Revolving Door of Foster Dogs

Wow, hang on tight, the musical chairs/foster dog switcheroo is on warp speed this week.

Friday night instead of a pregnant mama (didn’t work out this time), we picked up the two foster puppies we volunteered to host for the weekend. We planned to take them to boarding on Monday. I’m not sure why I call anything a plan since it rarely resembles one and most times ends up looking nothing like the original. So, let’s call it an idea.

I had a ‘white’ weekend (nothing on the calendar), so the idea was to give these two little girls some runaround-with-Ginger time, make sure they got their wormers and flea/tick treatments, and hope some dogs got adopted and another foster home opened up. If not, we’d take them to boarding on Monday. Great idea, right? Sure it was.

When we arrived home with our pups on Friday night, Brienne galloped around the yard, her nose on overdrive. At six months, she is all hound. Eight month old Little Lady, on the other hand, didn’t move. We pulled her from her crate and when we set her on the grass, she immediately flattened herself against it and then tried to burrow in.

When Brienne did a fly-by, Lady got up, took a few steps and then dove back into the grass, rolling and rubbing her nose and belly against the grass, as if she was trying to get as close as possible to it or maybe disappear. When I set her on the pavement, she dove for the grass and again pressed herself against it. Had she never touched grass before? Finally, I picked her up and carried her into the house.

The next morning, when I opened the crates, Brienne bounded out and smothered me with kisses, while doing the happy hound murmur. Brienne is vocal like a real hound. The only other hounds we’ve had who made such constant commentary were Carla and Whoopie. I love the sounds and the constant wagging tail. Brie is one happy girl.

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Lady hung back in her crate until I took Brienne out of the room. When I shut the door and sat down outside her crate, she cautiously crept out and then leaned into me, pressing her long nose against my side, wagging her backside (she has no tail). I was gone—hook, line and sinker. What happened to this precious pup? No matter; from here on out, there will only good things.

When I picked up a leash, she scrambled back into her crate, so I sat back down and waited.

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This time after she again climbed into my lap, I put the leash on and carried her outside. When I set her down in the grass, she repeated the behavior of the night before, pressing herself against the grass as if trying to disappear in it. When she did move, it was to dart closer to ‘cover’ (a bush, the treeline, etc.) and then she resumed her army crawl or simply lay still.

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Realizing that peeing was out of the question, I carried her back inside and set her up in the puppy room with puppy pads and toys. She took each toy I handed her and carried it into her crate. We haven’t had a hoarder like this since  Stitch. Her crate is small and when she reached up and stole the six-squeaker snake from the puppy supplies, it took up nearly the entire space.

Meanwhile, Brienne had an inadvertent early introduction to Ginger. I’d planned to keep them separate – Brienne in the kitchen and Ginger in the rest of the house with Gracie. Remember what I said about my plans? They say that planning is a silly idea with babies and toddlers, well, it’s just as silly when you have a house full of teenagers.

Either unconscious of our new guest or too sleepy to remember, one teen let Ginger into the kitchen with him for breakfast and Brienne and Ginger commenced a rumble. Brienne was at first terrified of Ginger’s full-on love and snarled at her. Ginger once again, impressed me with her ability to tailor her energies and efforts to the dog in front of her. She backed off and took it down a notch. Soon they were rolling and wrestling like old friends. They spent the day fighting over a stuffed pumpkin that came in the puppy supplies. I got another pumpkin from Lady’s puppy bag. The pumpkins were identical, but only one mattered. By lunchtime they had destuffed the pumpkin, but they continued to fight over the carcass well into the next day, ignoring the other perfectly intact pumpkin.

Brienne is an easy dog – friendly, sweet, and relatively smart (for a hound). The house-training is hit or miss at this point. I introduced hot dog pieces as a reward for peeing outside and I’m seeing the learning curve shoot up. She has much to say – whining, barking, muttering. She’s not a quiet dog. I love her endless legs and long tail. And her eyebrows! She’s a beauty. No doubt her fostering days will be short. Who wouldn’t want to adopt this sweet girl?

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As the weekend wound down, Lady improved only a little, but she stole our hearts anyway. We started calling her Bambi because she looks so much like a little fawn. She has spindly, long legs and a docked tail. Her coat is a pretty golden color and there are even white splotches on her butt, like a fawn. Her big eyes want to trust and she clamors into our laps when we visit her in the puppy room.

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I’ve had to continue to carry her inside and outside. As I hold her, she crawls up me until sometimes I’m wearing her like a grayhound boa as we head in or out. She continues to dart across every open space like a soldier under fire, but every now and again, she will pause and stand up to her full height to sniff the wind. She is fast, which makes sense as she appears to have some grayhound heritage.

She still burrows into the grass, stretching out and rolling in it. Bambi is a fan of grass. When I sit with her in the grass, she relaxes a bit, even smiling. There is a happy, fun dog in there somewhere. She’s not nearly as shut down as Hadley was when we had her and Bambi seems to love people, joyfully jumping on us when we enter the puppy room. I know it will only take time. She’ll join the party—when she’s ready.

There was no way I could take Bambi to boarding, and while Brienne could probably handle it, she’s such an easy girl to have around it didn’t seem fair. Going into Sunday afternoon, I was waffling on dropping off either of them.

And then….I got an email about a dog in desperate need of a home. She’d been dumped on the side of the highway in southern Virginia and she looked like she could be pregnant. Could I take her?

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If I had any hesitation at all, it was nixed when I saw that her name was Lucy and she was a Treeing Walker Coonhound mix. For those of you who don’t have a program, Lucy was THE best dog I’ve ever known. She is the reason we are fostering dogs. And Treeing Walker Coonhounds are my most favorite breed of dog. Fate? I’m going with that.

But what to do about my present pups?

Another foster stepped up and volunteered to take Brienne (thanks Deb!), which leaves Ginger and Bambi. Ginger is really no trouble at all, but her in-your-face style of love can be too much for some dogs. If Lucy is pregnant, that might not work. What would be the BEST solution would be that an adopter appear and take her home. It’s what she deserves. It’s the only thing that would make my heart okay with her leaving. Still, I’m putting out feelers for other foster homes.

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And Bambi. She can’t go anywhere. I feel like we’ve only made a teeny-tiny-itty-bit of progress, but for Bambi that is huge. I can’t send her to boarding and besides sending her anywhere would put her back at ground zero. So, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping to sort this one out by Wednesday when the Lucy-train comes.

Lucy is being transported northward through a series of three drivers moving her from Wise County, VA to Staunton, VA and then from Staunton to Strasburg, VA, and then from Strasburg to Hagerstown, MD where I will pick her up. Please send up your prayers, blessings, good wishes, positive juju, or whatever you got that she arrives safely. I’ll keep you posted on the Another Good Dog facebook group.

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Published by

Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

9 thoughts on “Revolving Door of Foster Dogs”

  1. This was really interesting to read! I filled out an application for Lady (or Bambi!) over the weekend and am hoping for good news. I grew up fostering dogs and remember how rewarding to watch a shy pup like that come around! Thank you for caring for these doggies!

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    1. She’s doing better – finally came out of her crate on her own today (after a day and a half stand off because we moved her crate to the kitchen). She’s such a love – she is a total sweetie, just petrified of any open space.

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  2. Bless your heart, what wonderful introductions. When someone goes to “the pound”, et al, to adopt a pet, it’s naturally a hit or miss proposition, depending entirely on first impressions.

    Your posts give the lowdown on the what and, sometimes, the why of a pup’s quirks. I’ve read blogs by the various humane societies and a few fosterers, but yours is awesome…I wish everyone who takes in animals would offer daily journalling blogs as well.

    Best of luck with finding forever homes for all of your fur babies 😊

    Oh! And good luck, Caitlan, with your chances with Bambie Lady!!

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  3. Ohmygosh, my heart just broke a little when I saw the picture of ‘Lady Bambi’ pressing herself onto the grass that way. I hope she finds a golden basket with people who are as loving and supportive as you are!

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