I heard about two puppies, dropped off at a local vet's office when they were just four weeks old. I knew that was much too young for puppies to be away from their mother. They should have still been nursing, and needed their mom to learn proper dog behavior and discipline between the ages of four and eight weeks. But there they were, homeless and out of options. The vet's office found someone to keep them for a few weeks until the rescue group I volunteer with had room. Then when the President of our rescue had room, she took them in. Unfortunately, two of her other foster dogs decided that the puppies made excellent chew toys. That's where I come in. I have been unable to foster (except for the special exemption we got to keep Ziggy) due to subdivision restrictions on number of pets. But young puppies that can stay in a spare bedroom and never be seen or heard? I decided those are exempt too. Especially if I'm just dog-sitting them for a few days. So when I heard about the case of the Puppy Chew Toys, I jumped in to help.
Tucker - likes to make puppies scream!
Tucker is one of the foster dogs that was using the puppies as a chew toy. He wasn't trying to hurt them, and in fact didn't hurt them - but he did like to pin them down and listen to them scream. And if you thought Noelle was bad? You should hear these puppies cry! They had enough challenges facing them with being separated from their mom so early, so we thought they'd be better off at my house for awhile, assuming I could keep them away from the Zigster.
So a few weeks ago I brought home Scary Puppy and Good Puppy, and made it VERY clear to their real foster mom that I was only a temporary holding facility. I would regularly e-mail her with updates that started with the subject line: YOUR puppies... and make sure that anytime I referred to them, I didn't use their names, just the phrase YOUR puppies. I think she got the message. Unfortunately, I didn't. In spite of refusing to claim them as my foster dogs, I somehow went and fell in love with these two puppies. We quickly fell into a routine. They stay in the ex-pen in the extra bedroom while I'm at work, and then at night, after everything else is done, I block off the kitchen from the other dogs and they get to run around and have play time, followed by cuddle time on my lap. They're now nine weeks old and ready for adoption, and in spite of all my statements to the contrary, I want to claim these puppies as my fosters. Basically this just means that I'll be responsible for any follow-up with their adoptive homes, and if they ever have to be returned to rescue, I'll take them back and foster them again until they can be adopted. There are a couple of reasons I didn't want to claim these as my own fosters. The first was my worry that due to being taken away from their mom so early, they may have some behavioral issues as they grow. I'm happy to say that so far I haven't seen any signs of that. The second worry is that trying to adopt out a big black dog that looks like a pit bull is not at all easy, and if these pups are ever returned, I could have them for quite awhile. If they have developed behavioral issues in the meantime due to a lack of training or socialization, that would be a real challenge. So I was trying to be selfish and cautious and avoid future responsibility for these puppies that I had never originally planned to rescue. But they went and stole my heart, and now if they do ever have to be returned, I want to take them back to make sure that they are safe and well cared for and loved. I know that their first foster mom would take excellent care of them, and if I'm full with fosters at the time I get any return, she's always the first person I call. But in spite of my best efforts, I now feel responsible for these two little girls. No, more than that, I feel so much love for these two that I WANT them at my house - now and in the future - at least until the right adoptive home can be found. So I'm hoping that their original foster mom will let me claim these two as my own fosters, even after all the e-mails I sent her reminding her that they were actually her fosters. If they're not adopted quickly they may have to go back to her house for awhile since they're getting big enough to start being housetrained. But no matter where they go - another foster home, or an adoptive home - in my heart they are now and will always be MY puppies.