Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pee, Poo, Snot & You!

Dogs.

Cute, adorable, stinky, messy dogs. They don't care, they don't know why you do, and they certainly don't mind sharing all their nastiness with you. From peeing on your couch, to pooping in your shoes, and you can be sure that when you go to give them a loving kiss on their forehead, they will slobber and snot all over you.

So considering how absolutely gross and innapropriate these disgustingly adorable creatures can be, why do we keep them? Better yet, why the heck are people putting themselves through all this with dozens of different dogs by fostering? It's actually pretty simple: look at that cute wittle face!

For those that didn't know, fostering involves taking a rescued dog into your home and providing him with all the love and care you would give your own, while the rescue group you are signed up with provides all the vetwork and handles the adoption process. You'll see quite a lot of it by doing a simple Google search and you'll see just how rewarding it can be! SO many success stories and the feel good factor. And I'll tell you something, it does feel bloody fantastic.

But it's also hard work.

And sometimes you'll have a day like I did the other day, when I woke up to explosive poo, got weed on by a newly rescued boy who then proceeded to snot in my face, and to top it all off my own dog slammed the door into my face. As I spent the next six hours in the shower scrubbing the shame away, I got to thinking why the dogs in the world had chosen that day to slap me in the face (in one instance, literally). That's when I realised that, actually, this was almost an everyday occurrence - it just seemed to all happen in a series of uncivilised events that hit me like a ton of vile, smelly bricks. Of poo!

That day was pretty hectic - there was a total of eight dogs in the house. Two were due to be going out on their adoption trials and one was coming in from the pound. So the few hours of crossover was a little like organised chaos. And by "organised chaos" I mean "ridiculously chaotic chaos!" So everything was going on at the same time and the routine was all over the place. For the first time in a long time, I was left wondering why it was I keep fostering dogs when, some days, it can be physically and mentally exhausting.

It really doesn't take long to figure out the answer.

All it took was cuddles from Badger, some training with Emo, a walk with Kiwi, and watching Kyoto fall all over herself like puppies do. Honestly, all it takes is a smile from one of the dogs to put things in perspective. Because being a foster carer isn't about anything other than giving a dog another chance at a good life. One of the best moments is when they find that forever home to call their own. Saying that, it's also one of the saddest, because unless you're Sue Sylvester from Glee, you grow attached.

This brings me to the next part of fostering - it's all about sacrifice. If you're a clean freak where the slightest thing out of place sends you up the wall, you might as well put down the rubber gloves now, cos you will drive yourself insane. If you don't like too much noise, get yourself some earplugs. Don't want to be covered in pee, poo, snot, and then some? Get yourself a bubble to live in. Your social life might go down the drain and your daily conversations will be more about how little Biggles yawned and it was THE CUTEST THING EVER! (Which probably explains the social life heading south).

You've probably noticed this is chopping and changing from pros and cons and back again. This is because, no matter what, dog cuddles solve every problem in the world. The only advice I could ever give about fostering is, know your limits. And stick to them. It's so easy to get swept up into the rescue world and begin to think you can save them all - but you can't. You're not Superman. And if you are, then we seriously need to talk about your 'briefs over pants' decision.

If you're lucky like me, you'll have a brilliant support network, friends and colleagues who are always there to give you a helping hand - whether it's with the dogs or just in ordinary life. Every foster carer/rescuer needs that support, otherwise it can quickly turn into a very lonely and frustrating experience. But above all else you need to be in it for the dogs. Not pressured into taking one, not because you think it could be cool, but because you want to change a life for one dog. If you've ever been told that "fostering is free," it absolutely is not. Fostering is sacrifice. But for those willing to give up the trivial things, you could really come out of it with so much more.

Now here's a plug: Fetching Dogs is looking for dedicated foster carers. If you think you have what it takes to give a dog a second shot at a good life, mosey on over to our Foster Carer Application Form.

This may not have been the greatest pitch for any potential foster carers waiting in the wings - but it was honest. So now I'm off to cuddle all the dogs... in my Hazmat suit.

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