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.

1 comment:

Loren said...

Don't feel bad about leaving the foster dogs in their crate when you leave. They will eventually stop crying! Also, if you begin to feel bad just think about what you are doing to improve their life. You are welcoming them into your home, adjusting a lot of your lifestyle to make sure they are comfortable and in the long run you are potentially introducing them to their new owner as more and more friends come over.
On another note, I know that you don't have time to crate train every foster dog you have, but if you can just put in a little bit of time a day, they will eventually appreciate their crate and only feel safe in that one place. When we were training Killian, this article really helped:

good luck!