Tag Archives: foster dogs

Transformation of a Foster Dog

Claire the sheltie relaxing
Claire hanging out at home

Claire has been with us for a year now. She came to us as a foster dog last January. She was turned in with four other dogs from the same owner. The elderly owner knew that she was reaching the point where she could no longer give the dogs the care they deserved. So she made the heartbreaking decision to turn the dogs over to our sheltie rescue group. I really felt for this lady because these dogs were members of her family.

Claire became a permanent member of our family over the summer. She was with us longer than expected because of the pandemic. When there was finally a  serious inquiry into adopting her, I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t let her leave. Luckily for me, that adoption fell through, so I didn’t have to let her go. I remember when things were up in the air. I spent an afternoon sobbing while weeding the vegetable garden and thinking about her departure. The neighbors must have thought that I had received bad news and had some dread disease the way I was crying. So, once it was determined that she wasn’t leaving, we adopted her.

She has undergone a transformation in her time with us. Not only has her coat become shiny and plush, but she has developed an outgoing personality. Upon her arrival, she was quiet and shy. This lasted the first few months. She kept to herself and didn’t interact much with the other dogs and did not seek attention from us either. Boy, have times changed. Now Claire comes up to us and pokes us with her nose for attention. She is very persistent. And she will put her front feet in your lap and sit beside you demanding that you pet her. If you don’t, you get “nosed” repeatedly.

Claire the sheltie relaxing with daddy

Claire relaxing with daddy

We are still working on obedience commands. She has mastered the sit.  And when I tell her to come, she approaches me and stops at the half way point. Any thing else is currently beyond her. We continue to work on commands and know that one day, she will get there.

Dogs playing frisbee in the snow
Claire and Baxter playing in the snow

Claire has recently developed enough skills that she is a pack member, playing with our five other dogs. At first she didn’t understand respectful boundaries in regards to the other dogs’ food and toys. Fortunately, our other dogs our quite tolerant of new dogs. They have survived enough foster dogs that they cut a new dog some slack until they learn the ropes.

I just put the dogs outside for a minute. Claire and our sheltie mix Zekie (Zeke the Wonder Dog) were chasing each other in circles and playing. And when the other dogs play frisbee, Claire tries to join in. She has yet to grasp the idea of picking up the frisbee, but she has a grand time running and barking with the rest of the pack.

I’m sure the changes in her will continue and we will enjoy watching the development. We are blessed to have her.

A Memory Captured

Super Weasel

This is a sketch I drew of one of our foster dogs a number of years ago. I know it’s no great piece of art, but it captured a memory.

This was a foster dog that came to us with the name of Lawrence. Our neighbor Larry had recently passed away and I felt odd standing in our yard repeatedly saying “Lawrence, do you have to pee?” Not to mention, it was a formal name for a one year old sheltie. He had a vey slender build and was always jumping up into the air. He especially liked to jump up and hit me in the butt with both his front feet when I would turn around to walk away. I often turned and said “You little weasel.” This eventually led to me affectionately calling him by the moniker Weasel.

Hence, this sketch with “W” on his front that I call Super Weasel.

He was a wonderful little dog that I loved dearly. I still remember tearing up when we left him at his new home. He went to a great family that also loved him dearly. He was renamed Scotty and became best friend and companion to a young girl. He became a 4-H dog and went on to run lots of agility. I couldn’t have asked for a better home for him.

Scotty left us to go to the Rainbow Bridge much too soon. I am still happily acquainted with his family, and that young girl is now an adult who has since adopted another sheltie from our Rescue.

A Home With Friends

My post last week about Maizie generated lots of interest. You can read it here if you missed it. A Heart of Gold

Rest assured Maizie enjoyed her life here. She became a permanent member of our family the day we received her diagnosis of kidney failure and found out her time was limited. She loved going out to the pasture with the other dogs and coming back in to sleep on the dog bed.

As many of our animals do, she seemed to enjoy the Christmas tree. I think it has something to do with the lights. Even with kidney failure and occasional infections, she never messed in the house. She was such a good girl. And she always greeted me with a smile when I opened the door to let her back inside.

Maizie developed a special bond with our cat Lacey. They could often be found sleeping together. Maizie passed before Lacey. When Lacey passed a year or two later, I buried her with Maizie’s ashes in our little pet cemetery. She earned this right as a part of our family and the two friends were together again.

Maizie’s time here was happy. She was only visibly failing for the last few days. The rest of the time she enjoyed doing her goofy gallop around the yard with the other dogs, playing, going on walks, getting lots of petting, and sleeping on a warm bed with her friends. Good dog Maizie, good dog.

A Heart of Gold

This is Maizie. She was our foster dog seven years ago and passed to the Rainbow Bridge after spending a little over a year with us. She had a heart of gold. Following is what I wrote at that time.

Dear Person Who Abandoned this Senior Dog,

Maizie was found by the pound and when they sent you a letter to come and get her, you did not come. She spent 30 days in the pound kennel waiting for you before the efforts of two rescue groups brought her to our house as a foster dog. Today we discovered that she has kidney failure and will live out the rest of her life with us however long that may be. What lesson am I supposed to learn from this? Perhaps to have compassion for you and not be judgemental? I will work on that.

I know that I have been blessed to know this dog who is sweet, loving, and grateful for every bit of attention. She smiles at us constantly and is one of the happiest dogs I have seen. Occassionally she will try to play and has a small, joyful hop to her step. Our lives have been enriched by knowing this kind dog.

My dreams will be sweeter knowing that I have helped and loved this girl. May you be able to sleep at all.

Nap Time

Foster sheltie Claire hanging out with the big guy, our resident greyhound. The angle of the photo is deceptive. Claire weighs 27 lbs. to Cassius’ 72.

Cassius is a gentle giant. He is by far the most mellow greyhound we have had. Even when Claire takes toys from right beside his mouth, he just gives a loud woof. He is so good natured. She on the other hand has no sense of personal boundaries.

The one who is teaching her to back off and respect his space is our 8 lb. cat Morty. If he hisses or growls, she backs up. Though he is tiny, his attitude is fierce.

Treats For Pups

Shelby, Cassius, Nikki, Zekie, and Claire

In addition to banana time, we also occasionally have orange time at our house. Our dogs love fruit. Well, except for Baxter, which is why he is not in the photo.

Even Claire, the foster girl on the far right, is getting into the act. Dogs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, so I suppose this is not a bad thing. They only get a slice or two so as not to get upset tummies.

Dogs, Tennis, & Retirement

Me, Claire the foster dog, Cassius, and Baxter in front of the pillow.

The preferred activity around our house lately has been watching the Australian Open. For those who don’t know, this is the first of the four major tennis tournaments of the year. The tournament spans two weeks and we watch as many of the matches as we can. It is down to the semi-finals now so we don’t want to miss anything.

So this is how I watch tennis. Claire the foster dog is in my lap. She is very snuggly and this way I know where she is at all times. This saves me from jumping up every few minutes to see where she is and what she is chewing on. So far: the earbuds to my iPhone, underwear, slippers, numerous paper napkins, and a pencil. Usually I get to her before much damage is done. And really it is my fault. Claire tries to be good. Given her past experience before she came to our house, she just doesn’t understand why some things are toys and some things are not. And she looks so heartbroken when I scold her for chewing inappropriate things. It’s as if she is saying, “awww, I got it wrong again.” She is learning now if I tell her no-no that she should put the item down and that will be the end of it. I am at fault for letting her have opportunities to mess up. We will get there.

Cassius lays beside me and puts his head on Claire. He wants to emphasize to us all that Claire may be on my lap, but I am his mommy!

And Baxter is on the couch because we are and, well, the couch is soft.

A better way to watch television is not to be found. Retirement rocks!

First Foster Dog 2020!

A new foster dog has arrived! We have been without a foster dog for over two years. That is an eternity for us. We had not been without a foster dog before this since 2003. When Zeke came, he was such a handful that we could not deal with any other new dogs. So when I decided to adopt Zeke, we had to take a break from fostering.

Zeke is still a handful. I would say that his behavior gets marginally better all the time. At this rate he will be a normal level of crazy in several more years. Well, either Zeke is a bit better or our tolerance for trouble has increased. Because in the late fall, we decided that we were ready to foster again. Turn-ins to our group Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue slowed down and we have some other great foster homes available so it didn’t work out for a dog to come to us until yesterday. This girl’s name is Topanga. We will be renaming her soon as that is quite a mouthful and she doesn’t seem very responsive to it.

Topanga was turned over to our Rescue group along with four other dogs. All of the dogs are female Shetland Sheepdogs and about 4-5 years old. Two are sables, two are tricolors, and there is one blue merle. The owner is apparently beginning to suffer from dementia and is no longer able to care for the dogs. I applaud the owner for realizing her limitations and doing what is best for these girls no matter how hard it is. Many of us could end up in a similar situation and I can only imagine the grief it would bring. The other dogs are going from their initial intake home to long term foster homes too. They will all get any updates to their care that is needed along with love. Love is what our foster homes do best.

I would like to point out that as with all Rescue groups, we have a protocol that we follow before placing dogs in adoptive homes. We require applications and then we conduct vet checks, followed by home checks. Then we place each dog into the approved home that is the best fit for him or her. We have enough approved homes on our waiting list to provide an adoptive home for all of these dogs. If you are interested in a dog, it is wise to get an application in early so you will be ready when we have more dogs come along.

I have to thank Cheryl, who picked up the dogs from the owner for us. And a big thanks also to Kathi who met Cheryl at the local pet store and both ladies spent their evening bathing, trimming, and transporting these dogs. These are two ladies from the local Shetland Sheepdog breed club as well as members of our Rescue. It is great and always a help when these two parts of the dog world can work together. Bravo ladies!

Topanga will be here for a few weeks at least while we update her veterinary needs and get her spayed. We can already tell she is quite a character. She was jumping and trying to play with me when I was grooming her yesterday. She keeps running around and trying to get the other dogs to play. She is also trying to get the cats to play but so far that results in hissing and a swat or two. I’m sure it’s only a matter of a few days before she is outside playing with the other dogs in our fenced pasture.

Updates to follow!