Foster Brothers to the Rescue

5 Oct

When I started fostering I was so excited to get involved, and so excited to get my first dog, that I didn’t think about all the things that would be hard about it.

Granted, I knew it would be hard to let go of the fosters, and I knew that dogs with behavior problems could be trying, but I didn’t really think about how much it would affect the rest of my family.

Our Family

Every day of my life I am incredibly thankful that I have someone so supportive that I’m able to bring home stray dogs, disrupt our lives, and receive help with the day-to-day responsibilities of having three dogs.   I feel SO lucky that I get to do this, and I think it’s important to realize and appreciate what everyone in my family contributes to this group effort.

Meet Mylo and Chase.

Mylo

Mylo is a 3 year old Labrador Retriever, and Chase is a 2 year old Pitbull-Mastiff mix.  Mylo was a rescued from abandonment shortly before he starved to death as a 6 month old pup.  Chase’s mom was tied to a tree, left for a week, impregnated, and almost put to sleep pregnant before she was rescued.  She had the puppies but was too young to be a mother, and started attacking her litter when they were 3 weeks old.  Because of this we received Chase when he was only 3 weeks and 6 days old.

Chase

I feel very fortunate that my dogs don’t have abandonment, anxiety, or social issues from their dramatic puppy-hoods.  I am UNBELIEVABLY fortunate that they not only DON’T have any of these issues, but to this day they have always been extremely well behaved with any and all of the dogs they meet.  In fact, I used to work at a boarding facility and I frequently used my dogs to test other dog’s socialization levels.

When I started fostering I knew they would be great foster brothers and I never thought twice about it.  However, now that I’ve fostered for some time I definitely feel that I need to redistribute the credit given in our household.  What must it be like for them to have new dogs on their turf all the time?  Initially, for the first hour or so, I think they find it fun.  They have a new playmate for the day! But then.. The dog stays over.  They are here for breakfast the next day.   They start sitting on the couch and stealing mom and dad’s attention.  Next they chew on their toys and try to get in the bed.  Sometimes the foster gets to go special places, or they get to eat special food.  I can only imagine that Mylo and Chase feel overshadowed sometimes.

Sharing the couch with one of our favorite fosters “Reddie”

In general they enjoy playing with the fosters, and they are perfectly fine eating in the same room and coexisting in the same house, but it seems to hit them hard when the fosters get brave enough to steal the couches, or try to steal their human’s laps.  It’s easy for me to see their jealousness,  but they always behave themselves, and usually adjust eventually.  Eventually they usually figure out that 3 dogs and 2 humans DO fit on the couch together, so long as no one cares about being squished, sat on, or kicked.

Fuzzy pic. It’s hard to take pictures with all three of them on top of you.

Then, after ALL of this adjusting, throughout the fosters entire time at our house, the foster dog is adopted and leaves never to be seen again.

Sometimes I wonder if my dogs can understand a foster’s sad past?

Maybe they feel special to help teach the fosters how great life can be?

Sometimes I wonder if my dogs are afraid they will be sent away next?

They see so many dogs come and go from our house, what’s to keep them from thinking they might be next to go?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m over-reacting and just THINK my dogs are jealous and pouting.

This is usually Gene’s opinion.

Whatever may be true about the whole situation, I know that not all dogs could do what mine do.  They have had nine foster brothers and sisters in less than a year.  They have put up with, adjusted to, and lost nine foster siblings.  And they keep letting new ones in.  Keep wondering where they go and if they have to be worried.  They share their toys, food, leashes and let them come on their outings. AND, as if that’s not enough, they share their humans.

Sharing treats with foster brother Bubb

I think Mylo and Chase may have the most difficult positions in our little foster family.  Gene and I are aware of what we are doing. We know what to expect, and we know that no dogs will replace ours.  I try to find ways to tell Mylo and Chase this, (For example only Mylo and Chase get to sleep with us in bed- One: there’s no more room. Two: I feel like they need SOMETHING that is always there’s no matter how many dogs we have in the house) but I think they just have to learn with every new foster that they will not be the next ones given away.

I always worry about my dogs, but I know deep down that being foster brothers is a great experience for them as well as for us.  They are incredibly well-rounded dogs now.  They are used to many things that they weren’t used to before. They have a lot of confidence in new situations.  Most of all, I have a TON of confidence in THEM.

Mylo and Chase.  Mommy loves you. Thank you for helping her help others.

Me and my boys.

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