I thought I would still have him with me today, but I don’t. After learning that the shelter had the space they were waiting on open up (earlier than expected,) I was told I could bring him back for the chance to be adopted. And so I drove him there last Friday evening.
It was hard and I felt really bad about it, but for more than a few reasons, I’m hoping it was the best decision for him.
I talked to him and scratched his ears the entire way, and also packed him a bag with bones, a blanket, some toys, and several bags of treats.
But it still hurt to return a dog to a shelter, even a good one like Felines and Canines. When he got out of my car he didn’t whimper or resist, so I told myself that was a good sign. I also told myself timing was in his favor having Saturday right around the corner. The amount of adoptions F&C does on the weekends is insane. And so maybe he already has his home? I can’t be certain, but you better believe I am watching their page like a crazy person just waiting for that update.
I knew going into this it was going to be very short term, and truthfully having this be my first foster situation, that’s what I felt was best.
Here’s a few things I learned from my first experience, maybe it will help you if you’re considering giving fostering a try.
1. It’s hard.
It’s harder than you think it will be- both mentally and physically. But after just day one it gets a lot better. However, don’t let me scare you off, I think having a backyard (or even just living on the first floor) would change things immensely.
2. About the not-neutered situation…
I don’t think I’ll ever take in a dog who is still “in-tact” again. I know that may sound harsh, but having a house full of dog smells already made this especially difficult. The belly wrap helped, but it wasn’t just the leg-lifting on every corner of my wall that was hard, around day two there started to be some humping action, as well. And if there’s one thing that pisses Harlow off, it’s when another dog tries to hump him.
In hindsight, this is totally my fault. I should have known better than to agree to bring another dog into my house who hadn’t been neutered while already having a male dog (who gets very mad when he’s humped.) But I just didn’t know. Now I do.
3. The crate.
Since I work from home, I didn’t have to put Riley in there often. But when I did, it didn’t go well.
I left him in there for 45 minutes one morning when I went to get dog food and came home to find he had broken off the top, pooped on the floor, peed on the bed, and scratched my blinds beyond repair. And yes, he’d already had his morning potty break, but the poor guy had to go again. We’ve all been there. I wouldn’t want to go in my crate either.
I told myself he was probably scratching at the blinds trying to get out the window to go the bathroom, because he really did have an idea about potty training (regardless of what this story tells.)
The blinds were cheap and needed to be replaced anyway, Riley’s pretty much a puppy, so none of that worried me.
However the second crate accident did worry me. This one happened later in the day when I met a friend for a late lunch. I stacked books on the crate so he couldn’t knock off the top. When I came home an hour later and anxiously opened the door to where his crate was, I was hit with a blast of hot air. Riley was panting profusely and it was evident he had been working his heart out the entire time I was gone. His paws were red and painful looking, as was his mouth. He had completely chewed the rubber flooring of the crate and had managed to pull up the rug that the crate was on and chewed that as well. When I let him out he collapsed on the kitchen floor and panted for a half hour like he had just run a marathon.
What if I had been gone another hour? Or two?
It was heartbreaking, and also evident that crate wasn’t safe for him. So I emailed the shelter asking for any tips, or assistance, anything at all really, to help with the crate situation. And that’s when they wrote me back and said that they’d just had several unexpected adoptions and the space they were waiting on was open. I could bring Riley back.
And that’s why I originally had taken him in, to keep in my care until the shelter had some open spaces. Taking him back on a Friday evening before a busy weekend of adoptions was a good thing, I told myself… But even so, I just felt really sad about it all. I still do just writing this.
The only way I stop from moping about this is by convincing myself that in the short time I had him, I did my best to show him what a good home is. He tried peanut butter on a spoon, had a chicken breast for dinner, ran freely at the parks, and sprawled out comfortably on a large cozy bed, snoring as loud as could be.
I hope I helped make his life a little easier and better. But most of all, I hope and pray he’s already been adopted…
As soon as I see his adoption pic posted, which should be any day now, I’ll obviously share here asap.
If you’ve fostered before and had a crate experience like I mentioned, what did you do? I hope to do this again, but want to be better prepared next time.