Tuesday, 27 August 2013

THE FOSTERING EXPERIENCE.....................

We decided, in our wisdom, to have a second shot at fostering.  We have the space and the time, and our own two dogs are showing signs of being really social animals, although as previously mentioned somewhere on here, Cairid our GSD can be over-enthusiastic in greeting other dogs outside, so much so that we don’t let him do that unless we have the other dog owner’s permission and his dog is bigger than a mouthful (Cairid’s).

We are already “failed fosterers”, so I’m not sure why we thought this was a good idea.  Abby, our other GSD, was originally a foster, but quickly turned into an adoption.

We registered with Pet Fostering Scotland, a great organisation that arranges fostering for dogs whose owners are in hospital or perhaps have become homeless.  And sat back and waited.

Before long we were the proud temporary owners of a 10 year old Labrador.  A sweet-natured boy, he fitted in just fine, although the feeding routine was a bit fraught as both Cairid and our lab were interested in ensuring their food wouldn’t get stolen.  We fed them in separate rooms.  Food, in fact, turned out to be the only issue.  Quite a big issue, though.  It meant not wandering about the house eating biscuits in case we dropped a crumb.  It meant eating our meals at the table instead of on our knees in front of the telly.  Yep.  I know, we shouldn’t do that anyway!  It meant that when people visited, we had to watch over every morsel of food in case it reached jaw-level at any point.  Although we sometimes have a trip away – a few hours somewhere – we didn’t like to do that while we had our foster dog.  It didn’t seem right to dump him in a strange environment then go off and leave him.  So altogether it was a stressful experience, even although this dog absolutely won our hearts.

And of course it didn’t end there.  His owner had had an accident and was in hospital.  When she came home after three weeks or so, she wasn’t able to cope with her dog.  Being elderly, she was struggling to recover from her injury, and walking her dog was just too much.  She wanted to re-home him – oh NO …….!  And worse.  She wanted US to have him!  The situation was awful.  Poor owner.  Poor dog.  (Say after me:  “YOU CAN’T SAVE EVERY DOG YOU CAN’T SAVE EVERY DOG YOU CAN’T SAVE EVERY DOG”.)  And of course we visited and walked him for her a couple of times a week, and are still doing that, weeks later.  And she’s such a nice lady.  And he’s the most loving dog in the world.  Always so pleased to see us.  Like nearly all Labradors, really.

Eventually the pressure came off and the lady realised that we were not going to take him (though we would have, if it had got to the stage of PTS), and now we are dog walkers, with no intention of venturing again into fostering.  Really.  Never again.  It breaks your heart to part with them, and when the situation they’re going to is less than ideal, it’s even more heartbreaking.  Don’t let me put you off, however!  If your own pets never give you problems (Who are you?  We want to know!) or you currently don’t have any, Pet Fostering Scotland are always looking for fosterers.  Check out their website:

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