Two years ago - on Feb 13, 2014 - Rob and I picked up a little dog from a vet... to foster for the Victoria Humane Society.
Her name was Izzy and she had the sweetest disposition.
This little shih-tzu cross was in bad shape. Her skin was covered in scabs and dried blood - she barely had any coat - there was nowhere for it to grow from. She had endured treatments, many kinds of medicine and different diets over the years, but she continued to be riddled with both allergies... and mites.
She hopped into our car and came home with us for a week. A foster home with lots of experience helping dogs with severe skin problems was lined up, but she was away for a week.
It was a tough week. We couldn't really walk her because the pads of her paws were raw. She could only wear a harness for short periods of time because they would rub against her raw skin and make it bleed... more. But she loved going outside into the yard. And she loved cuddling.
My husband and I took turns sleeping with her in a nest made up on the floor. She was restless at night so we wanted to be there for her and our other dog, Mr Coco still wasn't sure what was going on and who this other dog was.
We tried a moisturizing bath, but even that upset her skin. We had to make little booties for her front paws because her scabs were coming open and she was leaving a little blood trail through the house. She wore them, but she didn't really like them.
When 'Auntie Lynn' came back to town (and to the rescue), we zipped up island to meet her at the vet and from there Izzy got on track. It took Lynn and Izzy about a year, but neither gave up. In that time, Izzy went on lots of road trips and adventures with Lynn... and LOTS of vet visits.
A few months later I met them for one of their vet visits and Izzy couldn't have cared less that I was there - instead she wanted to zip around the vet clinic.
Lynn brought her over a couple times for visits and although she was healing and clearly feeling better, it was more for us, than for her. To see her getting better, helped to fog the memories of her pain that week.
But last week when we saw that little dog, she was so, so, so happy! She lives with 4 dogs and gets lots of time at the beach - she LOVES the water. She commanded belly rubs from my husband and came over and just sat by me.
Her new family knows how special she is. She made herself at home from the moment she entered that house and she's never looked back.
I've photographed a lot of dogs who weren't feeling their best - in shelters, at vets and even being fostered at our home - so sometimes it's hard not focus on what they've been through. But then I see them - all settled, happy and healthy - and the focus easily shifts.
Big thanks to the VHS, 'Auntie Lynn', and Team Izzy B and especially Izzy's new family - Carol, Ralph, Honey, Sami and Scooter.