Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Start In Foster Care

The first thing I will say is that we are obsessed with the dog sport, flyball. We have spend countless hours, thousands of dollars, and collected two additional dogs to keep up with our addiction. But three dogs is not enough and so I spend a good amount of time searching or "surfing" petfinder for a new flyball potential to add to the pack...why not round it out with four?

We are looking for a border collie/terrier mix that is small. I finally saw one that seemed perfect and even though we wanted to wait awhile to get this fourth dog, I figured I would email the rescue organization and get some information on her. It turned out that she was bigger than she looked and would not work for us.

In her email response to me the organizer of the foster organization, desperately asked if I would be willing to take her for a week since her previous foster home could not keep her for one more day. I agreed, thinking that this would be a good way to begin fostering dogs. We were originally thinking about fostering for Border Collie Rescue, but this was a good way to get started right away.

A few days later they brought our first foster dog to our home, Katie Bell, a 10 month old border collie basenji mix or border collie jack russell mix. Katie Bell had more energy than all three of my dogs combined, which is saying a lot because my border collies are pretty high energy. One of the first things Katie Bell did was jump on to our kitchen table to look for food. That was a shock! Our dogs would never do that! We had Katie Bell for about a month and during that time we taught her to sit and stay, not bark at other dogs at the park and to be quiet in her crate. She fit in well with our family for the most part, although her manners were not exactly refined.

Katie Bell was a popular girl and received several applications from people wanting to adopt her. One family had two dogs already both that they adopted this summer. We thought that was a little strange and decided it wouldnt be a good fit. The next family wanted a dog that never barked and was already perfectly trained. Another bad fit. Another person was interested that would have been perfect. She was a dog trainer that loved agility. Unfortunately she already had 6 dogs and her husband drew the line and didnt want to get that seventh dog.

The family that finally adopted Katie Bell was an unlikely home for her. A 72 year old woman and her grown daughter had just lost a border collie and wanted a new puppy. We were very hesitant because of her age and Katie Bells exuberance. After several long conversations trying to convince her that Katie Bell was not for her she finally said "If you dont let me adopt her I will go out and get a border collie puppy". We knew then that she was determined to not get a lap dog and her age does not mean that she cannot handle an active dog.

Here is the first email I received after Katie Bell went to her new home"

"Well, we just got home from quite a few places and Katie was a star. We took her to Issaquah Creek and she loved it. Drank water and smelled and walked all over. We went to Petsmart and got her started on supplies. We took her where whe could interact with other dogs and again, just a star! We couldn't be more pleased. She is a bolter though. Ha!"

Our first foster story was a success (at least so far). Despite the challenges of bringing a new dog into our house it was a great experience. The feeling of helping a dog in need become more adoptable and then seeing them go to a forever home makes it all worth it.

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