Don and I don’t foster. Though we’ve had a few overnight guests, we’ve never fostered for more than a few days. One of many reasons is that I get too attached. If I have a dog for 15 minutes I cry when it leaves.
But here we are …
Fostering two senior girls for six weeks has been a whole new experience for us, both challenging and rewarding. I had no idea fostering was so much work (especially seniors!) and I have a new appreciation for our BRAT volunteers who foster regularly.
The bad news about fostering : The stress level in your home can seriously increase if your resident dogs aren’t happy about the intruders. Vetting is stressful. You hope and pray that when their test results come in the vet tells you that all tests were unremarkable. Other stressors, of course, are chronic health and/or behavioral issues. The worst news we got about these two senior girls was that they both had giardia.
Senior dogs need special handling … and lots of patience. Like many people, I love seniors because they’re so sweet. Morgan, who is 14 or 15 and mostly blind and deaf, may look fragile but she’s all about Basenji attitude. Megan, the younger girl, is very timid and shy, like she desperately needs her own person. They are both very, very sweet and easy to love.
Also sad and bittersweet is that you inevitably bond and know you eventually will have to let them go.
The good news about fostering: These girls were not in great shape when we got them in February 2014. Their coats were greasy and flakey. Morgan was too thin, and her eyes were gooey. After six weeks of indoor living, with grain-free, premium food, Charlee Bears, and filtered water (guilty as charged!), their coats are shiny and less flakey, and (is this my imagination?) their eyes are clearer. And surely they must feel better.
Walking every day and going to the dog park in the evenings to socialize has perked them up, I think. And people who first met them in February tell me they look so much better now in their shiny new coats!
Fostering is rewarding, and I will be very sad to let my little ladybugs go; but the saving grace is knowing that Megan and Morgan will be going to a new home where they will be wanted and dearly loved.