When we first began fostering, my husband established some standards about dog size. He said no dogs over 25 lbs because Ollie was so small and he didn’t want any big dogs hurting him. If you know anything about our foster history or our dog Ollie, you may find this concern as hilarious as I do. He’s small, but mighty.
Still, the first couple of times I brought a foster home, I held to this rule. Then, I saw a transport email for Lucky Dog’s pending Pet Fiesta Weekend and knew it was a biggie. I was out of town during the weekend but wanted to help take a foster who wasn’t adopted over the weekend when I came back.
I looked at which dogs were under 25 lbs, at at random selected my top 3. Numbers 1 and 2 were Beagle/Terrier types and about 15 lbs, and number 3 was a seven-month old, 25-lb Shepherd mix named Lily.
When time came to pick up my foster, I learned that Lily would be it. So off I went to get her and at first sight was like, “hmm, this dog looks like a big 25 lbs” but popped her in my car and off we went. Then as I was looking through her paperwork I realized that in fact she was 48 lbs during her last vet visit. Whoops.
Well, she was already in our home, and though the hubster was a wee bit grumpster about the inaccuracies surrounding how much space Lily would be taking up…and our foster crate was a wee bit small for her, we made it work and both she and Ollie were in looove. This is where we learned he had a thing for female Shepherd types.
Lily certainly provided insights into life with a big dog, especially one who is still by all accounts a puppy, and though she didn’t stay long she left her mark on our hearts and home. She had a thing for squirrels and was a fierce puller on walks when she saw one, and she did not care for the cats. Like, as in we actually had to keep a baby gate up to keep her from the closed door to the basement the cats were in. She knew they were down there and would stalk the basement door like a creepster, and given the chance would go at ’em. Though, in her defense she did get immediately smacked in the face by Meeko upon arrival, who also looks a lot like a squirrel. She also chewed our drywall, which may be a post for another day. But she was sweet as all get out, and we loved watching American Idol together.
She was probably a little more dog than we could handle for our living quarters at the time, but she now lives in a sizable home out in the VA suburbs with two human brothers and a family who just thinks she’s the best, and who have no plans of ever getting a cat.
Lily certainly was our first “big” lesson in expecting the unexpected with a foster, but there were many more great unexpectations that were to lay ahead, and ultimately she was a super dog to learn that nothing in fostering (or, let’s be honest, pet ownership, parenting, or life experiences in general) ever comes with a guarantee sticker on it. Our friends at Of Barks and Bones share a similar foster surprise story when they ended up leaving transport with a different dog than the one they came for!
I think it’s also pretty clear from quite a few fosters that came after, that Lily’s stay showed how size really DIDN’T matter all that much in looking at the dog as an individual and giving that foster pup what they need. While some people do need to have size limits for one reason or another, I’m fortunate to be in a situation where we could bring bigger dogs into our home. Lily helped us to realize that, and I guess in a way it’s led us to where we find ourselves today.