Being a foster mom to a puppy is a different experience than I am used to. Being a mom to a puppy who contracts the Parvo virus is not fun.
Today I was watching television, Animal Planet, of course, and the show had a family who brought their Yorkie in because she had been sick and vomiting with diarrhea. When asked about shots, the veterinarian was told she had one shot, but not the others and she was eight months old. The family were asking questions like, “Is this serious? Could she die?”
Yes and yes and I am still not convinced this family even deserved to have a dog.
Many people do not believe in vaccinations. For their animals or their children. Many people may mistakenly believe if they give their puppy one shot, it will protect them. If it doesn’t, and the puppy dies, oh well. You cannot change those minds. To them, dogs are a thing to own and not a living, breathing soul who has feelings and hurts when they are sick. What a horrible death Parvo would be. Can you imagine?
Distemper is another puppy/dog disease which is totally preventable but will kill a puppy very quickly.
My little foster survived Parvo but we caught it early. It has set her recovery back a little because she couldn’t eat. Then she was also diagnosed with a massive case of hookworms (also preventable) which also stopped her from eating.
Please, please, please, if you cannot afford to get your puppy shots or worm your animals, don’t go and get a dog just because you can. They need care just like a child does. Don’t wait until they contract some horrible disease and then expect us to feel sorry for you when you lose the dog. Trust me, we don’t. Educate yourself.
See this little cutie? His name is not important although I am calling him Andy. Andy was taken in at an animal control agency along with another puppy and a mama dog who was missing her puppies. All from the same household. I am fostering the two puppies at my house along with my dog, Elsa. The other pup, a little female Rotti mix, came down with parvo the first day home from no uppy shots and had to be hospitalized until today. She will rejoin us this evening.
I work as a teacher and drive 100 miles a day to go to my school. I leave early in the morning and do not get home until around five each afternoon. I am like many of those in animal welfare and work and care for those animals while they are awaiting their forever home. We take them all. The puppies, the injured, the teens, the middle aged and the seniors. If we have room or a foster home, they become a Satchel’s dog forever.
Imagine how someone like me feels when the first thing she sees when she logs on to the computer in the morning are 3 ads all in a row from people pleading to rehome their beloved dog because the dog deserves better. They are working more, have more responsibility, cannot care for them like they should be cared for and on and on.
The truth is, I refuse to share those ads. I refuse to buy in to the whole, feel sorry for me because I am trying to do what is best for the animal. Bull hockey. What would be best for the animal is to stay with the owner they know and love. What would be best for the animal is to be able to sleep in their bed next to their person like they have done for years. What would be best is you stop making excuses for why you are trying to rehome your pet.
A friend of mine helped out a homeless person several days ago. He had a dog and he knew exactly how much flea and heartworm preventative he still had on hand. That is a pet owner. He may not have a house, but he obviously loves his pet and will do what is best for him.
We are always asked not to judge when people post something like that. We are asked to try and understand what these folks are going through. We are asked to take the dog that they simply have no time for at this time.
Well, I am not as understanding as some of my friends are. I have been poor. I have worked 70 hours a week. I raised a son on my own. I still NEVER gave up one of my dogs. EVER. So you can keep on posting and sharing these kinds of things but I haven’t and I won’t. Once again, you made the commitment, you follow through. For every animal you rescue and then beg someone else to take, you take a spot away from one of my dogs, one of my babies who were truly rescued and need a forever home. Your forever home is temporary. Let’s call it an alternative home.
This is Onyx who was my last foster dog. Circumstances left her with no place to go and with her medical conditions, it looked like she had reached the end of her life. We thought at Satchel’s she might live for 6 more months and she was with me almost two years before it was her time.
This is Andy. I am now fostering two puppies for Satchel’s Last Resort and am finding it quite different. It has been years since I had a puppy because my heart belongs to the seniors but when our Executive Director called, I said sure. I mean, how tough can two puppies be?
Andy and Annie were rescued from an animal control agency in a county which has a very high number of puppies being bred and then dumped. Then when the agency becomes crowded, they ask rescues for help. (I changed their names from what the shelter is calling them because my names fit better but if you are interested in one, the shelter names are Birch and Clover.
So fortunately for Annie, we pulled them in time. She had contracted Parvo, a deadly virus which can be prevented with proper vaccinations. She was rushed to the vet and has been on IV fluids and is holding her own. We have been watching Andy, taking his temperature and checking his stool ever since Annie went to the vet. He is coming back clear which is a relief because ICU vet care is extremely expensive and we continue to do everything possible for the animals once they are in our care.
So life with Andy has begun. I say that in all seriousness because I also work a full time job and have my own dog. Luckily, I am on Spring Break for the next week and Andy should be trained by then.(fingers crossed)
The reason for this column is not to brag on how well this little guy is doing, or how valuable foster families are when dealing with shelters,but commitment and what that entails.
Do you have any idea what happens when someone who agrees to foster an animal calls the day after they are delivered to their new foster home and says it is too hard, to much, too demanding, too….. and now we have made a commitment to an animal and have no where for them to go?
What do these inept volunteers think happens when their life gets in the way? Do they think kennel space and workers just descend from heaven to help with the dogs or perhaps we have free boarding somewhere because, you know, we are so great and everyone loves us? Do you even know how much boarding costs? How much insurance, staff, food, water, electricity, gas and numerous other costs are and what happens when you renege on a commitment? What are you showing others? What do your children or grandchildren think?
We are constantly working on getting dogs and cats happy and healthy and ready for a new home. We normally don’t have time to take and listen to you whine about why you can’t foster so cannot fulfill your obligation.
Am I having a blast with Andy? Yep! Is he a typical puppy who hates being in a crate at night and screams bloody murder for 2 hours before he finally gives up? Yep! Am I going to send him back? Nope, regardless of the looks I keep getting from Elsa asking me how long they are staying.
I keep telling her they are not staying for long and are going to find new homes soon.
But until that day,they can hang their hats here. I will struggle through the howling, the floor piddles and anything else they throw out. I do this because number one, I love the animals but the more powerful reason is commitment.
I made a commitment to the rescue and to the puppies. I plan to honor that commitment.