Joey was my first foster. Very sweet but oh-so anxious & untrained. He was nervous around humans & nervous around dogs. Armed with my Bach Flower essences, a lot of patience & love, the next 6 months taught me a lot about fostering dogs, & rescue dogs in particular.
Joey was picked up after his mum & siblings suddenly just disappeared. When rescuers from Save our Strays Bahrain went out to feed his mum, they discovered Joey hiding under a tree, crying. He was brought into the shelter & taken care of for the next 18 months. Unfortunately the shelter had to close & all the dogs had to find either forever homes or foster homes. Joey was the last to find somewhere which is when I stepped in. I met Joey at the shelter & he did not come up to me at all. The next night I brought Phoebe & he was not interested in interacting with her either. A couple of days later he was brought to my house & that was it. We were stuck with one another. Poor Joey paced for hours, sat in the room & positioned himself where he would have an escape route planned. He jumped at every sound in the house.
24 hours later & Joey came tentatively up for a pat. YAY!! It was baby steps as he learned to trust each member of the family. It was also getting him used to living in a home environment. People coming in & out, vacuum cleaner going, even the simplest things like emptying the dishwasher used to freak him out.
Walking on a leash wasn’t too bad – he was a bit of a puller but nothing that a bit of consistent training wouldn’t sort out. The big issues was house training… I made the mistake of not crate training him straight away. My logic was that Phoebe did not sleep in a crate so it wouldn’t be fair if Joey did. BIG mistake. We had accidents all over the house! What was the frustrating thing was that even if we upped our walks, Joey never did anything on them. I later learnt that some dogs who are ill or highly stressed do not want other dogs in the neighborhood knowing this & so will not wee or poo outside. This is because when dogs sniff other dogs scent it is like connecting into the local gossip & they learn all about the dog. It took a few weeks for Joey to finally feel comfortable in toileting out on our walks. Combined with Crate training & the flower essences, in a few months he became a much calmer dog. Of course this was after he had run through 3 fly screens, destroyed 2 carpets, chewed on a few books & toys…
Six months later an adopter is found for him in Canada. My trip to the airport was full of angst & worry. At the airport I was with seasoned foster parents & rescuers, who knew the drill & knew the dogs would be ok in getting to the other side. I, on the other hand, was trying to keep it together & not sob as I watched Joey looking out from his crate. It was tough to hold back the tears as I said goodbye, ok, let’s be honest – I couldn’t hold back the tears! It was hugely emotional to watch him being carried off into the unknown.
Every so often I hear news on how Joey is going from Save our Strays Bahrain. Joey is now called Chip, has his own chair & is helping other rescue dogs settle in. How cool is that?!?