Mr. Peepers: He Chose Me

by Pet Photographer Seth Casteel

Like most of you reading this, I’ve also had the privilege of fostering several dogs. Working in animal welfare, countless opportunities present themselves, and fostering every single dog isn’t exactly a realistic option. So how do you choose? For me in past experiences, it’s seemed like the dog has chosen me – usually through a connection I had with the dog combined with the current circumstances of the dog’s situation – the latter with the most weight.
In the case of “Mr. Peepers,” his circumstances weren’t great, and regardless of the fact that some folks thought he looked like a demon troll, I thought he was the cutest. He had to come home!
Mr. Peepers' Portrait
Shelter and rescue statistics have revealed that certain types of dogs are generally adopted faster than others. Due to Mr. Peepers’ “not-so-cute-and-cuddly” appearance, he definitely didn’t have a line of people waiting to adopt him, so he needed a little extra assistance. 
Furthermore, Mr. Peepers’ flea infestation wasn’t helping. Neither was his nervous demeanor around new people, his Level 10 flight risk attitude, or the fact that his awkward physicality caused him to blast himself in the chest and face with urine unintentionally every time he relieved himself. He was always so surprised when it happened, and would bark and run around in search of the prankster, not realizing it was himself. At first it was quite funny, but then it just just a bummer because he always smelled like urine. Ewww! During my time with Peepers, we never did figure out a solution to stop it from happening, but I just kept some pet wipes available at the front door.

Fostering every single dog isn’t exactly a realistic option. So how do you choose? For me in past experiences, it’s seemed like the dog has chosen me.

My dog, Nala, is very easy going and great with other dogs, so she wasn’t even rattled when Peepers snapped at her during their first meet-and-greet. It was clear right away that Peepers also had anxiety about meeting other dogs, but Nala was able to help him out with that and within a few days, he adored Nala, and then he was able to meet other dog friends, too.

On our daily walks down to the Venice Beach pier, many heads would turn. The level of curiosity was high – with some passersby moving a little closer to get a better look, while others screamed and ran away – seriously. “Is that a baby Hyena?” I was asked. “Yes, of course. His name is Mr. Peepers.” I revealed I was joking, but then decided to use the Hyena line every time I met someone new. People loved it, but were always a little disappointed when I told them he was actually a dog.

Over the duration of the foster experience, Mr. Peepers made incredible progress. He went from a shy and nervous recluse, to a confident and friendly explorer, even allowing strangers to pet him. Passersby were surprised to discover how great he was!

Seth, Nala, and Mr. Peepers
Mr. Peepers generated a lot of interest from potential adopters and ultimately went to live with an awesome retired couple with a lovely backyard! 
I’m so grateful I had the chance to foster Mr. Peepers and look forward to the next FidoFoster opportunity!