Adventures in Fostering

Day 4: Luna


Yesterday we talked a little bit about fosters being a soft spot to land. What does that really mean? Each dog will have had it’s own unique history and it’s own challenges before it is ready to be adopted. Our goal is to adopt a dog out only once, so we want to make sure that the dog is ready to go! But, what does that mean? For each dog it’s going to be different. Luna really just needs a spay and to be brought up to date on her vaccines and preventatives. While she is in foster, we’re also working on polishing up some of her obedience commands. She’s very good with a treat in hand, but less reliable without one.

For GLWR the foster family is the daily touchpoint for determining if the dog has made the progress it needs to be ready for adoption, then we need pictures and a biography. For some dogs this may take months if they have been neglected or abused in a previous situation. Not every foster family is ready to handle that. Some dogs may also take months to adopt out if they are seniors or have a medical need. Not every foster family is ready for that either, although I found having a senior foster to be a breeze compared to youngsters! My last foster was 12 years old and 30 pounds overweight, so we worked on her weight loss goal to get her ready for adoption. Ironically in the time she lost 22 pounds, I gained 3. Let’s not dwell on that though!

One thing that can be challenging as a foster is to negotiate what is acceptable behavior for a dog. Not every household wants a dog that barks or jumps for a greeting, not every household wants a dog on the furniture, or in the bed. There are commonly accepted obedience goals that are easier to shoot for like loose-leash walking, sitting on command, and having good recall. These are not only good for being a canine citizen, but for general safety of the owner and the dog.

Luna has been trained to give hugs. If you are a dog person and on the receiving end of one of one of her hugs it is adorable and very special! I can’t imagine that you would enjoy it if you were not a dog person, you were in dress clothes, or if you were a child or senior citizen. If Luna only hugged on command that wouldn’t be so bad, but she jackpots and tries the skills she’s been taught when she’s happy or when she wants attention. There have been some surprise hugs, and we’re working to discourage that and redirect into a sit.

We also often notice behavior changes over time. The foster may be less comfortable in the first week, and you may see new behavior in the second week. This especially might be the case if they haven’t been healthy or are learning to build confidence. They might also become more protective or territorial over time as they bond with their foster family. The first dog that I adopted from GLWR was in the process of proving he was capable of free-roaming when he had an EPIC counter-surfing episode. He had never shown interest in anything on counters, but one day I came home from an errand and he had eaten everything that was not nailed down. He was so sick that he hasn’t repeated it since!

I think is the long way of saying it’s good to be flexible and have a sense of humor as a foster. You never know what’s next, and even once you think you’ve seen it all, that’s when you’ll be surprised.

If you have a great sense of humor, we have dogs that are just big hams looking for someone to make laugh! If you’re interested in fostering, please visit the website for more information.