Lessons Learned From Fostering a Dog.

Lessons Learned From Fostering A Dog

There’s a lot to be learned from an experience such as this – when you find yourself taking in someone else’s pet for an extended period of time. Things can either go really well…or really wrong. But either way, there are things to be learned from it! These are a few things that I’ve already learned in our first month of being foster fur parents:

1. Dogs are a lot of work. Sure, I knew this before we took on a foster dog, but I didn’t really know it. I grew up with a dog, and looking back it he was the easiest dog to take care of…because I wasn’t doing much to take care of him! My parents did so much to make sure Buddy was taken care of that I didn’t have to worry about anything else. Now? Now I’m the one waking up early to let Lacey outside, feed her, vacuum up her hair, and make sure she isn’t getting into the trash. Fortunately I’m not also scooping up her poop, but it might get to that at some point! Dogs are a little more maintenance than we’re used to.

2. Dogs are very different from cats. The biggest different I immediately noticed was how quickly I was irritated by an animal at my heels everywhere I walked. Yes, it’s flattering and it means she loves us already and wants to be near us. But, everywhere we walk? It has been something to get used to! I had to really start watching where I was walking for fear that I would accidentally kick her! We smell her breath more than we have ever smelled the cats {you know, because dogs do that panting thing?}, and yes – she barks, which is much louder than a cat’s meow. Again, we knew all these things before fostering a dog, but we didn’t really know these things. Now we do!

3. Dogs are very emotional creatures. We know when Lacey is excited – there’s no doubt about it! She’s leaping and bounding through the living room, almost hopping while she walks. Her tail wags ferociously and, I have to admit, it looks like she’s smiling when we come home! On the flip side, we also know when she’s upset. When we reprimand her, her ears fold down and she backs away. Dogs are better at showing their emotions than their cat comrades. We only ever know when our cats are feeling crazy, because they’re running around the house like lunatics.

4. We aren’t ready for a dog just yet. Not permanently anyway. We saw this experience as not only being helpful to the family who owns Lacey, but as a trial run for our family to see if we could take on a dog in the near future. We are now more accurately able to tailor our expectations for a dog based on what we are learning from this experience! Like, now I know I would prefer a smaller {possibly hairless} dog if they are going to stay inside with us. We only ever talked about owning larger dogs, so this has been good for us to try!

5. Every pet involves sacrifice, and that has to be a decision we’re willing to make.  I haven’t felt like our cats required too much sacrifice on our part, and in that we’ve been spoiled. There have been difficult times with them, sure – when they destroyed our Christmas tree last year, when Ranger went through a phase of eating shoelaces off our shoes, when Mitsy wasn’t declawed and was going at our furniture – but before we permanently house a dog we need to realize that they take a lot more sacrifice. One of our time – that we rearrange our schedules to let them outside at the right times – of our sleep, potentially – as we potty train and have to go on walks in the middle of the night – and of the expectations I have for the cleanliness of my house – certain dogs shed a lot, which means I either clean constantly or loosen up and let there be hair.

Are you a cat person or a dog person? What advice do you have to share on being pet parents or being parents of a dog specifically?

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