I was nervous about fostering dogs. Let’s face it, when you are bringing an animal into your home, you never know what can happen. Would they bite us? Would they be wild and unruly? Would they get out of control? Were they housebroken? Would they try to run away?
But, there are a lot of dogs in shelters who are euthanized every year because no one adopts them, and that breaks my heart and I knew I wanted to be part of a solution. So, we took the risk. And, I must say, our mentor from Colonel Potter did a great job or reassuring us that she would be there for us and help us through any situation.
We got the call on a Monday that there were two dogs in a veterinarian’s office about 40 minutes away, they had been rescued from a shelter and brought to the vet and Colonel Potter Cairn Terrier Rescue needed someone to pick them up. They were calling us for one, but we agreed to pick up both dogs. Two male cairn terrier mixes. We didn’t know if they would be housebroken or not, but the vet said they were sweet.
By Thursday of that week, Colonel Potter had sent us food from Chewy; collars, harnesses and leashes from Amazon and they had arranged for us to pick up two dog carriers at Petsmart. We spent Thursday getting ready. We bought treats, toys and water bowls for the dogs.
On Friday morning, my daughter and I made the trek (which should take 40 minutes but summer in NJ on a road that lead to the beach…and it took much longer getting there). We went into the vet’s office and the vet tech came out and went over both dogs’ care with us. Then she brought us around and introduced to each and helped us get them in their crate and we were on our way.
I drove and my daughter was in the passenger seat. One of the dogs cried quite a bit and my daughter did her best to comfort him while keeping him in his carrier.
When we got to our house, my daughter carried the crying pup, in the carrier to our backyard and I stayed by the car with the other dog. My daughter walked the first little guy around the yard on a leash as Colonel Potter stipulated and he did his business, then she brought him inside and into her bedroom. My other daughter came out at that point and helped me carry the carrier for the other dog to the backyard, where we walked the other dog on his leash around so he could do his business. The Rescue wanted them kept separate for a few days.
Each of the dogs hung out in each of my daughters’ (they are 16 and 18) bedrooms for the first few days. They sat on the girls’ laps and got A LOT OF LOVE. They ate in there and slept in their crates in the girls’ rooms.
After a few days, we introduced them in the backyard and they did great! So the next day we let them hang out together and they were fine, so they were allowed to roam the house (this is just what worked for us).
Both of the dogs we got were housebroken, although one had one accident even though he had just been brought outside.
Feeding was difficult. They didn’t eat well the first few days and we were concerned and added a bit of wet food to their food and eventually they did both eat their food.
They were not interested in toys and did seem a little unsettled, even though they laid down and cuddled with us. I don’t think they were completely relaxed. My mother, who has been involved with New Life Boxer Rescue, said in her experience it takes months for a dog to relax in a new home.
We got to know both so we could make recommendations to the Rescue.
We did get attached and I think they did as well. But we knew they were going to good homes. We did cry, we did worry about them. But the new “moms” messaged me and sent me photos and told me how the boys were doing.
It was hard saying good bye, but our family has discussed it and we are all looking forward to our next foster. We want to help save dogs from euthanasia and the more people willing to foster, the more dogs can be saved. We found the experience fun and rewarding. Even though these boys only lived with us for a little while, we will talk about them for years to come.
There is something so rewarding about changing this:
The first is the dogs’ shelter pics, the second is the one on the right a few days after he got to our home.
I felt like these guys had had it rough and were able to relax a little with us, like we were a spa vacation and they knew it.
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