In the past few months many foster dogs have come and gone through my life and home. I have enjoyed every minute of it, I've enjoyed the travelling all over to collect, deliver or just to transport dogs for other rescues. I've enjoyed home checking to make sure a dog will have a good life with a prospective adopter, I've loved meeting the many people involved with rescue in various forms and also meeting those who have had to hand in their dog.
At times the reason is not because the dog is unwanted and they can't wait to get rid of him/her, sometimes it's because of the change in circumstances and many times I've sat holding and comforting someone when they feel their world has turned upside down because they have to give their dog up to a new home.
In other cases I've been in a hurry to leave the home of a hand in simply because the dog is of no consequence and they can't wait to get rid of the same dog who has been loyal and loved them with no love in return. To watch these dogs develop trust again in humans and to see them blossom has made all the work and tears well worth it.
Ex puppy farm girls have come through my home too, these have come in afraid of their own shadow and not used to not being confined in a small place. The big wide world makes them fearful, as does the noise of the washing machine, hoover, television and everyday normal things.
Seeing these same girls, gradually get used to being on a lead, no longer afraid the lead is just another rope to tie them up with but is something which means they're going into a big space and will be able to run around without restriction. The look on their faces when the wind blows their hair all over and especially now when it blows leaves around and they can jump into them, roll in them and not be hurt or go back into confinement it's a joy to see and just melts my heart.
Recently I had a little Lhasa boy, Macky, who had been in 5 homes within 2 months, they all said he was grumpy, growled all the time and was getting ready to bite them. He is a Lhasa, they and Shih Tzu talk to you like that. They let you know what they want, we had him here a week, he found it very hard when the other 7 dogs were in his face so he would snap and sometimes keep going which would develop into a doggy scrap until I stopped it. If the dogs approached him one at a time he was fine, he just didn't like them in his face, he couldn't be punished for this, if 7 people were in my face all at once I'd back off and tell them to go away just the same as he did. He was overweight so he was lazy, he would play with my hands, soft mouthing them, he loved to have his back and tummy scratched gently. To me he was a big cuddly teddy bear who needed cuddling and understanding.
He's now gone to a couple who only have visiting grandchildren, he's settling down and is enjoying his life with them. His character is coming out and he's showing his cheeky side which is great to hear.
Before him I was asked to foster a beautiful little Shiddie girl calle Bella who had come into the pound as a cruelty case, when you meet her you fall in love with her. We knew she had been badly abused and would squeal with fear at the sight of a lead, if you tried to put it on her she would totally freak out and think she was being tied up. Because of her initial fear of women we believe it was possibly a woman who abused her, seeing how fearful this little girl was defies all imagination as to what kind of person could do this to her and what kind of hell she had been through.
When she first came she would sit on the bottom of my stairs trembling, Neil was able to touch her but she wasn't happy me touching her. So I spent many hours sitting alongside her talking to her but not touching her. We put the world to rights many times over, she now knows my full life history :o)but eventually it paid off. She started to lean against me, I had my hands in my lap, she went on to touching them with the side of her head. I gradually one finger at a time stroked her ears eventually moving on to her head and back. I put the lead on my knee so she could see it and after a week she stopped squealing and realised the lead going on meant she was going outside. She became the first in the queue when the leads came out. She loved being outside, I put her on an extention lead so she would run in front, stop, look back at me and come running back jumping and skipping about to be fussed. I never went on a walk with Bella without laughing and smiling, it was sheer joy being out with her to see her enjoying herself. Neil took her with Nemo one morning letting her off lead, she loved running about free, jumping and rolling in the leaves, running back to him before dashing off again.
She started to want the cuddles we offered and spent many an hour curled up on either mine or Neil's knee. She chose his bed to sleep on and would disappear upstairs with him have her nightly cuddle then go to the bottom of the bed and not move until morning. She very quickly stole our hearts and it would have been so easy to keep her but if we did then there wouldn't be room for any others.
A couple enquired about her and came to visit last Saturday, from the moment they walked in I knew she had chosen them, she didn't take to visitors well at all but Jane and Paul were different. It was a joy to see her settle on Janes knee, loving the stroking and making the mewing sound she made when she was happy. Then she went to sit on Pauls knee and lolled across him as if she'd known him forever. I knew then we'd lost our little girl to her new Mum & Dad. Along with a new Mum & Dad she has a new brother a gorgeous Lhasa boy called George who's very handsome and who she gets along with. It broke my heart to see her being driven away and she'll always have a big piece of my heart but I know she is happy and loved and Jane and Paul will look after her and will continue with helping her to face things she is still unsure of. She is settling well, enjoying her walks, she loves her new home and will blossom into the dog she was always meant to be.
I only have one foster at the moment a beautiful Shiddie girl called Olivia who is an ex puppy farm girl. I can't disclose much about her at the moment but will in time tell you all about her, she is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met.
These dogs have come into my home and life so I can get them ready to go to new homes, to be able to accept strangers and trust people, sometimes it's been very hard work and there have been many tears when I've sat up all night with a dog who's fearful and needing reassurance but it has all been worth every minute. I've loved having them here even if I do have to have a new mop more often than usual and I can get through a pack of kitchen rolls like no ones business, I have loved each and everyone of them and hope I will meet many more before I have to stop.
It isn't all give though, it's also receiving, it's receiving the love and trust these dogs have in you and show you. They give back 100 fold, each one has been special in their own sweet way. One couple of Yorkie boys came in because their Mum couldn't cope with the vet bills anymore, she was heartbroken and called everyday to see how they were. The great ending was that when her friends realised how she was struggling they got together and promised to support her and help her out. I had the great pleasure of taking them back to their Mum who was absolutely over joyed when she had them back. They were a pleasure to look after and I know we would have had no trouble rehoming them but to see how they greeted their Mum and she them it was worth the travelling to see it. This is just one of the thing which makes rescue worth while.
A big hug to all my little foster dogs who've been with me and given me love, laughter and a few tears, I love you all.