Monday, January 9, 2017


Smart doggies at a shelter quickly learn to put on their best manners so a human will take them home. However, if no one taught a dog manners, they are likely to bark and jump and scare away any humans looking for a furry companion. Also, a lot of dogs can’t handle the stress of being confined to a kennel.

Going to a foster home can give doggies a much needed break, as well as add social skills and cute tricks to their canine resumé in applying for a new furever home with a human family. 

Loving a dog unconditionally was easy, and I jumped into being a doggie foster parent.

My first foster dog was a Lhasa Apso mix who received an injury to one eye and had it surgically removed. He came home with me to recover. When the time came to take him back to the shelter to wait for an adoptive family, my doggie foster career began crumbling. I wanted to keep him!

Someone adopted him in less than a week and, at a shelter event about a year later, this dog came with his family. He was obviously adored! Relief flooded through me this had worked out.

My second foster dog was also recovering from surgery. When the time came to return Batman to the shelter, things didn’t work out like they did with my first foster dog. The day I adopted Batman, my future as a doggie foster parent took a definite downward turn. A failed foster, my co-workers teased me, as they chalked up another adoption.

Adopting Batman brought my doggie count up to three and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to handle the additional responsibility of foster dogs. However, it was hard for me to say no to a dog in need.

When kennel cough swept through the shelter, a number of dogs were placed in isolation. They had been on medication for awhile and were just serving the rest of their time to be sure no symptoms come back. Taking on two teenaged doggie girls who needed to play and be cuddled wasn’t really a tough decision for me. They quickly bonded with each other and with my Batman, running circles in my yard, giving Batman great exercise therapy to strengthen the leg that had been broken.

A third teenaged dog joined us a couple weeks later. He bonded quickly with my foster girls and Batman. The four of them made for a wild and crazy time racing around the back yard, then curled all together to sleep.

During this time, I also realized one of the benefits of having multiple dogs is the older dogs teach newcomers appropriate behavior. When the youngsters came inside, my older dogs continued their lessons, insisting they not play. As a result, they learned to be down and quiet in the house. More effective than a human trying to teach manners!

My foster doggies quickly stole pieces of my heart and learned what was expected of them. Then came the tough part. Letting my foster babies go brought many tears. I checked on them every day at the shelter and bugged other staff about how they were doing back in a kennel and if anyone had shown an interest in them. When they were adopted, I fervently prayed their new families would keep them forever.

Didn’t take me long to figure out being a foster parent was not my strong suit, but a big paws up to anyone who does this to give doggies a better chance of being adopted. 

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