November 17, 2000
How would you like to have an extra doggy around for Thanksgiving? His name is Bingo. He's kinda spaniel-y. They have bassett/lab on the website. He's a year old, neutered, housetrained, not too big, good w/children, and very loveable. He was originally adopted from the shelter but his people are "moving." She was reading me some of the stuff they wrote on the turn-in sheet. Did he have any behavior problems and what did you do? Answer: Yes, yelled at him. Did you ask us for help with behavior problems? Answer: No.
She said i could think about it and let her know on Monday, but i said i might as well commit to it now cos it would be easier to pick him up tomorrow. I told her to make sure he has his rabies shot and his microchip, and i mentioned that we have tried to pick up dogs before and they weren't ready for us. So hopefully they'll take care of it before tomorrow. I'll call the kennels before we go tomorrow just to make sure.
I didn't consult Warren but i think he'll be okay with it.
(later...) Some people are looking at the dog right now. If they don't adopt him, somebody is doing an adopt-a thon at a Giant Eagle this weekend and they are going to take him along for that. So, no new dog this weekend.
(still later...) Those people didn't adopt him, and somehow he got crossed off the list for Giant Eagle. So... i guess we're getting him tomorrow. Maybe. Unless she calls again.
November 18, 2000
We took all three dogs to the park. We could just tell that he wouldn't run away, so we let him off leash. He was fine. He doesn't actually come when called but i think he just doesn't know his name. There was only one other dog at the park when we got there but eventually lots of people and dogs came. They were all dark colored, medium sized dogs, so it was really hard to keep track of where ours were, especially since we had to watch three this time. They were all very good. Bingo started walking off with other people a couple times but he did very well for a dog that had only known us for a couple hours!
There were some clueless people there who thought it was a good idea to take the leash off their dog outside the gate, and then open the gate and try to get the dog to go through while they stood outside. Of course several other people's dogs escaped through the open gate, but they all came back. Brin went around the end of the fence but he came back in when somebody opened the gate for him. I wasn't too worried. I figured he'd come back eventually. He seems to understand now. Plus, i had turkey and rice baby food.
Eventually our faces were frozen so we left. I bathed three dogs. They were all very good. Bingo couldn't jump in the tub so i had to lift him. Wow! He weighs 55 pounds. I think he'll be going on a diet. Anyway, now he is shiny and smells nice. He is snoozing on the floor behind me. He seems like a very well-adjusted dog.
November 19, 2000
"congratulations on getting all three dogs to sit and look at the camera for that last picture. maybe you should be a pet photographer."
Yeah, but did you see the look on Brin's face? He hates foster dogs. Poor little neglected Brin.
November 20, 2000
November 21, 2000
"bingo sounds like a good dog."
He is. He's no trouble at all. He settled into the routine right away. Just now when i got home, i let everybody outside and looked around and realized that all three were pooping at the same time. Talk about "regular!" They are on a schedule.
Right now he's snarfling on the futon. He's the easiest foster yet. He still thinks he's allowed on the bed, and he jumps all over me when i get home. Other than that, it's like he's not even here. But somehow i suspect we'll have him for a long time. He's the sort of dog that people wouldn't appreciate from just looking at his picture. It's his temperament that makes him stand out. Physically, he's sort of nondescript. When we were at the park, i had trouble telling which one he was. Good thing he has that bright red collar.
November 28, 2000
(later...) S just called and she wants to wait until Saturday at noon, so i told her we should meet at Frick Park instead. I told her how to get there so hopefully she will go to the right place. It sounded like she is used to going to a different part of the park. She said she'll give me a call on Saturday morning.
November 29, 2000
"what's up? got any more dogs?"
No, i think three's enough. Did i tell you somebody's gonna meet Bingo on Saturday? She has four kids so i thought we should do it at the dog park instead of here! Hopefully the weather will be decent. If not, maybe we'll just have to meet at the shelter. It's a pain to go all the way up there. But in a way it would be convenient if she ends up adopting him cos we wouldn't have to make another trip. We'll see.
December 2, 2000
Re: Dog owners frustrated with conditions at Frick Park
"very interesting. i think it's odd that they complained about mud and no water supply but nobody said anything about it not being fenced in."
Yes, i agree. We did get a chance to experience the muddy conditions today though and it was quite bad. I understand now why they complained. I have pictures...
And about the fence, nobody stayed on the correct side of it today. Some people came by with their dogs off leash and they ran INTO the "fenced" area. Then they ran back out, and all the other dogs followed them. Nobody went too far, and actually Brindle came when called almost every time today. I think he wasn't too excited about the mud, so he mostly stayed with us instead of running around.
"and did i read correctly that they chose the dog areas based on the fact that they're next to the stream, so the dogs can drink the polluted acid water?"
Yes, precisely. I always said it smelled like sewage.
There was a lady there today with a young male pit bull that was totally out of control. I felt bad for her cos she was trying, but it just wasn't working. The dog was aggressive towards the other dogs. She had a shock collar on it that either wasn't working, or the dog didn't mind it. Every time it started harassing another dog, you could hear the collar beep, but the dog didn't stop. She also had a flexi leash and wasn't very skilled with it. Those things can be dangerous. I don't think she knew how to use the brake on it. She had it attached to the dog's regular collar but he slipped his collar and the flexi zipped back. She had a gentle leader but she dropped it. We found it. But she never did put it on him. I think that pair is an accident waiting to happen.
Anyhow, we met Bingo's new mom. She is nice. She has four kids. We met the three older ones, a girl and two younger boys. I'm almost certain they want him. She is planning to fill out the paperwork tomorrow but she asked if she could wait until the end of the week to pick up the dog. She wants to get everything ready. She asked a lot of questions. She's not really used to being around dogs. They were all scared when the dogs started running around and wrestling and making noise. The daughter walked Bingo on the leash and he behaved really well for her. Actually he was better for her than he was for me. He walked right beside her. It was really neat. I think this will be a good placement. Hope she doesn't change her mind!
December 3, 2000
S called again last night about Bingo. She wanted to know if i thought he would be okay alone with her kids, cos the kids get home an hour before she does. Normally i would not recommend letting kids and dogs together unsupervised, but Bingo is so mellow, i think he'll be fine. Her kids seem to have a healthy fear of dogs so i think they'll respect him. She asked if her daughter would be able to take him out to pee when she gets home, cos they don't have a fence. I normally wouldn't have thought so, but i saw how they were together at the park and i swear, the dog behaved better for this little girl than he does for me!
When we were at the park, there was a tough looking guy with a huge, tough looking Rottweiler. The rott had stolen another dog's tennis ball and wouldn't give it back. And apparently the guy was afraid to try to take the ball from it. The other dog's owner told her dog, "It's okay, i'll get you another ball." So we had an opportunity to discuss how to take things from dogs and trade for a treat or whatever. S seems really interested in learning the right things to do with dogs. It's better having somebody who really knows nothing about dogs (and admits it) than having somebody who thinks they're an expert. I suspect that out of all the people who adopted our fosters, she's the most likely to keep in touch. Heck, i already talked to her like five times and she doesn't even have the dog yet.
December 4, 2000
R. called last night. She's the person who rescues German shepherds and got me to take King and Ranger. She said she heard from Ranger's people. They finally got desperate enough to seek help. Basically they just couldn't control him on the leash. They were walking him on a regular buckle collar. So R. fitted him with a Gentle Leader and showed them how to use it, and voila, perfect dog. Now i'm a bit irritated because i TOLD the woman to get a GL the first time i talked to her! You know, the night that she talked to me for AN HOUR and told me about his behavior and i gave her advice (which she obviously didn't follow). R. said she was kinda surprised that Ranger took to the GL so quickly and i said, "Yeah, that's what i walked him on the entire time i had him."
Anyway, Ranger is doing great. They even took him to the groomer (people don't normally take shepherds to the groomer). He put on weight and R. said he looked great. And she can tell that they really like him. The guy paid $6000 extra to get a truck with the extended cab so the dog can ride with him.
On another doggy note, Bingo's new person is going to adopt him on Saturday morning. She wanted time to get everything ready. G said she's getting lots of basic dog info together to give her. She said she could tell S was really excited about getting the dog. So i guess you won't be seeing Bingo for Christmas!
"hey, i know - i get that all the time. i tell them stuff but they don't really believe it til they hear it from their doctor or some other "expert". i'm glad ranger's doing good. :) that's something, the guy paying all that extra money on the truck just for a dog, wow! too bad we won't get to see bingo again (i really like him, you know) but he'll have a family of his own now and he'll be happy. he'd look really cute with a big red bow on his big black head for xmas... sigh..."
December 5, 2000
December 8, 2000
L. from the humane society just called. She said S just called and she thinks the $60 adoption fee is too much. I know that i told her how much it would be, and she didn't seem to have a problem with it. She said she went shopping for supplies and was surprised at how much everything cost, and she said something like, "And you expect me to pay another $60?" She asked if she could just give them half. She asked if she could foster the dog!!!
L. said she really did not like S's attitude at all. If she can't afford $60 to adopt the dog, how can she possibly afford food, routine vet care, toys, obedience classes, emergency vet care...????
She is supposed to call me sometime today so i guess we'll have to talk. If she is still considering getting the dog i'm gonna try to gently talk her out of it. I don't want her to take the dog and then dump it when it gets too expensive.
And now we wasted another two weeks! One week waiting for her to come and meet the dog, and then this week thinking she was gonna adopt him tomorrow! Two whole weeks that we could have been looking for a good home for him.
I'm trying to call Warren to talk to him about it, and also to get S's number cos i left it at home. He's on the net and i can't get through. I kinda want to call her and get it over with. I'm worried that she's gonna say she decided it's okay, she can come up with the money, and she still wants him. At this point i'm scared to let her take him.
I forgot to tell you one scary thing she said last time i talked to her. "Does he come with a bowl?" That should have clued me in right there.
She did have a dog before, so i wonder why she doesn't still have a leash, a bowl, etc. Cos you know these things are so expensive....
"oh boy, you just never can tell about ppl, huh? that sucks. but it's much better to find out ahead of time then have bingo go thru all that, moving and adjusting to new places and ppl, and then ending up back at the shelter again. ppl just must be dumb i guess. unrealistic."
I called S. She was supposed to call me today to set up a time to meet at the shelter tomorrow, so she thought that's why i was calling. She said she'd be there at noon. So she's still planning to adopt the dog. Great.
So i was kinda deceitful and i told her that the dog has been charging through the door, and i'm worried that the kids will let him escape when they come home from school (they get home an hour before she does). She said she has a sunporch, so he wouldn't be able to escape. Great.
So i went right to the money thing. I said i talked to somebody at the humane society and they mentioned that she was having trouble coming up with the money. She said she could get the money but she just wondered if there was "another way." So i took Warren's advice and made it seem like i was concerned for HER. I said i wanted to make sure she had a chance to consider the financial implications before getting totally committed, because there are lots of hidden costs that maybe she hadn't thought about. That really got her attention! I said the initial cost is nothing compared to the ongoing costs. I said routine vet care will cost a couple hundred dollars a year, and that's not including any emergencies. She said, "But the humane society has some kind of clinic..." I said yeah, you can pay an annual fee of $25 which covers your office visits but you still need to pay for any shots or medication or whatever. And you can't even go there for emergencies, and the emergency clinics charge $50 just to see the pet, before they even treat them. And the whole time, i managed to make it seem like i was just trying to be nice to HER. I said i wasn't necessarily trying to discourage her, i just wanted to make sure she had considered all of this beforehand rather than getting in over her head and not being able to keep the dog. I said i don't have kids so i can afford to throw money away on my dogs. (She has four kids.) And i even said something about money being tight with Christmas coming up.
She said THANK YOU! She said she had never even considered how much it would cost!! She said she knows it would be really bad to take the dog and then have to give him up, especially for the kids. And she said maybe she needs a few more days to think about it. She's going to call me tonight to talk about it some more.
Warren also said i could tell her that if she takes him and has to return him, the humane society might not let her adopt again. This is true. It happened to T, the guy that used to work here. He had to sign something saying he wouldn't try to adopt from them again. So i'll have to bring that up when i talk to her tonight.
Any other words of wisdom? I have to prepare for the next conversation. I feel bad trying to talk someone out of taking him but i want to do what's best for him. And as Warren pointed out, if she survives this discussion and STILL wants him, maybe she really will be committed to keeping him. We'll see.
She did seem to have some concern for the dog. She asked if i was planning to drop Bingo off at the shelter or meet her there. (This was at the beginning of the conversation, when she was still planning on adopting him tomorrow.) I said we might as well meet her there. She said that was good because otherwise they'd have to put him in a cage with all those barking dogs and she didn't want him to have to deal with that. So she does seem to care about him, for what it's worth.
So S called and she changed her mind. I'm glad because i didn't want to have to discuss it anymore with her. She had already decided not to get him when she called me, so i didn't have to try to dissuade her. She said she talked to some people at work and they told her it's kinda like having another kid. I told her yes, it is. And she said she knows her daughter would be good with him but she's not sure about the boys. They were pretty little. Of course i'm sure that the money thing is why she actually changed her mind. I laid it on kinda thick today.
So, like Karen said, it's better to find this out now than AFTER she adopted the dog and found out she couldn't afford it. So unless Bingo is adopted in the next week and a half, he'll be home for Christmas.
December 17, 2000
The weather has been pretty nasty. We haven't gone to the dog park since that day everybody got covered with mud. The dogs have been kinda hyper lately. Right now they are playing bitey growly games. It's nice that B&E play with Bingo (yes, he's still here). They only played with certain fosters. It's good cos they are tiring each other out and i don't have to feel bad about not taking them to the park. One of the benefits of having multiple dogs.
January 28, 2001
I'm jumping up and down! We finally found a permanent home for Bingo, our lab/spaniel foster boy. We've been running a newspaper ad. Yesterday a woman called and said she'd "get back to me." Of course I didn't believe her because I have learned that they never call back when they say that. Well, she did call back, and she seemed really cool. I had a feeling she was going to take him, so I told her to meet me at the shelter instead of coming to my house. We usually have people meet the dogs here at the house because then it doesn't matter if they never show up (which unfortunately seems to happen a lot). Anyway, she met him and decided to take him in about 5 minutes. They filled out the paperwork and he was gone, just like that. It was really quick and I didn't have time to prepare myself!
I've had some more calls since then, and I was able to direct people to some dogs at the shelter and some in other foster homes. It was kinda freaky cos there were two or three dogs at the shelter that looked a lot like Bingo. So I referred some of the callers to them. Our shelter doesn't have a lot of dogs right now for some reason (but that's a good thing).
I felt really good when we first got there because one of the employees recognized Bingo right away and commented on how much better he looked. He was overweight when we got him two months ago and he used to get out of breath just trying to go up our stairs. But he's in really good shape now. He actually has a waist. =)
February 4, 2001
I called Bingo's new mom yesterday, and I had to laugh because it was just like you wrote:
"There were times when they'd say everything was okay, but you could hear in their voice that it wasn't, so we encouraged them to open up by asking things like "is he eating okay", "is he pottying okay", "any trouble with the cats", "any trouble with the kids", etc."
At first she said everything was fine, but I kept asking questions. Finally I found out that he has had some housetraining problems, and he pulls pretty badly on the leash. So I gave her some tips on the housetraining (I think they were waiting for him to tell them he had to go out, which he doesn't do) and I told her where to get a Gentle Leader to help with the pulling problem.
Other than that, it sounds like he's doing great. They decided to keep his name, although she said she should
probably call him Shadow, since he follows her everywhere. He gets along fine with the kids. So i'm happy.
"We had an annual reunion/fundraiser"
This is something I want to get started for the families who foster and the people who adopt the foster dogs. A side benefit might be to get more people interested in fostering.
"I don't know if other breed adopters are like this, but a lot of people seemed to want to help out and give back
something when they have a successful adoption."
I do think you are more likely to get continued involvement with purebreds, because it's almost like joining a club. With our adopters, there is no real sense of unity or "joining the club" cos the dogs are all so different. You can go to a fundraiser and immediately pick out the group from Going Home Greyhounds, but the rest of the dogs don't stand out as much. That's something I want to try to change with the foster reunion idea, to make a more cohesive group.
I also think our foster families should have more of a "group unity" thing. I try to keep up on which dogs are in foster care so if someone calls about a dog but I don't have what they are looking for, I can refer them to one of the other fosters. I don't think other folks are doing this, simply because we don't know anything about each other's dogs. Our foster program is still a work in progress.