The kids have always wanted a dog, what child doesn’t, but because we travel, a pet just isn’t a possibility right now. However, the idea that we could foster was a revelation, and I immediately called a local rescue on the Vineyard to see if there was any need for foster families. There was! After a very impatient week, we took in a mama and her 2 insane puppies. Mama was brought to the Cape from a high kill shelter in Arkansas, and was absolutely terrified. Her puppies were typical licky, jumpy, pee on the floor, crazy. We had a pen for the puppies, and Mama had a bed nearby so she could get some peace. It was tragic to see Mama with her tail tucked and her head held low all the time, but after a few days, she did start to relax a teeny bit.
Walking the 3 of them was like some kind of nightmare I can’t even describe. I had Mama’s lead and the girls each had a puppy. Within seconds of walking out the front door, the puppies had crossed paths, gone behind the kids, between myself and Mama and thoroughly tied everyone in a knot. Oblivious to their predicament, they continued to try and make a run for the driveway. This continued for the entire walk down to the beach (approx. 15 minutes away) and back. The girls tried their best to swoop and dive over and under each others lead as the puppies ran back and forth. We managed to get there and back without any major injury and I concluded that, in future, the puppies would be walked separately. This was also a plus for Mama as she could go alone with the girls and walk without tripping over leads, and pee without one baby jumping on her face and the other trying to sniff her bum. I honestly felt her pain as a mother on that first walk.
The babies have a bit of Jack Russell in them, so besides being energetic because they’re puppies, they are super charged. My brother came over and fenced in a portion of the backyard so they could run, which was a lifesaver! (I had expected the puppies to be only a few weeks old and do a lot of sleeping) Thankfully, I didn’t have to get up in the night to take them out, they were paper trained, but when they figured out how to escape the pen, and did their business all over my new rug, then walked through it, climbed/jumped (?) over the baby gate and came upstairs, the fun was over.
Puppies went outside while I cleaned. Mama, who had always been too afraid to climb the stairs, had followed her babies up, and was now stuck. Sparrow and Sky took turns sitting with her on the landing for 3 hours until my brother could come over and carry her down.
I had messaged the shelter on the Vineyard at 6:10am, while scrubbing my carpet, to let them know, it just wasn’t going to work out anymore. Once the puppies figured out how to jail break their pen AND the baby gate, it was too out of control for this OCD mama to handle. So as sad as it was to watch them go after only 7 days, we brought them down to the ferry the next day, and they went to another foster family. I still miss Mama a lot, but I know she’ll be happier with a true dog person. I really lean more in the cat direction..
It was a great experience for us though, and I really think that anyone on the fence about adopting a pet, should foster first, that way there are no regrets!