My Proudest Moments!

If you follow my Tails of a Foster Mom facebook page, you may know that it is my birthday today!!! And if you don’t follow it….well, follow it!

So today I thought I would celebrate by talking about my proudest moments as a foster mom! ūüôā (Listed in no particular order!)

#1-I got an update yesterday on my previous foster girl, Sassy! She was the pup that almost died from parvo, then was adopted, and then returned after being left as an outside dog, and never getting any attention or training. She came back to me as a 7 month old, crazy puppy with NO manners! I worked with her to teach her basic obedience, and told her every day that she had to become a valuable member of society. When I met Jan, I had a feeling she just might be the perfect person for Sassy. She was patient, understanding, and so loving!¬†Sassy is now named Kali, and this is what her mom said: “Kali is doing great!¬† We have just finished the intermediate [obedience] class and Kali now passed the Canine Good Citizen test.¬† She is my baby and I am so glad she is here with me.¬† I love her so!” Hearing this is similar to what I imagine it will feel like when my son passes a college course…I know I didn’t do the hard work, but yet I am so very proud. I am so happy that Kali has gotten the forever home she deserves, and am very thankful to Jan for giving her the time and training she needed!

Kali, enjoying some cuddles and a nice warm fire!
Kali, enjoying some cuddles and a nice warm fire!

 

#2-Seeing my fosters out in public, knowing¬†what¬†great dogs they are! Lola has actually been the only one I’ve seen¬†out around town, but I get updates on Petey all the time since he is with my brother, and I check in on Chelsea pretty¬†often too. There are always good things being said about these dogs!¬†Every time I have seen Lola, she¬†is calm and happy. It doesn’t matter¬†what is going on around her,¬†or if there is a crazy dog near her (ahem, Oscar), she just wags her tail, smiles, and goes with the flow. ¬†My brother’s report on Petey is always “he’s a great dog”, and Chelsea’s family continues to give her the love that she needs, and they see improvement in her every day.

Pete, going on a road trip with his family!
Pete, going on a road trip with his family!

 

 

#3-My first couple of fosters were owner returns. Meaning, they had previously been adopted and then for some reason, had to be returned to the rescue. My first dog that was from the shelter was Lola! I saw her picture posted on the Wakulla Animal Control page, and B-E-G-G-E-D to save her! She was out of time, and the shelter volunteers were posting her like crazy, asking for someone to save her. My home had just opened up, and I kept asking the rescue boss lady to please let her be my next foster. There was just something about her sweet face! I truly loved fostering her, and though I say things about her being my favorite and how obsessed I am with her, this is why. I feel like she was the first dog I ever really saved. She will always have a special place in my heart. As will the amazing family who took her in as their own, and will spoil her with love for the rest of her life!

 

The picture that stole my heart!
The picture that stole my heart!

 

#4-I recently got an update on another foster of mine, Toby! Toby had come to the rescue with his litter mates, and was adopted. About a year later, his owner decided that Toby was just too big and returned him to the rescue. I offered to take him…and had no idea what I was getting myself into! I thought I was a “big dog” lover but Toby was giant! The first hint should have been his breed…he is a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shep mix! Toby was very well behaved, and SO sweet…and very playful! This was a lot of dog for my little town house. We made it work though, and it helped that I started taking him to Doggie Dayz every so often to let his energy out. We had TONS of inquiries about him, but it never seemed to be the right fit. The rescue group is very big on their dogs being inside, family pets. They are not to be used for outside guard dogs…and that is exactly what people wanted Toby for. Finally we found the right person. I talked to Bob several times on the phone, and without ever meeting Toby, he was already in love. He and his wife traveled all the way to Tallahassee from South Florida, and the rest is history! Unfortunately I don’t have any new pictures of Toby, but here is what Bob has said about him: “He is amazing.¬† He has the most wonderful temperament of any animal¬†I have ever seen.¬† We signed him up for classes… The trainer who has trained dogs for the ASPCA for 20 yrs, ¬†wanted us to bring Toby in for a free evaluation before the classes begin.¬† The trainer was really impressed¬†with Toby, and¬†she has advanced him directly into the next class for obedience training.¬† What she was really impressed with¬†was his temperament¬† and intelligence.¬† I hope we can advance to the point where he will be a service dog and¬†I can take him to schools and nursing homes. He loves and looks after¬†Sandra, but he is really bonded to me.¬† He is constantly by my side when¬†I am home, which is most of the time.¬†¬†Thank you so much for the work you and your organization¬† are doing for the animals and thank you for allowing us to adopt Toby.” Proud foster mom moment!!!

 

#5-The little things are wonderful too! Like when crazy Sassy finally learned to “sit”. Or when Lola who gets extremely car sick, laid down in the back seat and relaxed, making it home without throwing up. When Chelsea, who is literally scared of everything outside of her cozy kennel, runs and plays in the backyard like a real dog should!

The only time Chels would fully relax and have fun, was when she was with the dogs!
The only time Chels would fully relax and have fun, was when she was with the dogs!

 

 

No matter what the issues have been, or why they came to me, I have loved all of my foster dogs. Whether I accomplished something big while they were with me, or if they have made great strides since being adopted, I am so very proud of each and every one of them. I will always consider them as partly mine, and they all have a special place in my heart. With each one of them, I was able to bond and see the trust they had in me. I am so grateful that I have been able to be a bridge for them, allowing them to cross over from unwanted dog to beloved family pet.

Thank you for reading about some of my proudest foster mommy moments! Please feel free to share your proud moments too, whether it be as a foster mom, dog mom, or human mom!

Friday’s Facts: I’ve adopted a dog…now what?!

So, you’ve adopted a dog…now what?! Here are a few tips and suggestions of what you should do with your new family friend (in no particular order)!

#1-Usually you are given a packet of information, along with your new dog. This is important information, and you should really take time to look through it. Some common documents in an adoption packet are: microchip information, previous vet records, pamphlets for local companies (doggie daycares, pet sitters, trainers). Sometimes there will also be informative documents, like a list of poisonous plants, what to do if your pet is bitten by a snake, what foods to avoid, etc.

~Harmful foods for dogs~
~Harmful foods for dogs~

 

#2-Schedule an initial vet appointment within (at least) the first month of bringing the dog home. This may be necessary for vaccinations, depending on the age & history of the dog. If vaccinations are not yet needed, you should still bring the dog to your vet for a routine check up. This will allow you to see how the dog does in an exam type setting, and the vet can help with any questions you might have so far. This is also the time to stock up on heartworm preventative. The vet will also go over the previous records, and set up reminders in their system for when your dog will be due for vaccines. (Remember my previous post about vaccines and senior dogs? Check it out here!)gI_72746_mr__rico

 

#3-Be mindful of the dog’s past experiences. Sure, you are going to love and spoil and care for your dog…but has he ever experienced that before? Does he get along with cat’s? Is he afraid of car’s? Remember, you’re dog may have been through some bad experiences, and will need time to adjust to the new setting, even if it is lovely & wonderful. Make sure you allow adjustment time before introducing your dog to other furry family members, and children should be taught the proper way to approach any new dogs.

#4-Give the dog space, literally & figuritively. I am a big believer in using crates for dogs, and it is a known fact that dogs are den animals. They like to have their own safe space. So be sure to have a kennel, with some comfy cozy blankets/towels. Depending on the dog, you may need to provide this space away from the rest of the family. Like Chelsea, she snapped at both of my dogs when she first came to me, and still loves to be in her kennel. She has opened up so much though, and has really come out of her shell, since then. You have to allow the dog to get used to the new surroundings. Also, be sure that the designated area is doggie-proofed!

#5-If possible schedule the adoption for¬†when you will be home for a couple of days, like on a Friday for example. You don’t want to bring home a dog, where he then has to be in a kennel for the next 8 hours while you are at work. It is best to be able to spend time with the dog for a couple of days, leaving only for quick errands. This will allow the dog to see that, 1-you are coming back, and 2-that the kennel is a good, safe place.

#6-Start basic training right away. Don’t let the dog get away with little things now (chewing up a coaster, getting on the couch, etc), that you won’t allow later. You should (gently but firmly) establish the pack order from day one. You are the pack leader, and the dog should know that right away. Also, there can only be ONE pack leader…so, chose between husband vs wife, roommates, etc. This will also make for an easier transition for the dog. They like to be part of a pack, and if there is no battle for who’s in charge, everything will go much more smoothly!

Dog Pack! Be the leader!
Dog Pack! Be the leader!

 

#7-Set up a strict routine, and follow¬†it. Find out what and when the dog was eating, and try to keep that in mind. Especially for¬†potty training,¬†a routine is key!¬†My dogs are on such a routine now, that I can tell what time it is¬†just by their behaviors. Every morning at 7:45, they are all waking up¬†& wiggling. This means potty & food! Then, at 10:45-11, all of a sudden they are up and moving. Even Chelsea will start¬†whining & moving around in her¬†kennel. This is their outside playing time.¬†After about 20 mins, they all come back inside, and go right back to sleep…until the next time to go outside. This happens every day, like clockwork! Just like dogs need a pack leader, they need a routine. They are creatures of habit!

#8-Limit the excitement for at least the first few weeks. Meaning, don’t take your dog to a dog park, the second day you have him. Let him get used to his new life. Once you feel that you know your dog, and your dog has trust in you, then go for new outings. Remember, just because your dog likes the other family pets, does not mean it will be the same with other dogs. Dogs can often be aggressive on a leash, and perfectly fine when loose. Personally, I think a controlled setting (like a dog daycare) is a great place to start. It is controlled, with a professional person, who knows all of the dogs well. For example, when I took Chelsea to Doggie Dayz, I¬†called¬†ahead of time¬†to give a little info on Chelsea. When we went there, several of the dogs were sectioned off, with only a handful in the front to greet Chelsea. This allowed Chelsea time to come in, without being completely overwhelmed. (She took it all in stride, and has done great with her visits there!)

Toby loved doggie daycare! So did Sassy, and Chelsea too!
Toby loved doggie daycare! So did Sassy, and Chelsea too!

 

#9-Put new tags on your dog! This is important, especially once you start going on outings. Make sure the dog has a tag with emergency contact info, a current rabies tag, as well as a microchip tag if appropriate.

#10-Allow for bonding. With two dogs of my own, and a foster, it can sometimes be a bit hectic! So, I like to give each dog some special “me” time. Whether it is taking a quick car ride, or putting two outside to give one some special cuddles. Each dog gets to have a little time to themselves with me. This is especially important for a new dog in your home. You want them to learn that you are the good guy, and that they can trust you.

Lucy loves car rides!
Lucy loves car rides!

 

So, those are my tips & suggestions! I hope they are helpful to someone! If you have any tips or advice, feel free to share. And, happy Friday! ūüôā

PS-Hopefully I will have some super exciting news on Monday, so stay tuned!