Well, that’s not quite true. I have Gracie and Frankie. And they are VERY happy to have me back from vacation.
So happy in fact, that on our first night home, Frankie broke out of his soft-sided crate to crawl in bed with me. So now I’m trying to teach him to sleep in it with no door. Took me fifteen minutes of repeatedly putting him back in it before he finally settled down, but then around 3 in the morning, he still climbed in bed with us.
Sometimes it’s really easy to foster. Sometimes it’s not.
Willow has been one of our easiest foster dogs to date. Absolutely housebroken, wonderfully crate-trained, not overly-chewy (except stuffed animals). She loves our visitors, tolerates visiting puppies, and listens in an I-will-do-anything-you-ask-especially-if-you-have-a-treat kind of way.
Little Zander is also one of the easiest foster puppies we’ve ever had. A house-broken, mild-mannered, relatively calm puppy who’s worst habit is his penchant for shoes.
So, I didn’t hesitate to leave my 15-year-old in charge of the foster dogs, plus Gracie and Frankie overnight last Friday. Nick and I headed to New Jersey to see our daughter perform in a benefit showcase. We would stay over and pack her up the next day and bring her home from college.
I left Ian a list of instructions and even measured out the dogs’ meals and labeled them so he wouldn’t be confused.
This is the longest we’ve gone without a foster dog since we started fostering with OPH just over three years ago.
It’s made me aware of two things – 1) I spend a lot of time fostering and 2) I don’t like being without a foster dog.
I’m amazed at how much time this has freed up. I’ve had time to work with Frankie (and even a little with Gracie) on his homework for doggie school two or three times a day. We also take a two-mile walk each morning and sometimes again in the afternoon. I’ve stayed on track with my latest manuscript and even had time to cook dinner nearly every night. I even had lunch with a friend and on one balmy day recently, I took my convertible out for a drive with no destination in mind.
This time I really thought I’d seen the last of Gala.
That was my thought, anyway, as I watched her disappear through the woods in pursuit of a herd of deer. She was headed in the general direction of Maryland, and I was pretty sure she would make it.
We were about a mile and a half away from home on our regular run when the deer appeared. Gala did what she usually does – leapt in the air after them.
Because we run with the Easy Walk harness, this usually means that as she reaches the end of her lead, the harness forces her to do a lovely pirouette in midair and land facing me again.
This is the point where I say, “Leave it,” in my firm, take-no-prisoners voice, and then she does not leave it. Most days it takes three or four pirouettes and reminders before she gives up and simply prances for a quarter mile or so.
I’m out of breath just thinking about them. My two new pups, Yin and Yang, bring a whole new meaning to the words ‘whirling dervish’.
They are billed as lab-mix puppies, but I’m gonna walk that back a bit and say lab-mix is overshooting it. I’m not any kind of expert, but my personal experience with lab puppies is that they are playful and fun – but not manic and bouncy. I’ve yet to be able to get a decent picture of these pups thanks to the constant motion. Even when I try to sneak up on them (I know they can be still because I see them on my puppy cam), they sense my presence and become airborne before I even reach the doorway.
Each time we managed to catch her just in time and then reprogram everyone to lock that door, not let her on the deck, etc. On one of her early escapades, she raced for the barn area and chased the horses around the field, ignoring our pleas to come, only leaving them when she caught a hoof to her side from my elderly mare. I breathed a sigh of relief, hoped she’d learned her lesson and got much better at keeping Gala contained. I wrote: “If she had gone after one of the other horses, I’d be writing a much different post today.”