At the start of 2017 we entered into the world of foster caring for charity rescue organisation Labrador Rescue in Australia. I had been lobbying for a second dog for awhile to keep our boy Bear company but my partner was adamant we are a one dog family. This was a good compromise for us to both help out dogs in need and give Bear some company.
The rewards have been really positive for us. Although at times it has been challenging (scheduling medical appts, managing special diets, fear of people), it has been an immensely rewarding experience. My partner marvels at the fact that in under 2 years I went from never owning a dog to taking in traumatised fosters.
Throughout 2017, we had 6 dogs come to us from pounds or direct surrenders and all were rehomed with new families.
1. Mary – was our very injured, very traumatised “Christmas miracle” rescue. She was less than 2 yrs old and was on to at least her third litter when she was dumped at the pound, pregnant. She was going to be euthanised but a lab rescue carer collected her at the last minute despite the fact she had no lab in her at all. She had her puppies and had lots of complications. When we got her she had massive holes the size of my fist in her stomach and was absolutely terrified of everything – noises, cars, doorways, people, other dogs….everything. She spent 2.5 months getting physically well with us (including daily vet visits for the first month!) then another 2 months in intensive training to help her socialise with dogs and has been with her new owner for 6 months now. She is now known as “Midget” because her new sister is so big! Mary was probably our most well known foster as she had huge vet bills (over $20 000) so there was a lot of fundraising to help her and her puppies out. She also had to go to the vet A LOT and all the nurses loved her and the progress she made. They still ask us about her now.
2. Basil – is a fully accredited assistance dog now and graduated from his training school at the Bathurst Correctional Centre in September. He is now the constant companion for a navy veteran with PTSD.
3. Murphy – now know as Marley. She was with us for 2 months with severe pain from dental rot and other medical issues. She was 11 years old and had been a backyard breeding dog. The vet had to remove 27 teeth, multiple lumps and desex her. I desperately wanted to keep her but it wasn’t fair with our back steps being so steep and her arthritis starting to show. She was always the smiliest dog, even when in immense pain, and now has a wonderful home with an older dog to play with and young kids to snuggle up to. She was rehomed to WA and her new owners flew all the way over here to collect her, then drove her to Sydney and flew home with her.
4. Willow – only had a short stay with us. She was a private surrender which unfortunately means they often avoid mentioning behavioural issues. Willow needed some intensive training to be able to socialise with other dogs but has now been rehomed successfully. She’s the only dog we have ever had who could work out the genius kong toy!
5. Frankie – awwwww my baby boy. Only 9 months old, he was a CRAZY energetic lab x kelpie. He was or first pound dog and had overstayed his euthanasia date by 6 weeks….it was obvious the pound staff had fallen in love with him. He went to live with a lovely couple in Sydney and spends every weekend at the beach with his foster sister Boo.
6. Denzel – our most recent 8.5yr old foster who got the nickname greybeard. We had Denzel for over 2 months and in that time he improved a lot. Denzel had an intense fear of men when he first arrived. From the first three days where he dug a hole in the yard and stayed in it to being able to approach strangers, learning how to use a dog door and happily accepting pats from new people – he came a really long way in a short period of time. He was one of our more challenging fosters because he maintained his fear of my partner the whole time which made simple things (walking, feeding, playing) really hard to introduce. Denzel was also rejected by more than 15 homes before the perfect applicants applied to adopt him. Since going to his new home, his ongoing improvements have been remarkable and he adores his humans and his foster brother Max.