The decision to foster is not one to be take lightly. To say it will impact your whole family is an understatement. Not to mention that furry lil being that needs some stability in their lives. If we are lucky we will know some of their history, their background, how they came to be. This will help in the transition of getting the lil guy settled. I always thought the hardest thing about fostering was going to be in letting them go. What I had no idea on was the actual bond and connection that will be established as you not only become their saviour but their friend. I have quickly come to learn that only a super special person with an even more super special heart will be able to provide the safe heaven that these animals need. I have fostered and failed. Now as I begin to open up my heart again I have a more clearer understanding of the road ahead. New obstacles always arise but as in the game of life nothing in life is guaranteed.
For awhile I have been toying with the idea of getting my own fuzzy companion. Yes we do have alot of furbabies in the house but as some of my journey will take me away from my family I need to have a piece of them with me. While I was away in Vancouver I fell in love with the sweet lil schitzhu named, Poppy. I did travel the distance to meet her and my heart was ready and open. I had no idea that when I would meet her that she had extreme disabilities. This poor sweet angel probably would never know the warmth of a home or the love that a family provides. It broke everything inside of me to leave her behind. The realist in me told me that my family could not financially committ to her treatment. I had already wrapped my head around the in depth care that would go into loving a sweet being as her. I knew my hand was played and just like as most gamblers the hand dealt was in the house’s favour that day.
Trying to make the best educated decision for me and my family I knew that opening our hearts and homes would make perfect sense to foster. I knew that our senior dog was going to be the toughest to win over. I had no idea how accurate that statement would be.
My love for awareness and fundraising in our animal community led me to the wonderful people at Fur-Ever Homes Rescue Society (http://www.fur-everhomesrescue.com/). It was at one of my many bake sales that I was made aware of this group. They tend to take in smaller dogs and usually they come in from out of the country. Like a fly on the wall I read and watched the volunteer page on Facebook. I didn’t want to make too hastey of a decision but the beauty of fostering is it isn’t a lifelong committment. You are just a point in the animals transition in finding their perfect home. We hadn’t had much luck in the past in fostering cats but I was sure hoping maybe a smal dog would be just the what the DR ordered.
On our many walks our senior dog became more animated whenver a smaller dog would walk by. He was always interested in all dogs so I thought maybe he wanted a lil buddy to explore the world with. I did read somewhere that most species desire to have at least one of their kind it was definetly worth a try. What is the worst that could go wrong right?
The doggy I decided to give a home to his name was Latte. He was to fly into Calgary from LA yesterday. All I really knew (besides what was outlined in the manual) was that I was supposed to be in the cell phone parking lot at 6 PM and await a call. The first thought I had was that my cell phone was completely useless. I didn’t have minutes and I didn’t have data so how was I supposed to know when they were ready? Before I even left for the airport I voiced this as a concern. Arrangements were made and I was to follow a volunteers vehicle to the arrival door. So what happens when that vehicle isn’t in the lot when you are and you really don’t have a means of communicating with anybody. Maybe this cellphoneless idea has come to an end. As frustration tried to set in I scoured the parking lot for people who looked like they may foster dogs. What the heck does a kind hearted, selfless person supposed to look like? This idea wasn’t working in my favour so I had to think of a plan. I could park my car and go into the terminal and use their free WiFi. Uggggghhhhh why me lol At least I didn’t have my son like my husband had wanted. As I drive past the arrival parking lot I looked for dog kennels that looked like they were in need of somewhere to go. It was during my second lap that I realized I could get on the airport WiFi as a drove by. Trying to navigate the internet and how extremely busy the arrival area was I was beginning to realize that maybe that wasn’t the smartest way to go. It was during this attempt that I noticed about 6 doggy Kennels on the US side. Of course I had missed the turn so around I went again. Finally on the right path I got out of the car and said I think one of those doggy’s is for me. When I first say him he was underneath another doggy. He looked just like his pictures and looked even sweeter. On the way home he got up from his kennel and would look out the window. What an amazing journey this lil guy has had. I am not sure where he came from but you can tell that he was most definetly somebody’s pet. Trying to get us home as safely and quickly as possible I couldn’t wait to meet him.
As I drove home I realized that he probably hasn’t been out of his kennel since he got in it. Finally when I got home I took him out to the back yard and let him run away before I took him inside. They say the timing in which you introduce your foster is crucial. The first meeting will actually dictate how the rest of their time will be in your house. It is very important that no existing pets feel threatened or that the new foster feels isolated. Fostering is incredible hard. For example looking into Latte’s eyes I could see how sad he was. Every time I would open the door he was perched up perfectly on the bed eager to see me. He even dug his way under the covers and made a fort. He made no noises just wanted to be loved. To me it seemed that he came from a home. Latte was patient with my son, knew about cats and was ok with our dog. He ran from room to room and leaped on our dogs bed. Every time he would lift his cute little head my heart would melt. My son adored him as he was more his size and he would shriek with delight everytime he saw him.
My dog on the other hand wasn’t doing so well. It was hard to spot at first. At first I thought he was liking the idea of having a little buddy. He waited at his door until I let him out and introductions went smoothly. The difference here was my dogs past. He’s covered in scars and his grey hairs tell of a time when maybe life wasn’t so easy. He has a scar that runs from his nose and top lip into his bottom. It was clear that at some point in his life his whole left side of his face was left hanging. My husband believes that he was used in dog fights. My reality is I just want to love him. I tell him everyday that I love him and that he was my best friend. Well the lil guy took over his bed and I guess he felt threatened by that. He has always been welcome to share with us on the bed but tonight was different.
At 2am my husband woke me up because there was the biggest dog poop in our living room. Yes so there it is. Now I am cleaning not only diapers but poop. I can’t really be mad he can’t understand me or that he’s not going anywhere so I guess he is going to act out. That all would be fine except for the 2nd poop that greeted me when we woke up. This isn’t our new foster but our big giant dog pooping in our living room. Could you imagine if our son got up before me and decided to play in it. I think it was at this point I noticed everything. He was scared to eat, even more so to go outside. Now what can I do. I have this poor lil sweet guy who travelled so far at a second chance but my priority is to my dog. I am not quick to throw in the towel. I will do everything that I can to lessen the anxiety my senior is having. I thought a small dog would help with that as he is still the big dog in the house. Hopefully once he sees that this is his fur-ever home his actions will subside. I took my son and both dogs for a walk around the neighborhood today. Being filled with hope I thought by giving him lots of snuggles, cuddles and kisses that maybe all would be well. Nothing is as easy as it seems. When we were already to go down for our afternoon nap I noticed his apprehension. He wanted to go downstairs. I tried to take him outside but he wanted none of it. Not sure what to do or is I was being to cautious I brought him in our room and closed the door. As I began to relax I heard it. The sounds of somebody taking a poop. There he was in my en suite in the middle of the bathroom pushing to his hearts content. When I told my husband all that was my day he immediately told me to get rid of that small dog.
Well I am not ready to give up yet. I have our dog napping in our bed and Latte is sound asleep in our dogs bed. I am hoping that our dog will show some empathy towards this sweet lil soul. All they both want is to be loved and to give love so somewhere in there it has to work doesn’t it? Being a foster gives you the ability to “return a dog” if need be. It isn’t the best situation but unfortunately this is the reality. Not every dog is going to get along just like not all humans will. Hopefully with enough hearts in the right place it will be enough. Too often people tell me that they don’t think fostering is for them. I can’t agree more on that one. When you open up your heart you also allow for yourself to become vulnerable. You become at the mercy of how others will react and handle the obstacles they see before them. Yes today was hard but it is far easier than the idea that any being at any time at any place can feel rejected and alone. I would rather be the one trying then the one who just sits back and watches the world passes them by. Fostering may be hard but it is the idea of not fostering that becomes too hard to bare.