What I have learned from being a foster mommy

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I have had Sandy for about two weeks now and have learned many incredible lessons about resilience, the ability to trust, and the importance of opening up to love from this sweet little energetic furball. In many ways, fostering a relationship with a four-legged companion isn’t so different from forming friendships with friends and partners.

Admittedly, Sandy and I got off to a rough start. Two minutes into the apartment, she peed on the rug. When I took her out for walks alone, she would pull and bite on her leash and decide that jumping on me in the middle of the street was completely acceptable behavior. Because I wasn’t completely aware of some of the characteristics of this breed, I became frustrated and didn’t know what some of her actions meant. I felt, at times, like I wasn’t doing a good job as a foster mommy.

One night it was just the two of us in an otherwise quiet apartment. I turned on the television and Sandy took her spot next to me on the sofa. She gently placed her head in my lap and looked up at me with understanding and grateful eyes. She was thankful for a home and some love and comfort. I could see it in her. I looked at her scars and couldn’t imagine all she had been through in her short time here on earth. I had a new mission: I could never let her down.

In the past week, I’ve realized that having a dog is not so different from having a child. (Stay tuned for a follow-up post where I discuss how having a baby is nothing life having a pup.)

Here are just a few observations:

  • I have said the word “no” more times in the past week than I think I have said my entire life. Also, repeated use of the word “no” is usually futile.
  • Bryan and I have rescued a gummy bear, a piece of wood, and assorted chewed-up dog toys from her mouth. “Virtually indestructible” means nothing to her.
  • Just because I’ve finished playing doesn’t mean she has, too. Despite the fact that she’s not allowed in the bedroom, she managed to sneak in, place a toy under Bryan’s pillow and then she CLOSED THE DOOR behind her, like she was never in the bedroom in the first place. She’s a sneaky little girl, this one!
  • I’ve had to monitor her poop for the past two weeks to make sure she’s absorbing all of the nutrients of her new diet.

But the reason I feel that having a dog and having a baby are at least somewhat similar is because I want her to be surrounded by love and comfort always. This gal has really done a number on me in a short period of time I’ve had her and I want what’s best for her. That’s what we always want for our little ones, yes?

If you are interested in fostering a pup or kitty in the New York/New Jersey area, I highly recommend checking out the available animals at Liberty Humane Society. And if you want to fall in love with the cutest little mischief-maker this side of the Hudson, check out Sandy’s profile!

11 Comments… add one
Krysten January 28, 2013, 9:49 AM

We just neutered both our dogs and seriously the similarities between having them and having babies is insane. I mean, aside from them having cones of their heads, of course.

keishua January 28, 2013, 10:24 AM

animals are such teachers. saying no to my cats is futile. i actually think they understand it. they just don’t care.

Girl with a New Life January 28, 2013, 10:41 AM

What a sweet post!

Animals need lots of love and in that way they are our little fur babies. PS Our new kitten likes to hide her toys in our bed, so sometimes the Hubs rolls over in the middle of the night and something squeaks beneath him.

I’m going to be away for a bit this week but I plan on catching up on your posts very soon. Thank you for visiting my blog. It is always a pleasure to catch up with you.

Bonda84 January 28, 2013, 10:44 AM

Being a parent I will tell you that there are A LOT of similarities between having a dog and having a kid. It gets really interesting when you have them at the same time and they teach each other bad habits, like when you’re telling them “no” about something and they just put their little noses in the air and look around baffled like they can’t even hear you speaking. I’m glad you and Sandy are learning and loving together. There’ s just something about the love of a dog that warms your heart and makes things seem just that much better.

Karen Peterson January 29, 2013, 11:42 AM

I think you are so great for fostering her. Animals need us and we need them.

Nicole January 29, 2013, 12:46 PM

HAHAHAH… yeah “virtually indestructible” means nothing around here, either. A godsend has been antlers! You can buy pieces of antler for dogs to chew on. They last forever, are odorless, don’t get slimy, and are waaaaay better than rawhide. I highly recommend. We spent $20 on one for Mojo 4 or 5 months ago, and he STILL has it.

Your baby will mature and learn, just like people babies. She’ll get it. And you’re doing wonders for her! xoxo

Blended4Purpose January 29, 2013, 2:18 PM

Honestly, I thought your post was about fostering children. I am seeking to become a foster parent. Yet, after reading your post you really spoke to my heart. Everyone in the foster system wants to be loved and protected. They want to know regardless of what they do, you will still love them. Great post.


Blended4Purpose January 29, 2013, 2:19 PM

Stopped by from SITS.


Bryan January 29, 2013, 4:01 PM

BUT you forgot to mention the most important question to date mooi: Who does Bryan love more… 😉 I love my girls!!!

Allyson January 29, 2013, 11:01 PM

I actually think that being a parent of a fur baby is a LOT like being a parent of a human baby…if you do it right, I mean. And I hate to say it, but my fur parenting has taken a back seat lately to my human parenting. But those are all excellent and valid points. Especially about being surrounded by love. I don’t know how you’re ever going to let her go.

Sean January 29, 2013, 11:57 PM

She’s so cute! And it’s so true that caring for a baby is much like caring for a puppy, but I can’t wait to read the follow up about how a puppy isn’t like a baby.

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