For the past few weeks we’ve been a family of 5. Chris and I volunteer for the Cinnamon Trust – a network of volunteers who keep together housebound owners and their best chums by helping them out. It only takes an hour or so a week and we walk their dogs. Seems right really to give back to the souls who give us so much. A few Sundays ago, we were contacted by the Trust to see if we could do an emergency foster for a dog whose Mum had to be taken into Hospital. We weren’t going to leave that dog alone, so Chris went to collect her.
She was a 13 year old Shih Tzu with poor eyesight – quite confused and anxious as to what was happening. She had clearly been the best companion to her Mum probably sitting on her lap 24/7. Here she was in a new house, with two dogs and lots of new space
She also has chronic rear limb arthritis and was quite wobbly – she had come to the right house then. But like many of you fosterers out there, we had no idea what her medical history was, medication she was on or what her exercise routine was. We had to figure it all out initially (we now know she is on monthly Cartrophen injections). Plus, what do you feed a Shih Tzu? How much do they eat? How often do they go to the loo? All the things that we know intuitively with our Sam & Sarah.
Fortunately, Stanley’s Mum makes collars and coats (Stanley is also a 13 year old Shih Tzu who I’ve been visiting for the past 2 years) and a quick call and visit resulted in me being given special Shih Tzu food, some harnesses and a coat. Thank you Viv.
Over the next few weeks a shaking timid anxious dog turned into a confident strutting tail wagging girl. She even learned our existing routines – such as food time, walk time, pee time and quite a lot of our Sarah’s attitude! And as for our Sam, one morning our new little addition was annoyed by a dog while out. Our Sam placed himself between her and the offender to protect her – that’s our boy. We now had three dogs in a line at the front door when anyone came to visit, three dogs in a line when the food bowls went down, three dogs at the back door waiting to go into the garden for an explore and the loo and three dogs who needed lifting in and out of the car.
It wasn’t easy, but it was an enjoyable challenge. And yes, we are quite (very) fond of her. And I have total admiration for all you fosterers who do this all the time. If any of you local fosterers ever need any help with some physical therapy for your foster dogs, get in touch with us. There will be no charge.