adopters, Dogs with Issues, fosterdogs, fostering, Momma Bear, Nowzad dogs, oph, poop, puppies, returned dogs, Updates

It’s Hard, Every Time (but that’s not the point)

“Isn’t it hard to give them away?”

If you foster dogs, this is a question tossed at you on a regular basis. I hear it so often, that I thought I’d just take a moment to set the record straight.

Yes, it is hard to give them away. Every time. Sometimes it’s harder than others.

For instance, I won’t miss cleaning up after twelve puppies, but I will miss each of these precious pups who I’ve come to know and love. I will miss George’s impish ways and Zora’s constant need for hugs. I will miss Louisa May’s soft, soft coat and the quiet way Eudora leans in to me wanting my attention but not demanding it like the others. I will miss all these pups. Just like I miss all the dogs and puppies that came before them.

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So, yes, it is very hard to give them away. But I know when they arrive at my house that the day is coming when I will watch them leave. I don’t ever think of these dogs as ‘mine.’ I think of the time they have with me as a sort of a grace period. It’s my gift to them- a safe place to get their feet underneath themselves and know love and security so they are ready to go to their forever homes.

In the beginning, fostering for us was about having fun with a new dog, we even flirted with keeping one or another. Continue reading “It’s Hard, Every Time (but that’s not the point)”

foster dogs, Hadley, Momma Bear, oph

A Painful Goodbye and a Difficult Hello

If you stopped by our house, you might not notice our newest foster puppy. That’s because Hadley never moves, unless forced. She’s like a little frozen statue, curled in a ball and hoping you won’t notice her.

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Watching her this weekend has been heartbreaking.

We picked her up Friday night from transport and she cowered silently in her crate the whole ride. When we got home, I coaxed her out of the cage, clipped on a leash, and set her on the ground, where she froze. I tugged on the leash and she followed me, moving close to the ground, eyes darting every direction. She’s freaked out from the long ride, I thought and picked her up.

She was filthy and smelly, so the first order of business was to bathe her. She sat still, trembling in the tub as I scrubbed her all over and the water ran brown. Finally clean, I carried her to her crate in our puppy room, turned on the nightlight, and spent a few minutes with her. She retreated to the back of the crate, burrowing under the blankets and towels, avoiding eye contact with me.

The next morning when I opened her crate she pressed herself against the back wall. I knew she had to be hungry and thirsty (she’d refused food and water the night before), so I left the crate door open and the bowls nearby and went for my run.

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When I came back she hadn’t touched either. I reached in to pet her and she allowed it, but she was tense and wouldn’t look at me. We left her alone for the morning, figuring she was just shellshocked after her long journey from South Carolina. When she still hadn’t emerged from the crate by afternoon, I pulled her out and took her outside. She followed me, crouched close to the ground as if we were under sniper fire. Continue reading “A Painful Goodbye and a Difficult Hello”

fosterdogs, Momma Bear, Nowzad dogs, oph, returned dogs, Uncategorized

When the Guest Becomes Family

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Just the other day, I was shocked to retrieve Addie’s red polka-dotted slipper shoe out of Momma Bear’s mouth. For some reason, known only to the canine world, those shoes are the best tasting ones in the house. Pretty much every foster dog has favored them. Somehow they’ve survived the onslaught, although several dogs ago, Addie had to use blue flowered duct tape to re-secure the liner to the bottom of the shoe.

Momma Bear’s paperwork says she’s between 2 and 5 years old. I’m betting she’s on the low end of that scale. As she’s finally begun to relax at our house, we’re seeing more puppy-like behavior.

Next was Brady’s forgotten croc and then Ian’s stinky sneaker. And the children thought they could stop putting their shoes away since there wasn’t a puppy in the house. Think again!

It’s not just the shoes she’s begun chewing. She’s gnawed on the directions for my new iphone, multiple ball-point pens, and yesterday she found a box of packing peanuts. That was pretty funny. They were the kind made of cornstarch which disappear when wet. She’d poke her long snout into the box in the corner of my office and fish out one peanut and then take it to her favorite spot only to discover it was gone! So she’d return to the box and grab more, repeating the process until I put the box up because I didn’t know if cornstarch was poisonous to dogs (it isn’t). Continue reading “When the Guest Becomes Family”

foster dogs, Momma Bear, oph

Best Foster Dog Evvv-AAAAA!

And we have a winner!

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Best foster dog EV-AAAAAAA!

This is what I tell my children when they plead with me to adopt Momma Bear. I’m very clear that she is still a foster. Yes, I love her. Yes, she is the nicest mannered dog we’ve encountered. (Including our own dog.) And Yes, she is happy here. But NO, we are not adopting her. We’ve been over this. (And over this.)

Momma Bear wins the Best Foster Dog Ev-aaaa Award for many reasons.

First, she’s got perfect manners. I mean perfect. Better than most of my kids. Okay, she does chew up nerf darts, but I think that’s a plus, not a minus. (Less darts for me to pick up.)

She may be a big dog, but she is careful to stay out of your way. She’s attentive to the whereabouts of everyone and is never underfoot. She’s the first foster dog who never climbs on furniture. Never. She won’t even lie on the dog bed.

She’s quiet and saves her barking for important things like the UPS guy on the porch waiting for a signature or my 19-year-old son when he’s locked out at 2am (his father forgot he was home for Thanksgiving break). Continue reading “Best Foster Dog Evvv-AAAAA!”