We have another foster dog. He came from a pound via Caroline at Association Orfee (www.orfeeinenglish.com). She brought him to us and helped with a smooth introduction with our female dog, by taking them for an on lead walk together. There was a slight hiccup, as I’d forgotten to mention the walking them side by side rule, and my husband took our dog straight up to say hello to him.
Thankfully both dogs were fine, but, if you’re doing the same, it’s always worth remembering that the foster dog has an unknown temperament, and a bad introduction may affect your own dog, as well as their relationship.
Eglade, or Egg as we’ve nicknamed him, wore a cone for the first week with us. It didn’t really bother him or slow him down, but it did turn him into a bull in a china shop!
Our first evening was uneventful. We kept him on a lead so that we could easily correct any unwanted behaviour, and could get him out for a wee break in double quick time and he has quickly learnt his basic commands, to stay off the sofa and not to use the coffee table as a jump!
We spent a lot of time walking round our garden in the first few days for toilet breaks, and although we had three accidents, he quickly learned to ask to go out, we learnt to recognise his asking and he quickly learned to control himself until he could get outside.
His first night was bad. He was highly stressed, which meant he couldn’t settle. Wearing his cone meant I couldn’t keep him in the crate as he would bang about relentlessly, and then once I let him out, he paced around our salon all night. None of us got much sleep but hopefully, the fact that I was with him made it a little easier for him than it could have been.
Day two was much better. He voluntarily spent a short time in the crate with the door open and we spent some time training basic commands. The night was much better too, and of course, this was the night we had our first accident, as we weren’t watching him so closely.
Day three was better again. I left him in the crate for an hour and a half and he was fine. Although he is quite clingy, he doesn’t seem to have any issues with being left.
He loves playing with a ball, destroying stuffed toys, digging up small rodents in the vines and lying in puddles. He has stolen a packet of treats, leaving just one for later, knocked our bird ball tub to the ground, and almost demolished two of them. He let me take them from him though and eats happily with our dog so he has no food issues, apart from being an opportunist thief.
He is still a bit snatchy when he takes a treat, so we have worked hard on only giving him treats when he’s calm and gentle and are working on his most difficult challenge, the leave.
We expected him to be an escape artist, but he has turned out to have excellent recall and only gets distracted from that when he’s digging for treasure.
The cone finally came off on Thursday. Our dog stayed well clear while he was wearing it. We had all suffered a bit with bruised legs so breathed a huge sigh of relief, and watched him carefully to see how it would change his activities.
It didn’t really. The only thing that changed, was that now the dogs want to play with each other… and it’s noisy. Egg is quite a vocal player.
If you love dogs and have some time to spare but can’t commit to adopting a dog, why not try fostering? I would say it’s taken about 10 days for us to return to our routine with our new boy. Some will need more, some will need less work, but the rewards speak for themselves.
Fostering enables the association or refuge to better understand the dogs temperament and education, which isn’t obvious in the refuge environment.
It enables the dogs to make an easier transition in to a new, suitable home.
It may help a dog or cat who is struggling to deal with the refuge environment.
It saves lives. We have potentially saved Eglade’s life. The pound is only legally obliged to keep a dog for 8 to 10 days, after which they can have them euthanized if they need the room.
It is rewarding and fun.
Wherever you are in France, if you are interested in fostering, get in touch. We should be able to point you to someone you can help. Email info@LAARF.com