Meet Riley. He is our short-term foster pup for a few days.
We’ve only had him for 24 hours but it has been a whirlwind. I never thought fostering would be easy, but I feel like a complete idiot for being as overwhelmed as I am.
Within the first five minutes that I had him in my car he took a hot deuce in my backseat. Luckily, I pulled into a White Castle parking lot real fast and got out of the car while Riley finished his… brown castle.
I had to, I’m sorry.
Thankfully it was on a towel, which is now in a White Castle dumpster. We walked around the block before getting back in the car and I’m so glad we did. I’ll spare you the details, but the doggy pills Riley was given didn’t react well with his poor stomach. It was my karma, I suppose. Once a mad pooper, always a mad pooper.
The only backstory I know about Riley is that he just arrived in Chicago yesterday morning from a high kill shelter in Kentucky. If not for Felines and Canines taking him in, he was set to be euthanized today. F&C wanted to save these Kentucky dogs (like they always do because they’re wonderful) but their shelter was at max so they put out a call on Facebook asking for people to take in dogs just for 5-6 days while they made room.
I said yes.
And after having this dog, who is very very sweet and didn’t deserve to die, I’ve been ridiculously stressed, cried a few times, had poop on my jeans, pee on my hands, and felt terribly bad for not being better at this.
He is a good dog, he really is. And he’s super loving and sweet. So sweet it hurts my heart to watch him cower when we pass any man on the sidewalk. Whenever Chris comes in the room he hides under a table. I tried to light a candle last night and the sight of the lighter had him shaking uncontrollably.
What have you been through, little guy, I keep wondering when I look at his forgiving eyes.
He has the face and demeanor of a puppy, but the dry painful patches of an old dog. If I had to guess, it seems he was left on concrete, perhaps a driveway or a garage floor, for long long stretches of time. Because someone obviously didn’t want him, and yet they refused to get rid of him either… Just chain him up, why not? He’s only a dog!
But there’s a few things that tell me he has been in a home before, like for example when I let him on the couch he was pretty damn excited.
“You serious? I get up here?” He said with his big brown eyes and I melted.
“HELL NO YOU DON’T!” Har barked back and I stopped melting.
But Har’s doing a lot better than I thought. He’s anxious as hell, of course, but when isn’t he? Riley follows his every move and thinks he’s God, which Harlow loves and plays into big time.
“Watch me sing, Riley! Can you sing? I sing the best!” And then Harlow starts howling and screaming, which in turn, makes Riley howl and scream, and he looks at me excitedly like, “can we really do this? Can we make all this noise?”
“Oh yeah, I do whatever I want. I run this show,” Har arrogantly responds and then he lights a cigarette inside just to prove his point.
It’s all fun and games until Riley tries to get Sloth and then Har gets pissy and lays on all of his toys “making them disappear.”
Sloth is Har’s first sidekick, no one gets to boss Sloth around but Har.
So why the stress you’re probably wondering. A couple of reasons. (Small reasons, things I should be better at dealing with, yet I’m not.)
1. Riley marks. A lot.
He’s still “intact” as the professionals say. Got some big old balls, as I say.
And so I’ve been watching him like a hawk, I haven’t let him out of my sight once, which is kind of exhausting and takes away from work time.
Which leads to stress… must. sell. tshirts. CLICK HERE TO REDUCE MY STRESS.
I bought him pup pull-ups and they have been very helpful! Although they’re in the wash now, so it’s back to watching him like a hawk. And we go out every 30 minutes, but not having a backyard whilst also living on the fourth floor is a little more difficult than I knew it would be…
“Do these shorts make me look European? Be honest!”
2. He doens’t love his crate as much as the shelter said he did.
The poor boy just cries and cries. And I refuse to leave him in there because so much of his life has been in there.
Last night was rough. But between the brown castles and pee probs, I didn’t want to risk it. So he slept in his crate and I slept right by it.
3. Har is good, but not good.
If I so much as look at Riley, or pet, talk to, think about, or show any slight bit of attention to him, Harlow tries to sit on my lap or jump on my back. Yesterday Harlow was doing backhand springs on the bed, whilst wearing tap shoes, trying to make sure I looked at him more than Riley.
So that is a challenge in itself.
Long story short, it’s been an adjustment. But I keep telling myself, no one said this would be easy.
And it’s only for a few days to SAVE A DOG, so lighten up you selfish bitch.
(That’s me, yelling at me, I’ve had a lot fights in my head these past 24 hours.)
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
As I’m writing this (sitting on the floor naturally) he just army crawled over (his favorite method of getting around) and put his head in my lap, stretched his paws in the air, and let out a large doggy sigh.
I can tell by the way he acts and looks at me, that he so badly wants to do everything I want him to do, but he just doesn’t know how to do that yet.
He’s a pile of love. And he was going to be put down today.
It’s been a challenging day, but know that I’ve done my very best to spoil him the Harlow way. He’s ran free at the park several times, ears blowing, drool flying. I spoon fed him dinner (he was pretending not to eat, but I think he just wanted to be babied, because he loved the food by spoon.) And his dinner consisted of organic kibble, with a scoop chicken and rice meat log on top, and a little pumpkin puree on the side to soothe his tummy (the chef is known for this dish.) Goes great with a merlot!
He’s made himself at home on every single cozy rug, he goes back and forth between his two favorites all day long.
We’ve been to the dog spa twice now (going back in one hour, hoping to finally get rid of the peculiar scent…) and when Harlow walks away I make sure to look Riley in the eyes and tell him how special and smart and wonderful he is. By the way he wags his tail, I’m pretty sure he knows exactly what I’m saying.
To those of you that foster regularly, you amaze me. You selfless beings you, I had no idea how hard this was. You. Are. Incredible.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Riley’s pull-ups are ready in the dryer.