Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fostering is a roller coaster

Or maybe it's more like bungee jumping... it yanks my emotions up and down, day after day.  Here was my day yesterday:

6:00 AM – Ziggy barks to let me know he needs to go outside. I get up, take him out, then tell him it’s too early to stay up and put him back in his crate. I deliberately don’t notice the torn up cardboard mess scattered among the dog toys on the floor, and I go back to sleep.

I believe Noelle made the mess then framed the cats.  It was not a good start to the day. 

7:00 AM – Remi barks to get me out of bed. He uses his “I need to go out” bark, but when I try to let him out, he runs to the kitchen and stands by his food bowl. So I feed Remi, Noelle and Ziggy, then go get ready for work.

8:00 AM – I can no longer pretend to ignore the living room floor, so I let the dogs outside and clean up the living room in relative peace and quiet. Then the dogs come back in and Ziggy is crated while Remi and Noelle are lectured to behave while I’m at work.

11:00 AM – I receive an e-mail that one of my previous foster dogs is very ill and medical treatment is not helping. She may need to be euthanized. I am very sad and decide I hate fostering.

6:30 PM – I leave work and head straight to PetSmart to pick up another foster dog. Shadow is Emma’s sister. She is sweet and a little bit scared to be going to a new home with a new person. She pants loudly and drools all over the car on the way home.

7:00 PM - I get her home and leave her in the basement where my husband Dave is watching TV. Then I go upstairs to take care of the rest of the animals.

8:00 PM- Dave comes upstairs and asks why Noelle’s food bowl is sitting by the stairs, filled with food. I told him she didn’t want to eat. He said maybe that’s because he already fed all three dogs before I got home. I realize I’ve been duped by Remi and Ziggy who both pretended they had not yet been fed. Dave asks me to keep the dogs quiet since he’s going to sleep. He works a 3:00 AM shift. I say I will do my best.

8:05 PM – Shadow, who is in a crate in the basement, begins barking. Remi, Noelle and Ziggy begin wrestling LOUDLY. I cringe, then go downstairs to see what Shadow wants. She is lonely and wants me to stay with her. I give her a rawhide to chew on and go back upstairs. I then give Ziggy, Noelle and Remi rawhides to chew on in hopes that will keep them quiet. That works for awhile. I take care of some cat chores, and eat a quick dinner of potato chips.

9:15 PM – Everyone has finished their rawhides. Noelle goes sniffing around Ziggy’s area of the couch, and suddenly a fight breaks out. I should have known better – apparently there were some rawhide “crumbs” left behind when Ziggy finished his treat. I separate them, and notice that Noelle is not hurt but Ziggy has a small cut on his face. Its not deep, but it looks awful. I worry how it will look to potential adopters. I worry what people will think if I post it on my blog but decide to do it anyway, because fights happen with dogs and rawhides when foster moms are too busy eating potato chips to see the warning signs. Let this be a lesson to us all.

10:00 PM – Shadow begins barking again. We’ve been outside several times – we’ve been for a walk – she has water and a comfortable dog bed in her crate – I think she’s just lonely and scared in her new surroundings. Dave asks me to PLEASE make her be quiet. The barking goes on for almost an hour, and I want to cry. Finally she quiets down.

11:00 PM – I am ready to go to sleep, but Remi is on the bed which doesn’t leave much room. I lay on the edge of the mattress and try not to fall off. Noelle is also on the bed, but she decides this would be a great time to chase the four cats who have followed me into the bedroom. Chaos ensues. I capture three of the cats and send them out of the room. I close the bedroom doors and get back on my sliver of mattress.

11:10 PM – Scribbles the foster cat leaves her hiding spot in the bedroom and Noelle spots her. More chaos. I somehow get Scribbles out of the bedroom without letting any other cats back in, and without any serious injuries. I go back to bed.

11:25 PM - My cat Merlin who knows how to open the door comes back into the bedroom, followed by two other cats. Rudy the foster cat jumps up on the bed with me, which is fine until he climbs over me and starts climbing on Dave. Dave does not like cats. He really does not like being woken up for the eightieth time that night by a cat climbing on him. I get out of bed again and put all the cats except Merlin out of the bedroom. I finally fall asleep.

1:00 AM – A dog begins barking. Dave wakes me up and asks me to do something about it. I get up to see if it is Shadow needing to go out, and find out it is actually Ziggy needing to go out. I sigh. Then I let him outside. Then I let him back in and put him back in his crate. I go back to bed and find out my sliver of mattress has disappeared. I cry.

The End
Okay so yesterday was mostly filled with the “down” emotions. But this morning I got a call from someone wanting to adopt Shadow. I’m meeting them tonight after work. I have high hopes that today will be filled with all “up” emotions. 


Kari in WeHo said...

yup. I agree I could never do it

Anonymous said...

Days like that make you want to send all the four legged children into the traffic to play a good game of hide and seek!But when it all flows smoothly and you know you are responsible for their well being and they are thriving..the balance is returned.

Anonymous said...

My Friend,

What you are doing is one of the most fantastic and lovely things you could do for those left behind and abandoned in this world. It takes a special kind of person to invite scared, timid, and sometimes destructive and disobedient kitties and pups into your home to shower them with love and affection while teaching them a few things (the way all pets should be treated).

And it takes an even more special person to know when and how to say goodbye - rejoicing because your foster, whom you have invested so much in, has found their forever home!

Keep it up!! Look to the small wonderful things - they are the richest of blessings!!

Schwang said...

Thanks for sharing. I knew fostering was hard, but I really didn't know all the difficulties and details. We are so thankful to people like you who do make these sacrifices for the lives of these animals. Both of our dogs were in foster homes, and with limited space available they would have been euthanized if it weren't for people like you.

kissa-bull said...

we are totally relating to that wight now
you are so kind and patient and a animal angel for sure
our house is pretty crowded right about now and we have to do a lot of shuffling cause our coco chanel is a meanie grumpy queen and we dont trust her with the wee ones so everything is chaos in our house too
but woggies are safe and fed and warm and we woggies appreciate that so vewy much
the houston pittie pack

Frankie Furter said...

I'm thinking that your life is all nice and full of... memories. Well, and a big healthy dose of LOVE too!!! You are really GRRRREAT!!

~Kim~ said...

In the 10+ years that I fostered (I just retired) I've had many days like the one you had, and I know the feelings of discouragement that can be felt on days like the one you had. But for me, the good days far out weighed days that didn't go so great. My advice to you, is to remember what a wonderful thing you are doing by fostering! You are opening up your heart and home and helping a dog find their way to a forever home--What a kind, wonderful and unselfish gift you are giving them!! I know it's not easy to remember on days like you had, but try too...

I'm also sorry about your former foster dog...I know that's hard too--I've had that happen. But know that the last part of their life, will be the best part because they have been with someone who really loves them. Another wonderful gift that you gave!

**By the way, the very first dog I placed had an issue with rawhide--He was pretty "reactive" around it--I told them, and told them, and I put it in the contract and told them again that he couldn't handle it. So, what do you think the first thing was that they gave him when they got him home...Yes, rawhide...sigh...

Bobby said...

Wow I am worn out reading it, what a day ,I hope all goes well for Shadow.

Anonymous said...

If I could give you a cookie, I would! But since I can't - when you gets sad, just run right over to my bloggy and take a look at the Most Adorable Faces of me and my Brudder Ranger. It's cuz of amazingly awesome peoples like you that we got a second chance to be happy. Not everybody can do what you do. You must be made out of very special materials.

Wiggles and wags,

BerniceK said...

Hang in there Laurie. As I have told you many times, you are an angel in disguise. All of your days are not going to be like this and all I can say is all your animals love you. Maybe you need some time off from animals for a while. Take a deep breath and tomorrow will be a better day. I promise. You are healthy, happy, and you have a job. A lot more than what I can say.

havetailwillwag said...

ugh what a long day.. maybe a day off will help you feel better? can someone help babysit all your pets and fosters for a day so you can have some 'me' time? and then maybe try to do that once a month or so.. don't want you to burn out. sometimes i feel like i hate fostering too and wonder why i keep torturing myself.. but then something great will happen to make me smile and i'll feel better again! you're doing great and its normal to be overwhelmed sometimes. hang in there!!!

Tucker said...

That is exhuasting. I got tired just reading all the things you do. I think it's funny Remi tricked you into Dinner #2.

woof - Tucker

Mango said...

That was a wonderful post despite the fact that it sounded like an awful day. How ever do you do it? So many four leggers all wanting something from you. I don't envy you, but am glad there are people like you out there. The potato chip dinner was the worst. Hopefully there is a good cafeteria at work for you to at least get one meal in peace.

I hope Ziggy's boo boo doesn't hurt his adoption. He looks so cute even with a boo boo. Good news about Shadow, right?

Mango Momma

JulieB said...

Hang in there sister, I'm sending a big hug your way! You know what, as hard as it gets sometimes, I would never trade it for the world. My animals, owned and fostered alike, give me so much love and joy every day, even on the days when they are about to drive me crazy. When they look at me with those big green eyes like I'm the only person in the world, I know that what I'm doing for them goes way beyond the extra litter boxes I have to scoop or the hairballs I have to clean up or the bickering I have to break up. Just remember, you are doing a wonderful thing and without you, they wouldn't have a chance. And if all else fails, remind yourself that pets are still cheaper and less work than kids. :)

PS: I'm very sorry about your former foster dog, I hope that everything turns out okay. The one consoling fact is that at least he/she had the opportunity to be surrounded with love during this time. Still sucks though, no doubt about it.

meowmeowmans said...

Whew! I'm exhausted just reading about your day. Bless you for the great work you are doing.

hero said...

That is what memories are made of... and you will have lots of stories to tell many years down the road. It takes a special kind of person, a person like you, to show those love for the animals.


Amanda said...

Oh blessed be Laurie!!! Hang in there! February has been THE month from Hell for me in terms of rescue, maybe that explains my lack of posts. =(

Yes, lots of stories. You're doing amazing things. Here is the lesson I am beginning to learn though...do NOT be afraid to take a break to breathe. I don't mean a literal short break to breathe, you know what I mean right? I know all the reasons not to take a break, I know it might mean the loss of a dog or cat in need and I am not saying their life isn't worth it. But if your flame goes all the way out because you can't breathe...well, there's lots more who wouldn't make it then, right?! (((hugs))) Feel free to email me if you ever need to vent craziness. ;) I know crazy well. HA!

laura said...

Thanks for the 'real' unblemished truth! I had some days like that with my 'real' kids and they weren't fun. But thank God for people like you who can give these animals a new chance at life!

dewdana said...

You are an angel!I fosetered a (i.e. ONE) dog once and it was a lot to handle so I can only imagine the ups and downs you face and yet continue. Amazing!
Thanks for stopping by my blog, and yeah, smart to train the dane to drink from Hubby's sink ;-)