Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top 10 Worst Foster Moments

When I started this blog, my intention was to share my rescue experiences; both good and bad. I get an extraordinary amount of joy from fostering pit bulls. As a result, I could blog forever about my wonderfully happy home, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been difficulties along the way.

I would say that every foster dog has resulted in at least one breakdown (and some have caused waaaay more than one).  Every dog is different, and when you have a revolving door of new dogs entering your home you are bound to suffer the occasional hiccup.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have decided to share my top ten most emotionally trying foster moments. Each of these moments was short lived and the old adage “time heals all wounds” is certainly applicable here. So feel free to laugh and enjoy my stories of exhaustion, frustration, panic, and despair.
      1.  Layla (our first foster fail) has terrible separation anxiety. In our attempt to find a solution, we tried leaving her uncrated in the basement with a baby gate at the top of the stairs. We quickly discovered that she could crawl under the baby gate. Our next genius idea was to put two 30-pound dumbbells in the gap beneath the baby gate. They were heavy enough that she wouldn’t be able to push them out of the way and escape…so we thought. We came home from work that day to be greeted at the front door by Layla. With a feeling of dread, I slowly moved toward the top of the basement steps. As I turned the corner, I screamed. The giant floor to ceiling mirror had fallen to the floor. The baby gate had been pried off the wall. And, at the bottom of the basement stairs sat two 30-pound dumbbells; the tile floor beneath them shattered.  EPIC FAIL! (Please do not judge our stupidity. We realize now that this was one of the most terrible ideas ever conceived)

      2.  Our foster Autumn (mother of the 7 puppies that we also took in) had separation anxiety. She destroyed 6 metal wire crates before we finally started just leaving her loose in the house. Once we started leaving her loose, her anxiety improved immensely. So much so that she began redecorating our home in her spare time. It was Christmastime and we had decorations everywhere. We came home one evening to quite the surprise. She had removed our stuffed snowmen from the living room shelf and placed them gently on the floor of every bedroom and bathroom. She had also carried the low hanging Christmas ornaments upstairs to our bed and tucked them beneath the pillows. This happened almost every day in December. Although completely adorable, scouring the house and cleaning up scattered decorations did get a little tiresome.

      3.  Several years ago we took in a momma dog and her two 3 week old puppies. Those tiny puppies could not have been any cuter! Unfortunately, those tiny puppies grew and turned into bigger puppies, and the bigger puppies were poop machines! All of my free time was devoted to cleaning up their potty. Usually while I cleaned up, the puppies pranced around, pottyed more, and tap danced in their messes. I lasted almost 2 months before my husband found me sitting in the puppy room, covered in puppy poop, crying hysterically.  “If I clean up one more puppy mess I may lose my mind!” I whined between sobs. Well guess what? I cleaned up more messes and still had some sanity to spare.

      4.  Bogart (the momma to the puppies mentioned in #3) was nursing when we got her so we couldn’t spay her until the puppies had been weaned. Unfortunately for us, Bogie went into heat before we could get her spayed. I won’t go into graphic detail, but I will say that the puppies (and my furniture) were constantly covered in blood. The puppy room looked like a crime scene. I can safely say that this was my husband’s least favorite fostering moment.

       5. Last Thanksgiving we had a litter of 7 puppies (Autumn’s babies). By this point, the husband and I were puppy pros. We put down plastic painters tarp and confined them into a puppy pen. Things went much more smoothly than they did with the previous litter, however, it wasn’t without incident. I went downstairs one morning to discover that the puppies had worked together to move the pen across the room and had eaten a large hole in the baseboard and an even larger hole in the drywall. To this day, I still can’t comprehend how a puppy could eat a hole in a flat wall, but some things are meant to remain a mystery.

      6. Teddy was another foster with a talent of moving his crate across the room. We had to crate Teddy in our bedroom because he needed to be near his dog siblings. One day, Teddy managed to scoot his crate (with him inside) across the room to the bed. He pulled the down comforter off of our bed and into his kennel (another feat that remains a mystery) and shredded it. There were goose feathers EVERYWHERE!!

      7. Sadly, our bed seems to be a recurring theme in this list. I was napping one Saturday and Crosby climbed onto the bed and I was awoken by the sound of him tinkling all over it. Needless to say, there was A LOT of yelling. Crosby’s combination of tinkle and disruption of my nap made this one of my angriest foster moments.


     8.  A couple of years ago, I brought home a puppy the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. As soon as I got her settled into our house, I got a phone call to tell me that she had parvovirus. I spent the next 5 nights sitting next to her crate, forcing fluids and food into her mouth, and taking her outside to potty. The sleep deprivation combined with the stress of our visiting family made this foster experience truly exhausting.

   9.  Anybody that knows me will tell you that my favorite foster of all time has been Violet (luckily, Violet was adopted by my parents so she is a permanent member of the Iowa Drool Crew). Violet was impossible to potty train. She would go outside to tinkle and then come back inside and tinkle again. We checked her for medical issues and tried a million different cleaning solutions, but nothing worked…she kept doing it! She would just squat on my white shag rug, look at me defiantly, and tinkle. Thankfully, she eventually improved, but not before I was forced to buy 3 new rugs.   



      10. Lennon howls…ALL NIGHT. I think he might be part coyote. Enough said.




  1. Love these stories - so glad you do what you do for these poor dogs!

  2. BOL oh no! Kudos to you for being patient with all of these super cute pups! They are so lucky to have had you in their lives!

  3. I like #2. I have a bunch of Christmas beanie babies, and our golden Moses used to take them off the shelf and transport them around the house. He wasn't as creative as Autumn in hiding them though!
    I've probably said this before....but you and your hubby are amazing. I'm not sure I could live through all that and still keep doing it. After the last puppies (9 yrs ago now) I was thinking "never again". Of course, I don't really mean that. :)