Before you think I’m some kind of saint, I’ll stop you. I am not a saint.
I foster dogs. Not children.
When I was younger, I wanted to adopt children from a third world country. No particular reason other than that I wanted to give one child a better life.
Then I had five children and adoption didn’t seem like a wise idea. I can hardly care for my own children’s needs, how would I have anything left for another child who would need it, possibly even more than my own kids?
Psychologically, emotionally, mentally, raising kids is hard. By supper time, all I want is for everyone to go to bed! Or to go to bed myself.
Last October, I saw a plea on Facebook for foster homes for puppies.
What you may not know about me is that I am an animal lover. Specifically, I’m a dog person.
My first pet was a rabbit. I don’t know why I wanted a rabbit — or why my parents got me a rabbit for that matter — but that was my first pet.
The neighbour dog killed my bunny. I have no idea how many pet rabbits I went through before my dad boarded up the wire cage my rabbits were housed in and started taking shots on the dog with a pellet gun to scare him off.
He also taught me to shoot the pellet gun, which I gladly did.
At one point, I had over thirty rabbits. Eventually I moved on to cats and got rid of the rabbits.
I am Not a Cat Person.
My first cat was a stray. After I’d had her for about a year, she had kittens and left — or possibly killed – when her babies were only a few weeks only. With my Mom’s help, I raised her three kittens.
When I was 14 years old, I got a dog. A small Terrier mix from a stray dog my friend’s family had taken in. I named her Kippy. Eventually Kippy had puppies and I kept one of them. A few years later, I got a puppy – a German Shepherd Rottweiler mix – but then I had to get rid of the two puppies when I went to University. But I kept Kippy.
Every dog was weird.
Or maybe every owner was weird.
I had to microwave food, toast bread, and put on jams and various spreads for one dog. Another dog was named “Precious.” One dog howled and barked constantly. I ended up chaining him up at the far end of our six acre property.
I watched a dog who had seizures. She had a seizure once when in my care – on the stairs.
I watched an angry male dog who constantly humped his pillow. Constantly.
One dog ran away the first night I had her. I spent a week looking for her before she finally turned up at her home, two miles away. I walked into town twice a day to walk and feed her.
It was a very interesting, eye opening experience. I found out I didn’t like all dogs. But I did my best to give all of them proper care.
After my second year of University, I got a position working at the Humane Society.
I cleaned dog kennels and cat cages. Another eye opening experience.
The worst experiences I had were being lunged at by a new dog who was not yet up for adoption and the time I tied up a “jumper” to clean her kennel and she jumped. And hung herself. I found her hanging over the top of the 7 foot tall chain link fence. I’ll always have that image in my mind.
I also had to clean the feral cat cages which was terrifying at times. We had to wear huge mitts and protective equipment to move the cats around. It was sad to see the cats so scared and angry.
Lulu and Leo, October 2015.
I heard the plea for foster homes for puppies. I filled out an application. Before long, one very young puppy was placed in my care. She was too young to be without her mother but we managed. Two days later, her brother joined us. It made the puppies happier but my job messier. And with white living room carpet, that was not fun.
I fostered my first two puppies for approximately three weeks before they were adopted. I cried each time a puppy left for their new home.
Lucy and Rosie, June to August, 2016.
This June, I got a text. Would I foster a puppy again? Yes. Would I foster a second puppy? Sure, why not. These puppies were a little older than Lulu and Leo. But they were still a lot of work. And this time, they stayed for nearly two months. I didn’t cry when they left.
Lucy, Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
And now, I have a seven pound Chihuahua mixed breed in my care. She’s had puppies, been spayed, and flown to this cold climate from California. The poor girl.
Her name is Lucy, and she is the best foster dog you could ever hope to have. She is house trained and she’s only had one small accident on the linoleum. She is pretty quiet too. She does shed a lot but she’s small. She’s so small!
As with most dogs who come into my home, I am her favourite person. I’m not sure why dogs usually love me, but they do. I’d love to have insight into their little dog world and find out what I’m doing right that makes me so well loved by dogs of most dogs I’ve met. Maybe they love me because I smell like dog butt.
What will become of Lucy? I can’t tell you. If it wasn’t for a $450 bill to adopt her, she’d be mine. She’s been through enough and she’s comfortable here. Don’t you think she deserves to stop being shipped around?
Fostering dogs is rewarding but difficult.