It has been awhile since I have written.
Our summer was spent hosting a number of people to our home, graciously. It ended with me back to school teaching art, now in a classroom and our decision to foster Great Danes who needed good homes in hopes they would receive forever homes after the foster time.
I was leery at first…as my Anabelle is quite a jealous dog. She is attached to me. She has her eyes on me at all times. I am attached to her. She was my constant companion for more than 10 years. We are bound to each other like Indian Jones was to his dog, thus replacing his name with “Indiana,” the dogs name. (I have oft considered doing this…Anabelle is a beautiful name.)
At an event called “Bark in the Park after Dark,” we met the local Great Dane rescue group named Dames for Danes. At my fiance’s request and our decision, we filled out the application to be foster parents to Great Danes. We were accepted instantly and offered to foster Great Dane puppies the very next day.
We were hoping for a nice, older Dane. Slower. Had already chewed everything up in the house. We decided not to accept.
A few days later, we were asked to foster a Great Dane named Phoebe. She had been neglected, left alone outside for a long, long time. She had lost most of her hair and had a severe allergic reaction to flea bites, leaving her red. She was also very emaciated. She looked so, so sad and neglected.
We talked it over and agreed to foster her into our home!
On Wednesday last week, Phoebe entered our home. I excitedly welcomed this beautiful 100 lbs. girl into our home without much thought. If I was excited, surely Mogul and Anabelle would be, as well.
I was severely wrong.
As I brought Phoebe in the back door, up our outside stairs, Mogul got pinned against an outside door and immediately attacked Phoebe. Mogul, weighing in at 26 lbs on a large day, lost.
I feel so guilty even as I write this. I should have known better. I should have let them all get introduced outside. It had been at least 3 years since I had introduced Ana or Mogul to another ‘live in’ dog. Mogul spent the rest of the evening getting expensively stitched and stapled up at a local Vet Emergency Clinic. I spent the evening crying and on the phone with the Dane foster care individuals. They talked with me utilizing their empathy, as all of them had experienced similar situations. I wish I had been reminded.
Then a week later, Ana and Phoebe got into a fight. They were playing around the pool, Phoebe played a bit too much, Anabelle went to put her into her place. Ana came out wounded. Ana weighs in at 30 lbs. less than Phoebe.
So. Fostering. It’s not for the feint of heart. I had friends who warned me. I was concerned. For the majority of the time, it has been good…currently Phoebe lays on the the rug by the outside door, Mogul sleeps on one of our 17 dog beds, and Ana is sleeping on her ‘throne’ (an oversided lounge chair in the hallway in our bedroom. All seems peaceful. Yet, I am reminded of Mogul’s staple in his leg, and Ana with wounds.
I think fostering should probably come with a class, or a brochure. It’s difficult to introduce a dog into a pack that is already situated. And, yet, slowly but surely it is working. Phoebe needs a lot of love, food and cleaning (her skin was badly damaged from the flea allergy). Anabelle and Mogul need reminding that they are still our dogs and our pack is still intact (I sat on the floor and read with them tonight on our dog beds.)
However, looking at them now, they are adjusting, four months later. Phoebe looks amazing, has all of her fur back, is hysterical with her largeness. She is a slobbery mess of fun and love, with a great sense of humor…always playful. She has become a part of the pack, in which Anabelle remains queen. 🙂
Have you ever considered fostering? What about a large breed dog, such as a Great Dane? What are your stories?