The Oz Project


           CLYBOURN ADULT MALE                             SEPTEMBER 2007

   I'll never forget the day that Clybourn   arrived. The transport driver and I let him out in the indoor exercise area. He was the last of the four Windy City Kids to come out of his travel crate. He wasn't out of his crate for two minutes when he saw Cicero.  The transport driver said "Look. Look at him. What's he doing." I had been looking at Cicero's eyes and wasn't watching Clybourn. I turned to see what he was doing. Clybourn's hair was bristled and his tail was pulled over his back, twitching. I know that my eyes must have popped as my mouth dropped open. Oh, my! He was getting ready to attack Cicero. I calmly said to her "Can you get a hold of his leash for me?" She did. Then she said  " I've never seen any dog do that. What was he doing?" I told her that he was getting ready to go after Cicero. We came so close to a dog fight that day, and poor little Cicero never even saw it coming. Even though they had both came from the same place we decided that they must never have seen each other before, or maybe once upon a time they had a little disagreement. So for the next few days I was careful not to put these two young men together. Slowly Clybourn accepted Cicero and I was able to let them spend time together. Clybourn was quick to learn that when I took him and the other cairns out to the outdoor kennel that I would sit on the kennel platform and watch them  as they played together. When they came to me I would hold them, pet, or play with them. Clybourn would race ahead of the others to get to the platform and wait for me. Soon he started jumping onto it and howling for me to hurry and get there if he thought I was taking too long.


Clybourn loved people and wanted their attention. He was quick to jump up on their leg to greet them. Even though having a dog jump on you isn't what most people like, so many times rescue dogs are afraid of people, and will run from them, or fall over and offer their stomach to them. When a dog offers their stomach to you they are trying to say "Please don't hurt me. I won't hurt you unless you hurt me." This dog is afraid of you, and you must be careful not to scare them even more. So even though jumping on people needs to be corrected, it is so much easier to teach a dog to stop jumping  than it is to teach a dog not to be afraid. So I was happy to see that Clybourn was friendly and not afraid.




   Many people ask me how I can love these little cairns so much and then let them go. It's never been easy. I always   cry as I'm packing their things to send them on their way. They are so happy     at Oz, and many times they cling to me   as I'm putting them into their travel crates to leave. It's always been hard but Clybourn taught me so much. A couple weeks after Clybourn went to his foster home, his foster family invited us to a Blessing Of The Animals at their church. I really wanted my two cairns blessed but I also could hardly wait to see Clybourn again. Yet I worried if it might be hard on Clybourn to have to say goodbye once again. It was hard on Clybourn, but not for the reason I had thought. When we arrived he was so  happy to see us. He happily greeted us and our two cairns.


 Cindy ,Skeeter, Clybourn, Doogie, and Georgie in the front. 

   As we stood together talking the cairn kids exchanged greeting. After the excitement was over I noticed Clybourn started spending more and more time standing close by his foster mom and her daughter. He would come to me for attention and then quickly run back to his foster mom. The longer that we stayed   the closer that he stayed to his foster mom. I picked up on his stress and     hung back when it was time to be seated.  There were a few people that sat between us. I watched Clybourn as every few minutes he looked to see if we were still there. He seemed pulled to us, and yet nervous at the same time. When it was over, once again we all stood  together talking. Then we started making our way to where our cars were parked. The  closer that we got to our cars the more stress that Clybourn showed. We went to our car first and Clybourn pulled towards us. We walked back for one last goodbye. As we walked over to his foster mom's   car I saw a look cross his little face. He thought we were coming to get him. The look was pure regret. Even though he still loved us and wanted our attention he loved his new life even more. Oz was the first good thing that ever happened to  him. He loved the warm bed, clean food, fresh water, playing in the kennel, long walks, and all the attention that was showered on him, but at his foster home he was given so much more. He had a foster mom and dad, foster sisters, and other cairns to play with, there were   walks and talks, but most of all he was given the greatest gift of all...he was part of a family. We said our final goodbye   and walked back to our car as Clybourn watched us leave and eagerly got into his crate to go home with his new family. So even though I always hate sending the Oz Kids off to their new foster homes and  they sometimes cling so tight, I   remember little Clybourn and know that even though they don't want to leave Oz,    they have no idea of the wonderful life  that awaits them.


 I later heard from Clybourn's foster mom. She said that he was quite the little clown, he would sit beside foster dad on the sofa and howl while he played the guitar.

Return next week for Lassiter's story