Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups

Helping dogs on the road to forever, forever finding ourselves as we walk that road with them.


A Shining Star and a Bowl of Froot Loops

Last week I took on my final foster of 2011. Loopy, a Rottweiler mix with the disposition of a baby fawn, will help round out the new year (and maybe get adopted before then?). Loopy came up from a shelter in Florence County, South Carolina last Saturday, and her overnight foster fell in love with her pretty much immediately. I had another dog at the time, who I expected to have longer than two days…but she went and got herself adopted. Her name was Star, and she was a shy little Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix, who needed the company of another dog to help her gain some confidence. We picked her up on Friday, and within a day she had gone from trying to bury herself behind a pillow in a corner of the couch, to running around with Ollie, jumping off and on furniture, batting around tennis balls, squeaking squeaky toys, and tail a-wagging. She tired herself out and was pretty happy and content by the the end of her second night, as you can see below. She was a fast little bugger so the only decent shot I could get of her was when she was sleeping.
Star, renamed Starlet by her new mom, now lives in Alexandria with two Chihuahua sisters, who hopefully will continue to help her blossom and grow into a well-adjusted dog. Her Adoption Coordinator said she was doing well when she checked in with her. Our time together was brief, but it was enjoyable. She was also to date our smallest foster dog. Ollie looked gigantic by comparison. 🙂
So, Sunday’s adoption event came around and I was foster-less by the time I got there. But the day before a new transport of shelter dogs had arrived, which means of course that there were some dogs who had an overnight foster the night before, but needed a place to go come Sunday. Some of those dogs went to doggie daycare, but there was one dog who they really wanted to send to a home: Loopy.
As you may have noticed, this beautiful young lady only has one eye. She had gone blind in her left eye due to trauma, and her eye was enlarged and causing discomfort to the point that veterinarians determined removing it would give Miss Loopy a better quality of life in the long run. This photo was taken right after she arrived to DC, and relatively recently post-op. Because there are so many dogs in doggie daycare, LDAR wanted to be sure Loopy’s healing continued to progress and that too much playtime wouldn’t cause her stitches to come undone. She’s healing up beautifully now, and the eye area that was shaved is starting to grow in so unless you’re really paying attention, you hardly notice she’s only got half her vision. Loopy doesn’t seem to notice at all, although she can be clumsy sometimes and bump into things, due in part to her limited peripheral vision. 
Loopy, like any foster, has not been without her own set of challenges. The first night she was with me, we spent teaching her not to be afraid of stairs with lots of treats and coaxing. She now goes up and down them like a champ. Loopy is also an energetic pup who needs plenty of exercise and playtime, but some long walks through the neighborhood and having Ollie as a wrestling/chase/tug buddy has helped tend to that….she’s calmed down lots since last week, and in spite of a few accidents is making strides in housetraining (having a schedule and a little consistency really goes a long way). In the last week she has learned “sit” and “down”, and is very motivated by treats and praise. She adores trips to the dog park and has been complimented for her sweet demeanor, and I truly think she has no concept that she is a 54 lb dog. She prefers to think she is a lap dog, and loves to nuzzle up for snuggles and cuddles. I think she’d be brokenhearted to learn otherwise if you won’t tell her, I won’t. In the mean time, I’m just going to go ahead and keep letting her lay on top of Ollie when she’s tired. He also apparently doesn’t have the heart to tell her she’s 40 lbs heavier than he is. 
She is a little bit like a toddler, and has managed to find random things on the ground she isn’t supposed to have/chew, so I’ve needed to keep an especially close eye, and sadly have had to repair a vacuum and replace a laptop cord from failing to do that (she was just outside peripheral view when the vacuum became a casualty, and it was foolish for me to shower without crating her while leaving her unattended with the laptop plug). Ah well, lesson learned. In spite of my vacuum, she has wormed her way into my affections and those of my dad (she’ll be spending Christmas with us in NJ, and is settling in just fine at foster Babchi and foster Poppy’s). He’s rallying hard for me to adopt her and has affectionately given her the nickname of “Love Pony” because she sort of walks like a pony and has nothing but love to give. I am rallying that there is a much better home for her than the one I can provide, and I owe it to my future fosters not to adopt her.  🙂 In her time with us, she’s also donned the nicknames of Loopy Loo, (Hang on) Sloopy, Froot Loop, and Loony Toon, just to name a few.
This most recent fostering experience has also taught me the importance of making sure I clear fosters with my husband before bringing them home. It makes it a lot easier to take in a foster when you know that the other person you live with can live with the decision. Loopy was one foster that I didn’t exactly clear through Nick to ensure he was cool with it, and took home because (a) I wrongly assumed he would be, (b) there was a need, and (c)my heart is soft and I have a tough time saying no, as long as I feel I can responsibly care for a dog that needs a place to go. But this past week has taught me it’s not 100% responsible when not everyone in the home wants to be part of the fostering experience Lucky Dog only adopts to families where all members are on board for the adoption, and while the fostering period is much shorter than placing a dog in a forever home, the same principle sort of applies. Though it tugs at my heartstrings every single time I get a “Foster Needed” e-mail, I get why I can’t take it upon myself to try and save them all, so to speak. One piece of advice I got at foster training was “know your limits”. So I think once Loopy gets into her forever home, I’ll be taking a short fostering hiatus until at least 90% of the boxes of our new home are unpacked, 60% of the pictures hung on the walls, and my husband is 100% behind me. In the mean time, I’m still committed to event coordinating  and application screening for Lucky Dog, and helping with PWC Dog Park Development for the betterment of saving and enriching the lives of local pups, at least for a little while. 
There sure have been a few take-aways from this past year with 1 adopted Lucky Dog, 5 full time fosters, 2 overnight fosters, and 7 dogs that I had AC’d having my support in getting adopted (possibly 8 by the end of next week!). Without fail though, my biggest take-away is this has been one of the most fulfilling volunteer experiences I’ve ever had. And playing a small part in getting the 1,319 dogs of 2011 rescued somehow makes me feel a pretty big sense of purpose.

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Happy Tails Tale (aka post-Thanksgiving Update from Sabrina’s new home)

Below is a note from Sabrina’s new mom, including some pictures of the cutie with her canine sibling, Skittles. Rescue can sometimes have it’s stressful moments, or your moments of wondering if you have failed somehow along the way. These are the notes that make fostering and rescue so totally worth it.

We had family in town for the long weekend. Everyone loved Sabrina, and Sabrina loved everyone right back!
We have been working with her while on walks not to “walk” us, and she is improving. She does seem to try to take over new walkers, as family members wanted the opportunity to hold the leash, but she quickly got the hang of each new person. It was quite a pain at first trying to get her to go into her kennel for the day, but since she has realized that she will get a treat if she does it on her own, we haven’t had too many issues. She actually likes going into Skittles’ kennel with her, even though she has her own! They are very affectionate towards each other, very cuddly and playful. We’ve also been working on sit and stay while we prepare her meals, and she has started to get the hang of waiting until we say she can eat. She now waits patiently like a little angel.
Overall our first week and a half has been wonderful. She remains very loving and always wants to be on one of our laps. Luckily, she has been very gentle and patient with the baby, so that is a blessing.

I’ve attached some pictures of Sabrina and Skittles cuddling. They are very cute together. I’m pretty bad at remembering to take pictures, but I will try my hardest to periodically update you with any I have taken!
I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving and thank you for the continued support!