Dogs are loyal and devoted creatures, so they deserve to be loved and treated as a member of our family. Krueger, a psychologist, is a dog foster mom who specializes in teaching ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ dogs to trust humans again. She’s fostered 30 dogs so far, but Zelda was an especially case.
When Seneca Krueger first picked up her foster dog Zelda last year, she could never have predicted the remarkable journey the dog would one day make to be with her again. Krueger noticed that Zelda seemed calmest when on a ʟᴇᴀsʜ, so she began tether training her — and slowly the skittish dog began to open up. Krueger said:” She came with ᴀɴᴛɪ-ᴀɴxɪᴇᴛʏ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs. Zelda paced. All day long she was either ᴘᴀᴄɪɴɢ or ʜɪᴅɪɴɢ. When I was home, she was attached to me. Over the course of two weeks of tether training, I had also ᴡᴇᴀɴᴇᴅ her off of her ᴀɴᴛɪ-ᴀɴxɪᴇᴛʏ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs, and the ᴘᴀᴄɪɴɢ had ᴅᴇᴄʀᴇᴀsᴇᴅ. She was even willing to come out of ʜɪᴅɪɴɢ on her own for brief periods of time.”
After two months of living with Krueger and her two family dogs, Zelda finally wagged her tail. At four months, she began to bark and play — though she still sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇᴅ with unexpected noises and when visitors dropped by. Still, Krueger knew that she had helped Zelda as much as she possibly could, and it was time to let her go. Krueger said:” As Zelda began to gain a little more confidence, I decided it was time for her to find her forever home. This is what you are supposed to do as a dog foster, help them adjust and then happily say goodbye as they go and live their best lives.” Krueger drove Zelda 65km to her new home, but breaking up with her was harder than she expected. She said:” What happens is you love them, and then you let them go and you take the next one. With Zelda, I adopted her out and spent three days crying. I felt like I had ʟᴏsᴛ my dog. I had to pull over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see through my tears. For the first time in my 12 years of dog fostering, I felt like I had given away my dog.”
Ten days after saying goodbye, Krueger received the call that every dog owner ᴅʀᴇᴀᴅs — Zelda had gone ᴍɪssɪɴɢ after slipping her ʟᴇᴀsʜ. Krueger immediately jumped in the car to begin searching for her. When Krueger heard what happened, she threw herself into the search to bring Zelda home! She said:” Three times a week I was out for four or five hours. The coldest days were the days I spent the most time searching because I was desperate to get Zelda warm and safe. I spent hours out in the freezing cold, following dog tracks through ravines, frozen swamps and fields.” Soon, sightings of the ʟᴏsᴛ dog started coming from Chanhassen to Orono, which sits well north of Lake Minnetonka. That’s when Krueger brought in START for Dogs to get help.
Finally, after 51 ᴀɢᴏɴɪᴢɪɴɢ days, Zelda was spotted in Minneapolis. Krueger became convinced that Zelda was searching for her specifically, so the anxious dog mom went around the neighborhood and put up over 100 ʟᴏsᴛ dog flyers. Krueger said:” It was a miracle, and what else do you do in the face of a miracle? I sobbed. I apologized to Zelda for not recognizing her. I assured her that she was going home forever and that I never stopped looking for her.” Zelda has been adjusting well to being at home, and couldn’t be happier to be with her mom again. Krueger added:” She has become my Velcro dog, and is never more than a few feet away from me at all times. My other dogs are happy to have her back as well and groom her a lot. For Zelda, this family is forever. I never could have imagined that the whole time I was searching for Zelda, she was searching for me, too. Zelda is officially my dog. But let’s be honest, it’s not like I had a choice. She is very persistent.”