My Fostering Mistake and the Grace of OPH

One thing I really appreciate about OPH is that they treat those of us who foster with such respect. They truly assume that we are all intelligent, resourceful people who can read directions and follow instructions. I appreciate this about them, but at the same time I wish they’d micromanage me just a little, or maybe nag, just a touch of nag would be good.

Seems my inability to follow instructions means my pups are stuck with me for three extra days. Certainly I don’t mind their happy presence, but I know their adopters would much rather have them home sooner than later. Major apologies.

Want to hear my excuse? (I’m going to give it to you anyway.)

My ongoing excuse for everything from dropping the wrong kid off in the wrong location at the wrong time for the wrong practice or forgetting to return an email, phone call, library book or the beverage dispensers I borrowed for the sangria at my fourth of July party is this: There are just entirely too many cups spinning on the plate balancing on the end of the stick that the monkey in my mind is holding.

Way too much happening in here. That’s my default excuse.

My specific excuse when it comes to my screw up with the worming of my puppies is this:  The bottle was at the bottom of the bag wearing no directions and hidden by the six bags of probiotics and six melting containers of coconut oil (all very similar in color, mind you).

I did eventually notice the unlabeled bottle and the extra syringes but figured it was more shampoo for my perennially poopy pups and the syringes had something to do with the bag of vaccines in my fridge.

Of course, if I was the direction-reading, instruction-following foster OPH assumes I am, I would have read the label and noticed a second wormer listed on the bag in addition to the little tablet wormers that I had already registered. I would have also referred back to the email with the instructions for puppies that I received with my very first puppy (Wheat Penny! Remember her!) which clearly states that puppies get an extra wormer, sometimes two. But no, didn’t happen.

So the mysterious bottle of whitish goop was left undisturbed until I had a few moments Sunday to sort out the puppy stuff. I stared at the blank bottle, sniffed its contents (definitely not shampoo), and then emailed Gina-who-I-believe-knows-everything. She was somewhat stumped but only because of my meager description. So she asked that I text a picture and then – yes, she knew what that was. It was the wormer I was supposed to have dispensed to the puppies at 1.5ml per five pounds of puppy upon their arrival and then again a week later.


So I immediately dosed them Monday morning after they’d eaten. And then alerted the potential adopters that there would be a delay in pup pick-up. They more or less took it well, but I’m still feeling guilty and I know it’s created a few headaches in terms of travel on their ends.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Children and animals have taught me this time and again. Maybe that’s why I love both so much.

This morning I read a sad story about unwanted kittens inside a cardboard box dumped out the window of a speeding car on I-83 yesterday. They survived miraculously, but it reminded me that what we are doing is important. We are picking up the slack left by people unwilling or unable to care for the animals dependent on them and the animals created when irresponsible people fail to neuter their pets.

OPH, and many other organizations like the one which took in the highway kittens, meet a pressing need in our society. I’m honored to be a teeny part of the good work they do, even when I don’t do it well.

So let me take this opportunity to give a shout out to OPH and the amazing support they give to all of us who foster for them. Let me also take this opportunity to invite YOU to join me on this adventure. Fostering with OPH is a great deal. Here’s why:

They provide immediate 24-hour support and encouragement. They are immensely forgiving of incompetence, although I’m sure my next batch of puppies will come with highlighted directions and a reminder email or two.

The physical and emotional health of not only the foster dogs, but your own personal dog, is of utmost concern to them. There are veterinary, dog-training, and puppy-care experts always ready to give you advice and answer questions.

You are not doing this on your own. Besides the network of other supportive fosters, as a new foster I am matched up with an experienced foster (Kayla!) who is ready with advice, support, encouragement and the answers to any fostering question. Attending adoption events gives you a chance to meet some of these similarly crazy people in person.

Fosters are provided with careful instructions, plenty of preventatives, supplies like puppy pens, pads, food, toys, collars, towels, treats, and crates, most of which is donated by wonderful supporters or paid for by the dedicated fundraising that is an endless (and thankless – thanks!) task. Fostering has cost me nothing but time (and maybe a few stuffed animals).

And more than all that – fostering is fun. Really fun. It’s like getting a brand new dog every couple weeks. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to let them go, but then a new one shows up soon enough. Probably more experienced fosters would say there are some dogs that are really tough, but you can take comfort in the fact that you won’t have that pup forever. Once again, a new one is on the way.

But the greatest reward is knowing you are helping amazing, deserving animals like these:

Boz and Lug Nut
Boz and Lug Nut
Jillie Bean
Jillie Bean
Chick Pea (standing on Homeboy) plus Jillie
Chick Pea (standing on Homeboy) plus Jillie
Carla and Stitch
Carla and Stitch
Wheat Penny
DSC_8043 - Copy

3 thoughts on “My Fostering Mistake and the Grace of OPH”

  1. Cara, we are SO glad to have you as part of our team of fosters! Everyone makes mistakes – even Gina-who-knows-everything. 🙂 ❤


  2. One of the main reasons why some dogs are tougher to manage is because of their past experiences and the resulting impact they’ve had on the dog. An abusive owner could’ve instilled fear or aggression into them. Past bad clashes with dogs could make them wary or aggressive towards them now. Foster families should keep these in mind. It’s good that OPH and other organizations provide continuous education for their foster families and those in the community who may consider doing it in the future. Thanks for teaching and entertaining us on your blog.


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