Friday, July 16, 2010

Dog is Love

So you may have seen me mention fostering a dog. I've been doing some volunteer work whenever I can for a local no-kill shelter. Last Friday a call went out needing a short-term foster home for an older dog trying to recover from a case of Kennel Cough (imagine the WORST cold you've ever had with a runny nose and congestion and coughing and such and imagine you can't even blow your nose and you get some idea of Kennel Cough).

Since the dog was a Jack Russell terrier she didn't really get along with other dogs... or cats for that matter... meaning she had to go to a home without either. I felt sorry for the poor thing and volunteered my place.

So I've had this dog for a week. But the thing is that I underestimated my schedule -- which is crazy for the next several months (at least) and I wasn't aware that the poor dog, in addition to the Kennel Cough, was skin and bones and would need some fattening up.

I also discovered that she hated being crated and wouldn't eat while she was crated. If left alone and uncrated she STILL wouldn't eat without someone there AND she expressed her displeasure at being left alone by pooping in my floor. And trust me, she's capable of holding it she just didn't WANT to.

As a result, she had to be crated during the day but in an effort to fatten her up I was running home at noon on my lunch break and walking her a little bit and feeding her. The problem with this is that then I wasn't getting to eat MY lunch... which was taking a toll on me.

I was only scheduled to keep her for a week but I soon realized there was no way I could extend it any longer than that simply because my schedule wasn't being fair to her. She needed someone in a better situation than me to care for her -- she needed someone who would be home during the day to take care of her and make sure she ate as needed.

Also, she is a sweet dog, really, but she's not the dog I would choose for myself. I liked her but I never really bonded with her so in some ways I have no problems returning her to the shelter... BUT....

I do feel a little bad. I really DO wish I could take care of her better. She's still on the road to recovery from the Kennel Cough but she isn't fully over it yet and she's still thin despite me trying to get her to eat at every opportunity. I wish I could have kept her until she was fully well but I know that, in a way, she won't GET fully well until she's in a situation where she can eat more often.

But at least I HAVE learned something... I know what it's going to take for me to have a dog of my own. I know some of the pitfalls and I know that my current schedule just isn't fair to a poor animal who only wants to love and please.

So, farewell little Genie. I hope you find a good long-term foster home and then I hope you get adopted to someone who will love you and give you the attention you need.

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