Adventures in Fostering
Day 2: Luna
Day 2 started off with us trying to mimic our regular weekday morning schedule so that we’d all be ready for Monday: got up at regular time, went for a very long walk with some human friends, then had off-leash play time in the neighbor’s field, had quiet play time back at the house for awhile, had breakfast, then into the crate for an hour to practice what will happen Monday morning.
Luna came into rescue because she was too high energy for the owner’s lifestyle, but she is settling in well with us. It helps to have two other high energy foster-brothers who will run and wrestle with you all day. So far, she loves playing with the dogs! I think we’ll be looking for a home for her with another dog or where she can socialize a lot with other dogs! I have also tried to walk and run more each day, but early on it became apparent that she could walk/run me and the other dogs into the ground, so we’ve quickly moved onto other methods of mental stimulation to tire her out.
Meals: Most Weims eat their meal like it’s a race and there are rabid wolves closing in on them. Luna is no exception to this. A common solution is a puzzle bowl, but I sent my foster bowl
with the foster dog, so I’ve been improvising! Luna which seems to enjoy the variation. So far, she has learned all about the Kong Wobbler, and we’ve done two DIY versions of a slow feeder. One option had the food wrapped in the folds of a towel so she’s using her nose to uncover morsels and another which is essentially a big Tupperware full of the cardboard inserts from toilet paper rolls she has to root around them to get to her kibble. All of these slow her down, force her to use her nose or her body, and allow her to play a little bit more.
Training: Training is wonderful for interacting with a dog, bonding, and imparting some skills. We have been doing short training sessions whenever possible throughout the day to polish Luna’s skills. She is well-behaved, but someone did teach her how to hug (which is really adorable, but not appropriate for a larger dog to do on her own…) so we’re working on polishing up the basics this week with a lot of treats and positive reinforcement.
Adventure: Luna is great in the car and wonderful with new people, so although I would not do this with most fosters on day 2, she ran errands with me and we went to all the pet-friendly places that we could. She was a huge hit at the hardware store and the pet supplies store. Smelling all the smells and interacting with strangers is great for a young dog who is perfecting her manners. The hardware store had a life-size plastic dog that she spent a very long time investigating.
Enrichment: Luna is goofy and is attention starved, so giving her a lot of love and a lot of games has been a high priority. I have a lot of DIY enrichment ideas from the Facebook group Canine Enrichment which helps us pass the long Michigan winters, and we’ve been through several of them with Luna. She seems to prefer things that involve her chewing on things, so we went to the Pet Supply Store to get some options to help us get through the week!
Unfortunately, I had signed up for a class Monday night before knowing about Luna’s arrival, so I had to do some studying in preparation for the class. We got enough exercise and activity in early that Luna was able to get up on the couch and help me study. Picture below. She is a goof!
Also, my housemate agreed to take some photos of Luna so we had a photo shoot to compensate for my poor photographic skills on my cell phone. It is amazing how much of a difference a good picture makes in people considering adopting a dog. Luna is the GLWR cover picture right now and that picture is shared below to compare to the candids of her so you can see both sides of her personality!
It’s invaluable to have the agreement of everyone in your house when you are fostering because it is an all-hands on deck situation. It’s also very helpful to have the support of friends and neighbors. I have friends that let my dogs run at their house, walk with us, help with training as needed, and help socialize the fosters and work on greeting people. And a wonderful housemate who takes really good pictures of dogs! It takes a village!
We never have as many foster families as we have dogs that need to be in foster, so if you’re interested in fostering, please visit the website for more information or contact our Foster Coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org