Fostering Without Even Fostering

Sometimes you don’t even have to bring a foster dog home from the shelter to find it a home.  I love when that happens! A few days ago my friend Jodi was at the shelter helping out and posted a picture of her daughter and this adorable pup that had been there a few weeks.

 

Bailey

I couldn’t believe he had been there for weeks. Usually, dogs that look like this are snatched up in a day. But it turns out this poor boy was limping and might need to have a leg amputated.

I thought about taking him home to foster after his surgery, but with upcoming travels, wasn’t sure I could commit to his recovery from an amputation. Still, I wanted to help, and was thinking about how when a woman named Heather sends me this message on Facebook:

I know you foster for CAA and they have dog listed on the lost pets page as in foster care. I visited the shelter last week and met him but was told he was pre-adopted. I left my information for them to call in the event he wasn’t picked up but didn’t hear anything and assumed he was picked up. I should have called! Can you help me find out if he really is in foster care and still available? I would love to adopt him if he is! Thank you for any assistance you can provide!

She attached a picture of a really cute little poodle. I told her I’d look into it and quickly found out the dog had, in fact, been adopted so I wrote her back with the news. I also sent her a picture of the pup above adding that he was currently available. Something wrong with back leg and may need it amputated. He’s only 9 months old and I’ve heard he is sweet as sugar. Needs a foster or adopter…

I figured she was probably pretty focused on the one that got away and wouldn’t be interested in a dog facing a possible amputation. But she wrote back that she would love to meet him. She had just lost her dog, Beau, an older fluffy guy, three weeks earlier and said the house was too quiet. (Beau had been a rescue who came to her with a total of five teeth and had spent his last 18 months in congestive heart failure). Heather said she knew Beau would want her to give another dog a great home.

I reached out to Jodi to find out the scoop on the leg. The shelter, it turns out, was sending the dog to an outside vet for a consultation to see if the leg could be saved. (Shout out to my friend Paula who created the shelter’s Sick and Injured Animals Fund, which often makes things like this possible through donations.) Jodi wanted to foster the dog but asked me if I could take him for a few days while she was out of town. YES! I said. And even better, I think I have an adopter for him. 

I connected Jodi and Heather via Facebook group message and Jodi asked Heather if she thought she was ready for a dog who needed to heal. You can heal together, she said, but I totally understand not wanting to commit to an injured animal. Just let me know what I can do for you. 

Heather’s response: I’m ready! I can’t wait to meet him! 

Have I mentioned that one of my favorite things about helping shelter animals find homes is people like this? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!

Heather added that after Beau, she wasn’t phased by much. I’ll do whatever is needed to make sure he’s happy and knows he’s loved.

And so this happened today:

 

heather

And the best news of all, is that the pup, who Heather has named Bailey, is going to get to keep his leg after all. She picks him up from his surgery tomorrow and will bring him home to recuperate in a soft bed among toys and frozen Kongs stuffed with peanut butter and kibbles to keep him busy while he’s on kennel rest.

That is one lucky little scruffy dog.

 

If you would like to donate to help dogs at Companion Animal Alliance, the open-intake municipal shelter in Baton Rouge where Bailey has spent the past few weeks, please visit their donation page: http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx. And thanks!

 

 

 

 

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Teddy (girly sweater)

Adopt this dog or I'm going to continue to dress him like a girl. Against his will. In strange, hand knit sweaters I made myself from remnants. Without a pattern.

Adopt this dog or I’m going to continue to dress him like a girl. Against his will. In strange, hand knit sweaters I made myself from remnants. Without a pattern.

Teddy V

The first week Teddy was at our house, he didn't know how to negotiate the big dog bed with other dogs in it. So he just made himself comfortable in a clean basket of laundry. How cute is that?

The first week Teddy was at our house, he didn’t know how to negotiate the big dog bed with other dogs in it. So he just made himself comfortable in a clean basket of laundry. How cute is that?

The sad news is, the night before our arranged meeting, Teddy’s awesome prospective adopters decided it wasn’t a good idea for them to adopt him. At ages 68 and 71, their adult kids were concerned Teddy might have health issues down the road that they wouldn’t be equipped to handle.

Although Teddy’s prognosis is excellent and as we all know there are no guarantees about any dog’s future health, these really nice people had already been through their fair share of health issues with their elderly Labradoodle, so I understand their reservations. And I don’t hold anything against them, though I was really disappointed for Teddy. (For the record, I would highly recommend a dog like Teddy to my own parents, who are 76 — though my dad does not go for the fluffy type, nor the mixed breed type, nor the shelter type, nor anything that doesn’t start out in his house as a puppy from a breeder, despite the fact that he overtly cheers my shelter dog fostering efforts).

Before we hung up the phone, the man asked me if I was going to adopt Teddy myself. It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t foster that this innocent question is upsetting. I have no intention of ever adopting any dog that we foster (though it did happen once, with foster #12. Oops). My family has two dogs. We don’t want or need more than two dogs, even as I often fall in love with every shelter dog that comes through our door.

We foster for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is that our shelter has to kill highly adoptable animals every single day because they are overflowing and people will not stop dumping their animals there. Many people here in south Louisiana also won’t (or can’t afford to) spay and neuter their pets or take proper care of them. People across the nation create a market for puppy mills by purchasing dogs from them, and tons of puppy mill dogs end up at municipal shelters like ours too. If my husband and I were to have adopted every dog we fostered, we’d have more than 30 dogs right now, which would make us hoarders.

So no, we have no plans to adopt Teddy. My plan is to find him a loving, devoted home where he can snooze peacefully on a dog bed beside his person making them as happy as he is making me right now. It’s only a matter of time before that will happen. I have faith because I’ve seen it at close range 30+ times. And when it does, I will get that same great high that I always do, and then head up to the shelter and get another.

If you’d like to donate to help dogs at the shelter that stepped up for Teddy, please click http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx And thank you! 

Teddy

Meet Teddy, our very special holiday foster. I picked up Teddy from the shelter a week before Thanksgiving. On his intake report it said someone had called and reported an injured dog in their neighbor’s yard. Animal Control came and picked up Teddy. His owners never came to get him back.

Here’s the matted, scraggly mess he looked like the day I picked him up at the shelter (he had been there for several weeks):

That’s my friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, who also fosters for Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge. We went up to the shelter that day to each pick out a new foster dog . I picked Teddy and Laurie picked Olive, a pretty Border Collie, who was recently adopted. You should read Laurie’s novel, Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Anything-You-Will-Used-Against/dp/B000C9WXUY#

That’s my friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, who also fosters for Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge. We went up to the shelter that day to each pick out a new foster dog. I picked Teddy and Laurie picked Olive, a pretty Border Collie, who was recently adopted. You should read Laurie’s novel, Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Anything-You-Will-Used-Against/dp/B000C9WXUY#

At the shelter they had named him Howie. He looked more like a Teddy (bear) to me.

Howie1 Howie2

When he was first brought into the shelter, the vets there noticed Teddy’s ears were badly infected and put him on a course of antibiotics. One of them said they were possibly the worst ear infections she had ever seen. Aside from what the good samaritan had told Animal Control, there was no note of injury on Teddy’s record.

A fluffy, non-shedding, cocker/poodle mix (cockapoo) with maybe a splash of shih tzu thrown in, Teddy had languished at the shelter for weeks after being neutered. Despite his matted hair and bad breath, I knew once he was cleaned up he’d be beautiful. And he sure seemed sweet. He let me bathe him in my front yard without complaint.

Howie3

He let me clean his ears without complaint. When I tried to cut some mats off his belly, he let me, but then I accidentally, um, slipped with the scissors (No blood though!) and he snapped at me. I deserved that. He didn’t bite me, just let out a scream and gave a couple of warning snaps in the air. I think I clearly heard him say, “Yo, I’ve already been neutered. Watch. Those. Scissors!”

I brought him to a wonderful groomer (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pretty-Paws-Grooming-by-Teresa/189305501171383) who said he was an excellent boy and she didn’t even need a muzzle to carry out any of his beauty treatments.

Here’s what he looked like when she was finished:

photo

Teddy2Teddy4 Teddy3

On Thanksgiving, my 17-year-old son was petting his back when Teddy yelped and snapped at the air. Then he ran back at my son to kiss him and make up. Another time my 85-pound Mastiff mix bumped into Teddy’s rump and again, he yelped and snapped at the air, then ran back at my dog to lick his face. I also noticed that when I reached out to pet Teddy sometimes, he would blink as if I was going to hit him. That made me sad. Clearly, he was used to being hit. But he always sought me out for affection and he seemed very relieved and delighted when he knew I was only ever going to caress him and tell him he was a good boy (when I didn’t have a scissor in my hands, that is. Okay, bad joke).

There were a couple of additional snapping incidents when Teddy felt hurt or threatened, but nobody was ever bitten. I don’t foster aggressive dogs; my life is just too complicated and frankly, I’m a chicken! But I didn’t think Teddy was aggressive. I thought something was really hurting him and he was trying to protect himself, so I brought him back to the shelter vet to see what it might be. The answer was something I wasn’t quite prepared to handle. But I would handle it. I’m handling now, in fact, and it’s all good so far. (To be continued…)