Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Case Your Foster Dog Is Not Perfect.

I am special. Everyone says so. This was very helpful for my Foster Mommy, since she did not have any Canine Experience before, except for sometimes walking with some of Foster Auntie's dogs. FA says that I am a perfect "First Dog," because I have such good manners in the house and on a leash and I am friendly with everyone I meet. FA says Queen Tozi was like this, too. She says we are naturally Resilient and Polite. I guess it's the Royal Blood. But most Foster Dogs do not have this advantage and so it takes them longer to learn how to live in a home with a family. That's why Foster Parents have to be patient and they also need a lot of support and advice. Rescue Organizations usually have people like FA who love to help people get used to dogs and vice-versa. They are so happy that someone is giving a temporary home to a dog that they will do almost anything to make it easy and fun. Just ask!

Here are some things you might encounter if you have a Foster Dog who is not quite perfect yet. I will use Boomer as the example of an Imperfect Foster Dog.

First, your foster dog may not have lived in a house before and may not understand all the rules involved in Inside Living. In fact, I did not know about houses until I got to the Little Blue House. But since I am naturally Resilient and Polite, I explored very carefully and then went up the steps one by one without making a Big Stink about it. And once I was inside I did not make messes or chew on Forbidden Objects. But when Boomer first lived in a house, he peed and chewed and made messes everywhere and he even howled sometimes.

This is Boomer when he first came to FA's house. He did not look very good. He was skinny and he had the sniffles and his coat was not shiny.

Fortunately Foster Auntie has lived with many dogs, including many foster dogs, and she had a Plan. She taught him to pee outside only and she gave him Appropriate Chewing Objects and eventually he learned most of the rules. He still likes to eat footwear, but FA says that dogs do that and people need to learn not to leave tasty chewable items on the floor. Boomer still stays in a crate when no one is home because he is not Fool Proof yet.

Second, your foster dog may not get along with your other animals. FA has a dog named Thunder who does not always like new dogs, especially boy dogs. So he and Boomer had to get used to each other very slowly. At first they only met each other when Boomer was in a crate and Thunder walked past. They stayed in separate parts of the house for several weeks and Thunder gradually got used to the idea of a new boy dog in the house. When he completely ignored Boomer in his crate or on the other side of a door, FA let them meet each other on leashes. When that went well, they got to have Supervised Time Together. Now they are good friends and even take naps together sometimes.

FA says slow and steady is best. Same goes for cats, if you have those. But we leave the details to the Cat Experts, like my friend Crazy Cat Woman.

Third, some dogs have had a hard time before arriving in their foster homes and do not trust everyone they meet. This is not the case for me, because I like everyone and I am sure everyone I meet will like me.

This is me meeting the Little Boy for the First Time:

Not all dogs are as brave and sociable as I am. Boomer likes kids but he is not always brave with grownups. He is scared of many people, especially when they have sticks or make loud noises or stare at him. FA has learned about what bothers him and tries to help him get used to new people and feel safe. He is still not as Happy-Go-Lucky as me, but he is not scared of as many things as before.

Since Boomer had so many Issues he required an Advanced Foster Home. Since I am perfect I am an Advanced Foster Dog and can be in a Beginner Foster Home. That is why I was just right for my FM.

FM is very fond of me and says I cannot stay at your house to teach you about fostering In Person. That is why I have a Blog to tell you about it from the comfort of my own Throne. You may not get a dog who is quite as perfect as me. We are not Common. Obviously. But don't worry. There are lots of imperfect but very nice dogs who need foster homes. There is a dog who is right for every kind of foster family, if you are patient and make sure to ask for help from the Crazy Dog Women that you know.

Then you will find your own special foster dog who will be "That Dog" for you.

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