Fostering Dogs May Require a Sacrifice (or Ten)

You make many sacrifices when you foster dogs. That’s the truth of it. The sacrifices are generally worth it, but they’re a reality.

I think it’s expected that we make sacrifices for causes or events or creatures that are important to us—maybe that’s how we know what’s important to us — we don’t mind the sacrifices (much).

I’m continually amazed at what people will sacrifice for their pets, and humbled by what other foster parents will do for their foster dogs. I definitely do not have the market cornered on suffering or stress endured at the hands (paws) of my foster dogs.

Thelma is a joy. A love. An absolute sweetheart. She rocked the K9&Kds event today, charming everyone, young and old. Watch how she handles the attention of the children at our Fourth of July party (fireworks did not phase her, btw, more evidence of her easy-going and tolerant soul).

Note: This is a lot for a foster dog (or any dog) to not just tolerate, but to invite. Thelma followed these two around all night, thriving on their ‘attention,’ but she (and the children) were supervised.

As evidenced, Thelma is quite a remarkably rare dog.

But there is a dark side to Thelma….

Thelma has required all of us (except Ian who never leaves his belongings anywhere but his room and who keeps his door closed because the cat lives in there) to sacrifice items dear to us.

When asked what breed Thelma is, I usually say, ‘all kinds,’ because while she is beautiful, you could make a case for many different breeds in her background. The only breed I am pretty darn certain is in her DNA, is…..beagle.

We have not experienced the destructive chewing of a dog like this since our very first foster dog, Galina, who was also a sweetheart and who was very much a beagle. She broke this foster family into the world of fostering one stuffed animal, roll of toilet paper, and shoe at a time (on an hourly basis).

But Galina pales in comparison to the devastation left in Thelma’s path. In addition to items left dangerously unattended on the floor, Thelma can also reach things on counters, tables, and chairs. She can even find things inside backpacks and bags left open (Brady’s computer cord and my umbrella) and seems to take a special pleasure in destroying the things she had to work harder to get.

We’ve begun keeping a tally of Thelma’s destruction on the far side of the week’s menu board (and the list doesn’t include the random pens, bags of bagels, and newspapers she has pulled from the counters or the untold number of socks and dishtowels shredded):

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Since this picture was taken (yesterday), she has also destroyed my sunglasses, the packaging on a box delivered by Amazon (but not the vacuum inside thank goodness), and her own leash.

There have been dogs who chewed remote controls, paychecks, and my kindle, but Thelma quite definitely wins the prize in terms the most expensively destructive foster dog. I’m waiting until she is adopted before I head to the Dankso Outlet to replace my two best pairs.

Fostering rescue dogs is important to me and I’m not a material girl, so sacrificing a few belongings really isn’t a big deal. It seems a small price to pay and it’s one I will happily endure for the privilege of helping these dogs on their journey to their forever families. Our count now stands at 146 and after witnessing what I did in Tennessee, I’m sure that number will continue to climb.

Our gang of four are all doing well, but three of them are looking for their real families.

Thelma, as mentioned, has obviously long forgotten her days as a sickly, worm-ridden mama dog. Now she spends her days, snuggling with whoever is available, wreaking havoc on belongings left unsupervised or romping with Flannery. (She is the chaser and Flannery the chasee in this video)

Flannery started agility class last week and may have truly found her calling. She was focused and happy in class. Hardly glancing at the other dogs and offering no nips to anyone.

Daisy’s days are quiet. Although she happily wags her tail at the other dogs when she sees them through the fence, she still seems too threatened by them up close, so she patrols the puppy yard and pulled a few pieces of lattice off the porch so that she can climb underneath to escape the sun or hide out when there is too much activity in the yard, vehicles in the driveway, or boys roaming the hillside. This week she has spent a good amount of time inside in her crate thanks to the nonstop fireworks and gunfire in our hollow. As her summer will include too much time at boarding, we are hoping to move her to another foster home if possible. There was a time when I wasn’t sure she could handle it, but she’s come so far and I think it’s time for her to try out her wings. Of course, the best solution would be for her to be adopted.

sweet face

And Gracie, our personal dog, has been enjoying her friends, even though she always prefers to have the couch to herself. (thanks Nancy Slattery for the wonderful smiling Gracie picture!)

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We are expecting an extra-special guest this week, so be sure to check the Another Good Dog facebook page where a familiar face to many of you will turn up any day now!

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my occasional e-newsletter.

If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, visit AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals! You can also purchase a signed copy or several other items whose profits benefit shelter dogs!

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog Facebook group.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.

Best,

Cara

Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available now (and currently ON SALE at Amazon for just $1.99 – kindle format only)

Another Good Dog cover

 

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.

7 thoughts on “Fostering Dogs May Require a Sacrifice (or Ten)”

  1. This was an amusing post. Was the July 4th party for your close friends and family? I guess you have a few small children in your life. It must be good to be around them now, given that your kids are all grown. Keeps you young at heart.:) Glad the dogs are doing well. If you can, please post a blog entry about your pending special guest. And don’t forget to copy and past your Daisy updates into a future post too.:) Keep the dog tails (haha) coming.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking forward to reading more Daisy updates… you said you’d post them here soon.:) Nice to read a quick update on her time in bording in today’s post. The staff there must take good care of her. But as you said, a forever home would be far better for her, and for her to trust more men.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thelma is so good with the little ones! I’m astonished a family doesn’t snatch her up.
    And not freaking out over fireworks? Bonus! I wonder if she has the makings of a therapy dog? Thanks for all you do for the dogs, and thanks to your family and Gracie, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe she hasn’t been snatched up either! If it weren’t for the chewing habit, I’d say she’s a near perfect dog. She is so calm and gentle at a young age, so yes, she probably would be an excellent therapy dog. Fingers crossed her family comes for her soon!

      Like

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