Yeah. In the midst of everything else, we took on a long-term foster puppy for our local shelter. The new executive director there is a long-time friend and former coworker, and she specifically asked me to get involved. I've been wanting to do some fostering now that we have dogs who like other dogs enough to allow a canine visitor, so it isn't like it happened crazy out of the blue. This little guy needed us, so here we are many months later. Don't miss the shelter's video about his case and a little photo montage I made for his first birthday, which the shelter designated as June 1 (based on estimates on his age when rescued).
Mitzvah for 2019 - A Foster Puppy
I chose MITZVAH as my word of the year. There was some debate between my friends of Jewish descent about the word's official meaning (commandment only or commandment to do good deeds), but I've always thought of it as doing a good deed, so that has been my intent behind accepting this foster puppy into our lives.
Bringing him home also provided me a much needed distraction from my own health issues that flared up in September 2018 and resulted with me having major surgery in early April 2019. That's a story for another day.
Rather than focusing on my own worries, I funneled my energy into our foster puppy because he needed help.
Here is the foster puppy story as told by the shelter's team ...
If you're able and inspired to make a donation to help cover the costs of his care and the other animals the shelter helps each year, use this link so that they know you were motivated by our foster puppy's story.
Long Road, Much Love
Other than spending the month of April with another Foster Momma while I recovered from my own surgery, he has been with us since early in the year.
Once he finishes recovering, then he'll be released out of medical fostering and onto the adoption floor. Unlike other organizations where the foster family has responsibility for placing pets, our shelter only needs us to give him a place to stay while they take care of this little guy's medical and other needs. The shelter's in-house team will handle finding him a great home.
That hasn't kept me from loving on him, raising him like I would raise any of my own puppies, and taking scads of photos. To celebrate his first birthday, which the shelter chose as June 1 based on estimates of his age when rescued, here are some of my fav pix.
Not a Foster Fail
A lot of my friends are campaigning for us to keep this puppy and become "foster failures" as the lingo goes. The shelter strongly discourages foster failures, especially with your first-ever foster, because they know that they would lose us as a foster family for any future needs. They have the experience and data to prove it. Also, we signed a contract to be an active foster home for 9 months, which means until at least August 2019.
There is a good chance that this foster puppy's case will eat up that entire 9-month period, but we'll see. We're waiting to hear what's next for him and how much longer his recovery period might be.
Our goal is not to fail, despite the impact of that decision on our hearts. I tell myself all the time that "Love is a renewable resource. The more you give, the more you make." to try to ease myself into the reality of giving him up when the time comes.
It was also good practice to send him off to another foster home for a month.
FAQ - What Do Clover & Tori Think?
The most common question is what our canine heroines think of him. The short answer is that they love him.
Clover loved him instantly, which is what he needed in those early days, but it also means he now takes advantage of her kindness and can be *that annoying little brother sometimes. She loves to be chased, and he is happy to play along. When he asks nicely to wrestle, she will wrestle with him and play bitey face for as much as 30 minutes at a time.
Tori, on the hand, requires him to be much more deferential to her. She takes ZERO crap from him. Tori revoked his puppy license on day one, and he is smart enough to adjust to their different personalities. She does let him sleep close by pretty often, and she will play a little tug with him if she feels like sharing a toy, but when she puts her foot down, he heeds her warnings. We call her "The Enforcer" (ha ha) because she often steps in to tell him to settle down.
Things I've Learned Thanks to the Foster Puppy
We used doggy pajamas to cut down in the amount of hours spent wearing a cone. We also learned that he'll need sun protection, but since human sunscreen is toxic to dogs, we had to get dog-safe sun protection for his skin. I might write about PJs and doggy sunscreen here soon.
Foster rules prevent me from sharing information about the foster puppy's case that isn't already available publicly, so I can't really answer many questions about him. You can get the basics from the video they made.
My hope is that sharing his story it might inspire some of you to consider fostering dogs in need when you can. It really does make a difference.
He is a good little guy who needed help, so we're part of a huge team of people working toward the best possible outcome for him. Go, team!
P.S. I might need all of you to prop me up once he gets adopted.
Except that never happened. Yes, really. We decided in late 2019 to adopt him. That story here.