Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What have I gotten myself into?

Meet Jake. Jake is my second foster dog. I've had him since Sunday afternoon. He's a bit scary looking, and aside from Pocainio (the guy in a previous post, who sadly passed away recently), he's got the largest head of any dog I've ever seen. But he's a sweetie. Kinda whiny, but sweet.But here's my dilemma. I don't know if I want to keep fostering. Here's why:

I love dogs. I think that's pretty obvious. I agreed to take in foster dogs because how can I resist?? But, the foster dogs I've had (all 2 of them) are, not surprisingly, starved for attention. Any time I try to give Wrigley some love, they nudge their way in and hijack belly rubs. They kick Wrigley off the bed and sleep nuzzled up next to me. That used to be Wrigley's job. Don't get me wrong, Wrigs isn't getting totally screwed. He gets wrestling buddies and has company while I'm at work. But I'm wondering if it's really worth it. I have a special place in my heart for Wrigley and am having a hard time dividing my attention between one spoiled dog and one incredibly needy dog.

Also, two dogs is a LOT more work than one dog. I used to think that two dogs would be like having another half of a dog - sure you've got to feed it and walk it, but you're already doing that anyway! Wrong! It's more like having 2 and a half dogs. Walking two dogs is an exercise in chaos management. My neighbors have literally been outside laughing at me as I've walked Jake and Wrigley. It's comical...to them.

Then you can add in the stress that comes with having a dog you don't know staying at your house. Hunter, the first foster dog, was very skittish. I couldn't have other people or dogs over without going through a big introduction. And there's also the destruction factor - if I leave it for 5 minutes, will it eat my shoes? While I'm at work will it destroy my house? I've had to put Jake in a crate because he's part kangaroo and clears the baby gate (downstairs is "doggie-proofed") with no effort. As soon as he's in there he starts barking and crying. But I can't let him loose...what if he eats my couch? My walls? My carpet? My furniture?

And most importantly, the addition of a foster dog seems to have an effect I hadn't considered. Taking in a foster dog doesn't just affect me, it also affects others in my life. Some people aren't dog people. Or they have dogs that freak my foster dog out. Or they have kids and I have no idea how a foster will act around kids.

So, I'm having an internal battle. I love helping dogs find their "forever homes," but it may just be too much for me and Wrigley. I feel guilty and selfish, but after this week, I think it's time to find another way to help out.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Foster Mom

I went to Petco last week to buy Wrigley some goodies. When I got there I saw my friend Jenn's car in the parking lot. I thought, "Cool, Jenn's here. Bet she's buying something for her cats." I still hadn't clued in to the fact that she was there at the dog and puppy adoption clinic. So I walk in, go find Jenn (and our other friend, Jen - it's very confusing - there are so many Jen/Jenn's up here!) and the two of them try to make me get a puppy. They're evil, those two. I was somehow strong enough to resist the puppies, but I got suckered in by an "older" dog, Hunter. Really, he's just a large puppy. I took him out of his crate, walked him outside, started thinking, "Hmmm, I've thought about a second dog before..." But I still wasn't ready for the commitment. For crying out loud, I'd only gone to the store to get some nail cutting tool for Wrigs, not a new brother! The lady running the clinic is even more evil than the two Jen/Jenn's. She says, "You know, you don't have to keep him. He just needs a foster home." Then she goes on to tell me that the non-profit adoption clinic has rented office space to store dogs because they don't have enough foster homes. She had me at "office space." I'm a sucker, and I volunteered to take Hunter as my foster dog. How could I resist that face??

Wrigley couldn't have been happier with the addition of a 24/7 wrestling buddy to the house. I got them to stop wrestling long enough to snap this picture, but then they were back at it.
Hunter went up to the Eagle River adoption clinic this week where he was adopted twice. The first time he was returned quickly (he didn't warm up to the husband), and he was adopted right before closing by another couple. I wish him luck - I hope he finds his forever home! (Wrigley is still sleeping from a week of wrestling!)

Some of you have asked if I'd become too attached to a foster dog to give it up. I was scared that would happen to me. Luckily, I'm genuinely happy that Hunter may have found his home (he's on a 10 day trial - he could be back here before you know it, making this adoption thing kind of anti-climatic). I just want him to have a good life (he'd had a rough one prior to now). But, I am human, and when a lady stopped by to pick him up to take him to the adoption clinic, I shed a tear when I realized that that could be the last time I ever see that guy. He's a sweetie.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy 2009!! My fingers have thawed out just enough to type this post - it's been COLD here lately. It was -18 when I left my house this morning, and now it's warmed up to a balmy -16. I can't wait until we get to the positive digits again - it'll feel tropical!!

Here's a quick recap of the rest of my 2008:
I went up to Fairbanks with Mike for Thanksgiving, and it was a blast. I met many of Mike's friends, and there are some characters up there! Fairbanks folks live a little differently than the rest of the world. Running water is a luxury, everyone owns at least 2 dogs, and people think -10 degrees is warm. Freaks. Except for the dog part - that's pretty cool. We pulled up to a house for one of many parties, and 18 dogs greeted my car. Wrigley was in heaven. We took a few outings on skis, a trip to Chena, and I got to mush (think Iditarod) at my friend Tom's house. I've graduated from riding in the sled (two years ago) to riding a tandem sled (last year) to driving my own 4 dog team! I only fell once, though it was in the first 10 feet of my "driving" - I didn't realize how fast those dogs would take off. Like bats out of hell, I tell ya. I managed to hold on for dear life the rest of the way. We went over to a friend's of Mike's for Thanksgiving, and holy cow, that was great. We got to feed sheep and hang out with two of the world's largest dogs. Check out the noggin that on that guy! It's pretty unbelievable.

I flew back to Illinois for Christmas and spent about a week in Springfield and Chicago. Much of my time in Springfield was spent catching up with folks I haven' t seen in way too long, and also tagging along to my sister's wedding planning appointments. If I ever get married, I'm either eloping, or Loren is planning my wedding. I can't believe the number of decisions that have to be made! By the way, the weather back in Illinois was much worse than in Anchorage - it rained and froze, and ice was everywhere. Thank goodness I had my handy ice grippers along! Oh, and I scored a food dehydrator for Christmas...first up, beef jerky!!

Right before the new year I got to go flying again with my buddy. He's about to sell his plane (sniffle, sniffle), so it was great to get out and enjoy it again. We flew up on a bluebird day and headed towards Denali. Fan-fricking-tastic!!
I've been getting out and skiing a fair bit, though most of it has been on classic or skate skis. I've not spent nearly enough time on tele skis, which is heart breaking. Actually, I've only tele skied TWO times this winter. That's pathetic! What to do?? How about make a New Year's resolution to tele ski MUCH more?! Done!