We have successfully survived out first weekend as foster parents. It had its highs and lows and ups and downs but at the end of the weekend Boogie has found an amazing home…and it’s not us J I know we had many doubters who thought Boogie would end up the next member of the English family. But instead Boogie will be leaving us on Thursday to move to Georgetown and start his new life with his amazing forever family.
Fostering has been a very educational experience. Boogie was a dog like no other. We have been parents to a black lab golden retriever and a golden retriever that we got as itty bitty puppies. Both had lived pretty charmed lives before coming to our home and came without any trauma or emotional baggage. Boogie was a completely different story. We have no idea what his life was before he got to us but we can tell it wasn’t good. He was nervous and timid and afraid of everything except Paterno. His second day with us involved a trip to the vet to find out what was going on with his ears and to check out a scratch on his leg. They found a bacterial infection and he was immediately put on antibiotics. The trip to the vet pretty much terrorized him and he retreated to his crate for the remainder of the day. Friday he spent the day with Brandon and was showered with love and more importantly…treats! We found that Boogie is pretty food motivated and was starting to take food out of our hands. He still didn’t allow us to pet him but he was accepting bribes which was a good sign. Saturday was another terrorizing event when the first family that was considering adopting him came to visit. He hated that experience more than he hated Brandon and I. He wouldn’t come out of his cage to meet them and when we finally pulled him out of his safe spot he just stood on his leash shivering with nervousness. The family didn’t really seem interested in the intense time commitment it would take to get Boogie to the point of being a “real” dog and headed out pretty quickly letting us know they would call us if they were interested…they never called back (and we were okay with that). The rest of Saturday he retreated back to his crate once again only coming out to eat and go outside. On Sunday Boogies luck changed. A second family came to meet Boogie and they immediately fell in love with him (he is pretty cute and lovable despite is current personality). Boogie was his usual illusive self but even with that they loved him and could see him as part of their family. For the first time I knew Boogie was going to be okay and had found his forever home. After meeting his new family Boogie was ready for some more alone time and once again retreated to his crate. For the rest of the weekend we have been working with Boogie trying to get him more comfortable with his surrounding and people in hopes of a smoother transition to his forever home. He has been making baby steps but often heads to his crate for sanctuary. We are excited when Boogie chooses to be the same room as us for a couple of seconds or lets us touch him…like I said, baby steps.
The taking care of Boogie has been the easy part. We know how to keep a dog healthy and safe so we just brought Boogie in to his family and treated him like our dog. The difficult parts have been the emotional parts of fostering that we never consider. Wondering if Boogie would get a family, meeting a family who was a horrible fit for him and wondering if the potential adopters would all be like that, thinking Boogie might live with us forever even though he wasn’t exactly the dog we wanted, and finally the relief of finding the perfect family for him. Fostering can turn in to quite the emotional rollercoaster. The first day or so I was so upset and even a little depressed that Boogie didn’t want anything to do with me and feeling so bad for the life he lived before making his way to Colorado. But, I realized that I can’t focus on that I can only meet him where he is, be there for him, and not to take anything personal. I was doing the best I could do.
We know that dogs like Boogie need a good family but he just wasn’t the best fit for our family. Paterno wasn’t that excited about having a puppy who would only pay attention to him (Paterno enjoys snuggling and cuddling and had gotten used to being the center of attention) and we want a dog who will cuddle and let us touch them. Also, I am pretty sure we want a female dog because we need to even up the boys vs. girls team around here! Like I said fostering has been a very educational experience. We were happy to share our home with Boogie but I think there is a part of us that is excited for him to go to his forever home on Thursday. I am excited to be able to clean the house and doing laundry without scaring the bejesus out of Boogie and Paterno is looking forward to snoozing on the living room floor without being pounced on by a puppy!