Tag Archives: foster

So worth it. Check out Hank now.

14 Nov

When Hank got adopted I knew it was supposed to make me happy, and yet finding Hank’s forever home broke my heart.  Hank is a perpetually happy-go-lucky pitbull who completely stole my heart with his sweet face and loving attitude.  I never wanted to let him go.

Hank is a classic example of how amazing this breed is.  He has all of the qualities that make me love pitbulls so much.  He’s carefree, he gets along with people and other dogs, he has a mellow demeanor, he loves to snuggle, and he loves to be loved.  Because of this I was incredibly heavy-hearted when I dropped him off with his new mom.  A few weeks later I still miss Hank VERY much, but I have a new foster who I love, and I am here to tell you that getting updates about your previous foster makes everything SO worth it.

Here are some Hanky Panky Updates.

Hank met a horse for the first time.

Hank meeting his new horse friend.

Hank and his new pittie sister, Diamond, are so in love.  They wrestle all day, and then cuddle together all night.  His new owner says Diamond even sleeps next to Hank’s crate whenever he has to be in it.

True love.

Hank is spoiled with new collars, new dog beds, new toys, car rides, and walks.

Handsome man.

He even got a Halloween costume, talk about being part of the family.

He looks so happy..

I’m SO happy that I get to see Hank with his new owner and know that he is ok.  I still miss him every day, but seeing how happy he is melts my heart.  This is why we fosters do it.

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Sophie, Sophie, Sophie-a!!!

2 Nov

OH MY GOODNESS.

I think in Sophie’s case a picture really does say a thousand words.  And probably says them a thousand times better than I can.

Meet my new foster puppy “Sophie”

Sophie

Check out that belly!  Are you in love yet?

Sophie was born on July 25, 2012, which makes her about 13 weeks old.  When I got her a week ago she desperately needed some quality nutrition.  She barely even looked like a puppy.

“Are you my new mommy?”

(We may or may not have called her “Yoda” for a while.  And possibly “Creature”-Of course only lovingly.)

What happened to Sophie and her sisters, who are also at MN Pitbull Rescue, is a pretty common situation.  Someone hoped to make money off of pitbull puppies, didn’t realize how much work they were, didn’t have the resources to take care of them, and the innocent puppies suffered because of it.  Puppies need to be dewormed, they need to be fed a lot of food, and they should be vaccinated at an early age to protect them against common contagious infections.

The day that I got Sophie as my foster was the first day in her 12 week life that she’d been away from her siblings.

Sophie and her sisters.

She was nervous and scared but she’s a brave little girl and explored her new surroundings.  She really likes other dogs, she is a little food vulture, and she is OH SO SNUGGLY.   As if I hadn’t already fallen head over heels for the puppy smell, the big round naked puppy belly, and her cute ears that don’t really bend the right way… I soon discovered that she makes the cutest little snore noises whenever she’s comfortable.  I’ve been trying to video tape it, but have yet to succeed.

Sophie sleeping.

I am constantly amazed by how bright Sophie is.  Her first night in the kennel was really rough, but within 4 days she has taken to her kennel like a bee to honey.  Now she sleeps all night without making a peep and when I’m getting ready to leave in the mornings she is already sitting in her kennel waiting for her treat.

Because she was getting so good in her crate I decided to take Sophie to work with me yesterday (I work at a preventative care Vet Clinic) and she blew me away with how well she behaved (aside from a few potty issues..)

She played with the staff, who loved her, played with her toys if people were busy, and when she got tired she went voluntarily into her kennel and took a nap.  Her kennel was in the lobby all day and she didn’t make a peep, even when other dogs barked at her.

Aside from being incredibly well behaved Sophie showed off her smarts.  She knows her name, how to sit, “come” (most of the time), and she even figured out how to turn her kennel into a loft!  Here’s hoping she can find a way to add an extra story on to my house before she leaves.

Sohpie in her “loft”

Sophie is one of those puppies that people can’t get enough of.  She is very social, loves humans and dogs, (see her below with Mylo) and she is so cute it hurts. Really.

She’s not picky about whether she snuggles with a human or a canine.

I haven’t had a puppy since we got Chase over 2 years ago and I was definitely over-due for some puppy snuggles.  I had forgotten how much work they are, but had also forgotten how much fun they are!  I am enjoying her so much and am already sad thinking about the day I have to let her go.  I’m really going to miss watching her stumble up the stairs, watching her pounce on her toys, listening to her snores and grunts, and snuggling with her warm puppy belly.  Most of all, though, I’m going to miss watching her continue to learn and grow.

Sophie’s happiness and excitement are contagious.  She’s a true lover, and I know that whoever becomes her forever family will be incredibly lucky to have her.

Just some foster humor :)

27 Oct

The crazy life of a dog foster:

Some of the delightful situations that occur at my house.

 

Chase, my 80 pound pitbull mix occasionally gets jealous of the fosters (who are we kidding, ALWAYS gets jealous) and frequently sits on their heads.

If Chase is not sitting on a foster dog’s head he sits on the couch opposite of me, stares at me and sighs repeatedly.

Very few of my fosters were potty trained coming in to my house.  Waking up to my husband who has just stepped in poo is a real treat.  (Why doesn’t he look where he’s going?!)

I have started keeping a collection of dog hair.  Not because I WANT to be a collector, but because if I want to do anything with my life other than vacuum 24-7 it’s necessary to ignore the hair and watch as the clumps begin to sprout heads and legs.  I’m pretty sure I’m growing new dogs in the corners of my house. They will come alive at some point, I’m sure.   

Getting pizza delivered to our house has become a comedy routine (for people watching, not for me).  First, three dogs begin barking, growling and howling.  They then head to the front door at 40 mph knocking over anything in their paths (people included).  I try to tell Mr. Pizza Delivery Boy through the door (and the barking) that it will be “JUST A MINUTE!!” I shove random dogs in miscellaneous kennels trying to remember that Mylo goes in the top one, the foster has to go BACK to their crate in the living room, and Chase’s door has to be COMPLETELY shut.  THEN I get to open the door and collect my pizza, which is inevitably cold.  I also get laughed at by Mr. Pizza Delivery Boy.

When you have three dogs it is “100% guaranteed or your money back” (you won’t get any money though- this is animal rescue silly) that they will never agree on whether they want to be inside or outside.  One dog will ask to go outside, so I shuffle all three outside.  5 seconds later (usually right when I get back to my comfy spot on the couch) one of the dogs that DIDN’T want to go outside will start barking.  The dog that doesn’t want to be outside right NOW, will want to be outside in 20 minutes.  They all rotate being the jerk that didn’t pee when they were outside 20 minutes ago, so it never ends.

Once we sit down on the couch we need to be prepared to have no use of our arms.

Make sure NEVER TO BUMP THE LEASHES, unless you are prepared to take a walk, and if YOU can leash-walk three large dogs at one time I would like to borrow your spare arm and your automatic brakes, please.

My dogs created a new rule: “If the foster chewed on it we get to too!”

Occasionally a foster dog learns how to get on the bed (this involves using a bench as a stair, which is surprisingly hard for dogs to figure out).  This is “time to find it a new home”-The husband.

Our vocabulary seems to only include the phrases: “Get down.” “Go outside?” “Go potty.” “Down.  Down.  DOWN!!.” “Sit.  Longer than that.”  “You want to eat?” “Don’t sit on him/her!” “Mylo, chill.”  “Chase, stop being jealous.”  

Saying Goodbye Hank, Hello new family!

23 Oct

Last Sunday Hank and I took a road trip to Minneapolis to meet with 3 potential adoptive families.  Hank was excited and behaved amazing all day. As usual, everyone fell in love with him.

After a lot of discussion we decided that one of the applicants and her dog would make a really good family for Hank.  When she heard the news she sounded like she won the lottery.

Tuckered out in the car.

This left me making the drive home, with Hank curled up in my front seat, trying to accept that he’d be leaving me soon.  It hit me like a cannonball to the stomach.  He was going to be leaving me INCREDIBLY soon.  In a matter of DAYS.  Hank’s new mom had some paperwork to complete, but pending final approval she could take him as soon as possible.

Hank remained quite clueless, as dogs do, to the fact that he was getting a REAL forever home soon and therefore was unaware that he would be saying good-bye to our little family.   I, however, was well aware that I would soon be entrusting my baby to a new owner. I knew I should be happy, this is the goal of every foster parent, but I couldn’t be.  I had to accept that now it was too late to change my mind and keep him even if I wanted to.  He couldn’t be mine.  I worked on preparing myself for what I had to do. I tried to spend quality time with him and I attempted to soak up his contagious cheerfulness while I still had him, but it made me so sad. All of my insecurities and doubts played over and over in my head. What if he’s not happy there?  What if she doesn’t love him as much as I do?  What if he feels betrayed, abandoned and sad?  What if he gets injured, sick, or stolen?  I would soon have NO control over the rest of his life.  That’s a hard thing to accept when you love someone so much.

The days passed and soon it was Wednesday. On this day Hank’s new mom was approved for the Foster-to-Adopt program.

(When adopting from MN Pitbull Rescue adoptive families must first enter in to a foster agreement with the dog and attend 6 weeks of training courses.  After these courses the family can then choose to adopt or decide that the dog is not a good fit for them.  This foster-to-adopt program makes it possible for the rescue to watch the new family with the dog for an extended period of time before entrusting the rest of the dog’s life to them.  Learn more at www.mnpitbull.com.)

Knowing that people from the rescue would continue to see Hank for at least 6 weeks helped to ease my fears.  A little.

It was arranged for Hank and I to meet his new owner on Friday night.

I tried to tell Hank about his new owner.  I told him why I picked her and why I liked her and her dog so much.  I told him that I would always love him and that he would LOVE his new home.  I told him not to be nervous and not to worry about me; that I’d always remember him, but that he mustn’t be sad about not being with me anymore.  THIS is what he’s living for now, his new FOREVER home.

I said goodbye to Hank Friday night at 8 pm.  He went happily off with his new mom.  I endured a long drive home with teary eyes and a paradoxically broken, yet happy, heart.

Saying goodbye to my baby.

Hank is now enjoying his new life.  I don’t know if he misses me or not, but I know that even if he does he will quickly forget about his foster family and fall deeply in love with his new mom and his new sister.

Hanks new mom!!

I’m very happy that Hank got his “furever” home.  It’s every dog’s ultimate wish, and since it couldn’t be me I’m extremely happy with our choice.  And yet:

Hank,

Every night I lay in bed thinking about you curled up on the couch.  You should be there, but you aren’t.

I wait for the sound of your feet when I wake up and they never come.

I see pictures of your cute face and it brings tears to my eyes.

I miss you every second of every day.

Despite how much I miss him, and will continue to miss him, I feel SO lucky because his new mom sends me lots of updates and pictures.  I know how well he’s been doing since he left me and that makes it all worth it.

Hank and Diamond.

She says that Hank LOVES his new sister, Diamond, and that they sleep together every night.  Hank has a new cat sibling, and even met the horses this weekend.  Everyone at the farm already loves him, and his new mom says she can’t believe how well he’s fitting in already. He is a spoiled pup with his own new collars and leashes.  He has toys and dog beds all over the house and he gets to snuggle with his new mom and sister. As a foster mom you can’t hope for much more than that!

This is truly a wonderful ending to Hank and my story, and a beautiful new beginning for Hank and his new family’s story.  I will always remember Hank as my first Pitbull foster.  I will remember how he stole my heart and that he was one of the best dogs ever.

And now I can say that he is FINALLY someone’s beloved pet.

Hanks new family.

Congratulations Hank, there is no dog that deserves it more than you.  I hope to see you again, but if not I hope you have the best life ever.  You earned it.

Why I Won’t Foster Fail

15 Oct

For those of you that don’t know, a foster failure is a foster family that ends up adopting their foster.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing.  That dog ends up with a great home.  But what about the next dog they may have fostered?

There are many reasons why I won’t let myself foster fail.

Its true, I have ended up letting go of fantastic dogs, and I’m sure I will be forced to let go of many more who I have fallen for in the future.  I hear all the time, “oh, Chelsea, you love that dog, why don’t you keep him/her? They love you and you love them”, but I can’t do it.  Take a second to think about what would happen if everyone foster failed. There would be no fosters left.

Me saying goodbye to foster “Gunner”

Reddie, my foster coon-hound was rescued from a hoarding situation at 2 years old.  The rescuers had nowhere to put all of the dogs so after the miserable life he’d ALREADY had he ended up in the pound.  He had a bum leg, and was therefore not considered a highly adoptable dog.  Many of the other dogs were put into shelters and rescues where they had a chance to get adopted but Reddie sat in the pound for 3 months where his bum leg continued to deteriorate.  He was supposed to be put down after 30 days and was living on borrowed time.  Finally Critter Harbor found a foster, me, and he was rescued, after months, from his living hell.

Foster “Reddie”

 

Hank was found on the streets and brought to a pound.  Minnesota Pitbull Rescue needed a foster family in order to pull him from the pound and managed to find one, me, the NIGHT BEFORE he was put down.

Hank and Reddie are both fantastic dogs with great demeanor.  They are dog friendly, people friendly, and kid friendly.  They both needed some training, some love and some rehabilitation, but they adjusted to their new lives fairly quickly and their new owners are, and will be, incredibly lucky to have them.

This happens to SO many great dogs.  They are pulled in the nick of time because a foster family is willing to take them in.  But what happens to the ones that aren’t pulled in time?  They are put to sleep, whether they are great dogs or not.

Now, I don’t believe that I saved these dogs lives.   It’s entirely possible that another foster family may have stepped up and taken them in, but what if they hadn’t?

Me and Foster “Tigger”

 

I feel that if you believe in something, and you care about something, you can’t sit around and hope that someone else will take care of it.  I can’t rely on other dog crazy people to save all the dogs because there’s always more that can be done, and in order to do it people need to actually DO it.  You can’t sit around and have faith that other people will fix things.

“ When you find your passion in life… follow it, believe in it, fight for it… and most importantly: DO IT. That’s why you’re here.”  -Ashley Owen Hill www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com

Every single person on earth has the ability to make a difference, but few people actually do.  I refuse to foster fail because I couldn’t forgive myself for not trying to make a difference.  Because I refuse to foster fail I inevitably end up getting rid of fantastic dogs, and it kills me to do so.  However, I have two wonderful dogs already and I truly believe that my incredible foster dogs will make other people as happy as I am with Chase and Mylo.  NOT foster failing helps the animal rescue world go round.  If I can continue to be a part of that I will be thankful every day, even the days that hurt.  I will soak up the love from my fosters while I have them.  I will be hurt when they go, but I will snuggle up with my dogs for the day and know that another family will get to enjoy what I do, and another dog can be rescued because of what I do.

Me saying goodbye to foster “Ginger”

Foster failing would be the easy way out for me.  I think everyone would admit to taking the easy way out in life a time or two, but I know that the pain I feel from giving up a dog I love, and the constant worry that I have about their future, is NOTHING compared to what I would feel if I couldn’t foster anymore.  Every time I saw a sweet face that needed saving I would know that I’m relying on someone else to rescue them.  I can live with a little hurt.  I can’t live with that.

 

 

Mini Blog- Hank’s Play Date

28 Sep

Snuggle Bug 

Since becoming famous on Facebook and Petfinder.com (see his Petfinder page here: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/24053648) Hank has gotten to enjoy some of the perks of being a star.  Most recently, a previous Minnesota Pitbull Rescue adopter asked to have a play date with Hank.

Now, Hank feels like a pretty lucky kid on any old day at our house, but THIS day he got to go on an extra special field trip.  Hank met a Minnesota Pitbull Rescue  alumni, now named Otis, and they went for a mini-adventure.

We took Hank and Otis to a park where they got to run, hike on trails, play tug of war, and even visit a pond.  I’m not sure if Hank is a water dog or not.. It was pretty cold out.  But he certainly enjoyed running on the little dock, wrestling with Otis who IS a water dog, and getting water everywhere.

Hank enjoyed the trails a lot, typically lolly-gagging behind us, always wagging his tail.   I think his favorite time of the day, however, was treat time.

“I’m sitting.. Can I have that please??”

I am so proud of Hank for doing so well with yet another dog.  He enjoys their company, he has no food aggression, he meets them well on or off leash, and he loves to snuggle with them.  It makes me happy to know that he does just as well with other dogs as he does with mine.

Hank and Mylo

Every time I meet new people they tell me how fantastic it is that I foster.  How great it is, and how they don’t know how I do it.  I enjoy it so much that I don’t feel like there’s any credit to take.  I feel like it’s so much less than some people do.  However, I have come to recognize that being a foster family has taken an immense amount of cooperation from all of the members of my family, and THEY do deserve credit.  I give my husband Gene credit all the time, but stay tuned to read about the real, under-acknowledged, heroes of our foster family:

Mylo and Chase.

Best Buds

If you are interested in finding out more about Hank, or have questions on how to meet him, or adopt him, please visit: www.minnesotapitbull.com.

Some words from Hank.

19 Sep

Hank wanted to say some things to his adoring fans.  He has a rather large head these days.. and not only physically!  He asked me to type for him though, as he can’t spell very well.  If you haven’t read about Hank yet you should read https://pittiesforyourthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/some-hanky-panky-going-on/ first. 

Hank here.  I figured that since my Chelsea Mom gets to write about me.. I should get to say some things myself.  Only fair eh? 

I’m a little concerned that she will edit everything I say.  I have a hard time seeing on that hard piece of paper so I have no idea if she’s actually writing what I want.  If she says anything about me stealing socks, snoring in my sleep, or that accident I had in the house the other day you should know she’s lying. 

First off, I wish that my foster mom and dad would listen when I try to tell them my past.  I look at them, and try to tell them what my life has been like, but they just make cooing noises at me and rub my ears.   Then I forget what I’m trying to say.  OR they bring out what they call “Treats” and I lose all control of my thoughts.  I GOTTA GET THAT “TREAT”!

Anyways, if they only knew my story then they’d understand why I am SOOOO excited to sit on the couch!  Or even better their laps on the couch.  Sometimes they tell me “Sitting on the couch is a privilege not a right” but I usually pretend I don’t hear them (He He).   They’d also understand why I get so excited about those hard white plastic things that taste like chicken.  I also like balls, and stuffed toys; pretty much all toys.  Chelsea Mom says I’m like a puppy sometimes!  I just think it’s more fun that way. 

Chelsea Mom and Dad Gene are teaching me to sit.  They think I don’t know how to do it. But I DO!  I’m just so much shorter than my foster brothers that if I sit I’m way farther away from the “treats” than they are! 

MMMM.  “Treats”. 

I digress.

There are some things I DON’T like and I think Mom Chelsea and Dad Gene should fix these issues right away.     

The hair dryer.  It’s unnatural to have hot wind!

The vacuum cleaner.  Does she need to chase me with it?

When my foster brothers don’t want to play with me.

When my foster brothers sit on me!  What do I look like, some chump?

Dog Pile.

When foster mom doesn’t let me eat tissue paper.  I tried to tell her I was making art for her, but she didn’t care. 

Really tall beds. – I can’t even get ON foster mom and dad’s bed.  I keep suggesting that they get a new one and they say “What do you think, Hank, money grows on trees?” (Those green leafs look an awful lot like money to me..)

I think that’s about it.  I’m a pretty happy kid.  I like love and snuggles.  I like belly rubs, wiggling, and I like to play. Chelsea Mom may be right about the snoring thing, I really like to make fun noises.  I guess I don’t even really mind when my foster brothers sit on me.  It can be nice in a dog pile. 

So, I’d have to say I’m a pretty lucky boy to come off the streets to a family that feeds me, lets me sleep on the furniture, takes me for walks, and gives me lots of love!  

Chelsea Mom keeps telling me that some family is going to steal me away from her someday and make me their own!  She says she’s going to cry and miss me SO much, but that I will LOVE my new family.  I don’t want to make Chelsea Mom cry, but I do SO want a family of my own.  When the time comes I’ll give Chelsea Mom kisses to make her feel better, and then I’ll wiggle my butt away with my NEW FAMILY.  Stay tuned, I hope it’s soon!

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