the topic of Bigby’s experience with his foster family because fostering has been such a huge part of animal sheltering during COVID-19 and because the experience had a profound impact on Beast, his foster family, and on the ease with which he went through his eventual adoption process.

Bigby’s journey through our shelter, into a foster home, and finally to adoption was rewarding beyond words for all involved. Seeing an animal transform like that, from wild and cautious, to calm and loving just further proves that all most animals need is a home, some love, and some structure to let their inner beauty shine for all the world to see.

Story submitted by Quinn Lentz.

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