When we agreed to adopt Snow, my husband said we would have to stop fostering. We have 3 dogs and 3 cats, so I can't blame him. Without him, I would probably be considered a hoarder by some, and a crazy cat and dog lady by others. When I see an animal that would otherwise die, I want to help.
Over the past month, we've been talking about doing some temp fostering here or there. A weekend, or a week. Something with a definitive time frame, instead of weeks and months on end. He agreed we could do that, because he is pretty awesome.
Then this past week, we received an owner surrender request. The dog is a 9 month old red merle female aussie and her owner could no longer take care of her because she needed to take care of herself. I'm thankful she tried to get her dog into rescue instead of dropping her off at one of many high kill shelters in North Carolina.
When I saw her info, and photos, I knew I had work to do…on my husband.
Being the voice of reason, he said no. And no. And no some more.
Being the big teddy bear that he is, he then said yes.
I picked her up yesterday. Isn't she just precious?
The first few days
I have always found that the first few days of fostering are the hardest. Between each of our dogs own unique personalities and the new dog's unknown personality, things get hectic. The new dog has been here less than 24 hours and I'm already thinking, “What have I done?”.
Our schedules are all messed up.
My puppy is jealous.
The new dog is confused and rambunctious.
I'm hot and tired and overwhelmed.
I would have loved to get more sleep today but the new dog isn't used to sleeping in a crate, I assume, so that didn't happen. Which means I'm extra cranky.
When feeding the new dog, she loves to push all of her food out of the bowl (it's wet food by the way) and makea a huge mess. Which means feeding is taking that much longer.
I'm not a new foster by any means, so I know what to expect. But I can imagine someone just starting out, being ready to throw in the towel.
Don't give up
We are crating and rotating. This is awesome for being able to get the foster familiar with how things roll in your house, and also allows your dogs to do what they do without having to worry about this new dog. Then we switch, and the resident dogs go in their crates and the foster gets time out. We want to make sure everyone is safe and learning to respect each other.
Does it take more time? Yes.
Is it the best thing for everyone, myself included? YES.
Does it work? HELL YES!
If you do one thing, do this.
Another really important thing to remember is to slooooow everything down and make sure you are setting the new foster dog up for success. That takes time and patience. It would be lovely to think your foster dog is just going to come to you fully trained and perfect, but that's not reality. And so if we rush everything (introductions, crating, basic manners), we are stacking everything up for our foster dog to fail…which is most importantly not fair to that dog, who has already been failed enough.
It gets better
So while, I'm hot and bothered right now, I am reminding myself that in a few days, we'll be back to a new normal.
And what I've really done is help a dog that didn't have any place to go. That will always be worth it.