This week we are going to hit on a couple of the harder elements of fostering. Don’t worry, we still have a happy ending! But if you are thinking about signing up to foster, you need to know the hard parts along with the fun parts.
We start off simple – I picked up a pair of sisters on Wednesday night and brought them home. Both girls had beautiful coloring and were very friendly. I ended up calling them Harmony and Melody. Melody always started any barking and Harmony only joined in after a bit to keep her sister company. They were sweet, easy pups and we made to our first adoption event without any issues.
It was the weekend before Thanksgiving (yes, I know I’m super slow posting this!) so it was a slower event than normal. Only Harmony found a new family. They had another sister at the event who also didn’t get adopted, and her foster was leaving town for the holiday and couldn’t take her, so I took Melody and the new sister home with me. The new pup was pretty quiet, but she danced whenever she wanted your attention, so I decided to stick with my musical theme and call her Rhythm.
Rhythm was very underweight, and that was after 3 days of her other foster mom absolutely packing her full of food. So I grabbed a bunch of cans of wet food so we could keep working on that issue. I already knew that wet food probably meant runny poop, but I wasn’t too concerned since her sisters had both done well going outside through the doggy door when they needed to go. We got all settled in for the week.
My family came to my house for Thanksgiving, bringing their three dogs, so we had quite a pack. Luckily, everyone (people included) was pretty good-natured so we didn’t have any major issues – at first. On Thanksgiving day I noticed that both of the puppies and Harper all had runny noses and occasionally had to cough. I immediately reached out to the vet tech that works with the rescue and she confirmed that one of the other pups on Saturday had started coughing the day before so it looked like we had a small kennel cough outbreak. The next morning I met her at the rescue to pick up enough meds for all 7 dogs. Just in case.
It was easy enough to get the meds down the puppies and Pippa (who had started sniffling when I got home). The other three adult dogs didn’t have any symptoms, and actually managed to avoid getting sick. It was just my two (who played with the puppies the most) who also got sick. The meds I got were in a powder form, which you just mix with a little bit of Karo syrup to get most dogs to take it. And if the dog (or puppy) has a coughing fit you can help alleviate it by letting them lick up a spoonful of honey. Gotta love those great natural recipes.
Note how I said it was easy to get the meds down Pippa and the pups? Harper is an entirely different case. She HATES anything sticky. She won’t eat peanut butter, honey, or Karo syrup. So off to the vet she went on Saturday (have I mentioned yet how much I love our vet office? Cuz I love our vet office). We ended up with pills to replace the powder and pills to replace the honey. Harper also doesn’t like pills so I have to stick them all the way at the back of her throat, then hold her mouth shut while I pet her throat until she swallows. Super fun right? Well, while I had my hand in her mouth giving her some pills she sneezed. And accidentally nipped my thumb. On the bright side, the tooth that caught me hit my nail, so it hurt quite a bit, but didn’t cause any bleeding.
A few days later was the next adoption event, which was also REALLY slow being right after the holiday. By that time I’d gotten Melody really used to people and dogs, gotten Rhythm nearly up to a good weight, and gotten all the dogs mostly healed up (none of them had gotten hit too hard, and we caught it very fast). So that was all good. The bad news is, neither of my darling girls got adopted, and I was leaving town before the next event so I couldn’t take them back. It’s hard enough to let my pups go to new families – I love them all – but it’s even harder to give them to another foster. I know it’s silly, but I felt like I had failed.
I did promise a happy ending though, while I was out of town, the other foster took great care of them, and they both got adopted at the next event. Being a foster isn’t always easy or fun. Sick dogs, having to let your puppies go to someone else, and cleaning up after 7 dogs isn’t the best job. But it’s totally worth it to me to know that they ended up going to great homes. It’s a whole lot of happy with a little sad thrown in for perspective.