I’ve always considered fostering, but the thought of it honestly freaked me out. I couldn’t imagine taking care of a dog and inevitably growing to love him, only to give him up to his forever home. So while it sounded really awesome in theory - I knew I just didn’t have the guts to do it.
But on Christmas Eve 2009, Los Angeles Best Friends Animal Society volunteers went to the Balwin Park Shelter and rescued a group of dogs from euthanasia - including this little Bischon-Poodle mix named Harry.
Poor guy was in REALLY bad shape. He was lifeless in his cell at the shelter, and upon closer examination volunteers discovered he was badly wounded. It looked as if he’d been dragged on asphalt by a car, resulting in a big, painful patch of road burn on his side. He had also developed hot spots around his back legs and tail, probably from all the anxiety of being in the shelter.
They bathed him, groomed him as much as they could, and off he went to the vet for boarding.
With so much recovering Harry needed to do, it seemed that it would be best for him to heal in a foster home instead of yet another scary, cold cage in boarding. My friend and Studio Manager thought he’d be a perfect fit for my house. Maeby and Zoey love small dogs and I work from home. The ONLY REASON I really had to say no was my own selfish anxiety about growing attached to Harry and eventually giving him up.
So I sucked it up, got over my fears, and in early January I went to the vet to pick Harry up.
See the giant patch of road burn on his side? Poor guy had wounds on his legs too.
It’s been about 7 weeks now since Harry has come to live with us. He had to wear a cone for the first month, learn to be in a crate, and learn to be home alone. I can’t lie - it’s been a long journey. He had EXTREEEEEEEEME separation anxiety and couldn’t stand being in a crate. Once when I was out of the house for an hour, he actually CRACKED the bottom of the plastic crate trying to get out!
But our little man Harry come a long way in the last 7 weeks!! His wounds are completely healed, his hot spots are gone, and he loves hanging out in his crate even if I’m home. Harry is extremely obedient - if I tell him to “go inside” his crate, in he goes. He learns commands very quickly - I taught him sit, stay, and shake in a matter of minutes. Harry loves all dogs big and small and doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. He has complete respect for Maeby and Zoey, and doesn’t have rude doggie manners other than trying to snatch food from my hand (but he quickly learned not to do this too). His favorite thing in the world is cuddling and having his belly rubbed. Best of all, Harry is 100% potty trained! He still has some minor separation anxiety issues (especially compared to how he was 7 weeks ago) and loves to follow me around from room to room. We’re trying out best not to enable his clingy-ness by only giving him affection when he’s calm, relaxed and not asking for it.
Harry is still a little withdrawn and hasn’t completely emerged from his shell. He doesn’t quite know how to play, but every once in awhile something in his head clicks and he goes bonkers playing with Maeby and Zoey. He’s come such a long way since I met him 7 weeks ago and I know he’s ready for his forever home. Overall Harry is an AWESOME DOG and whoever gets to adopt him is one very lucky person!
My hope is for Harry to get adopted in Los Angeles so I can have a photoshoot with him and his new lucky owners someday. But until that day comes, we’ll continue to love him and get him ready for his new life.
And check out how handsome our little man Harry is now!
Interested in adopting Harry? Email me: grace at shinepetphotos dot com.
As far as the fostering experience goes, would I do it again? Absolutely. This is our way of contributing to the rescue process - a karmic act of gratitude for the people who fostered Maeby and Zoey before we adopted them, and for the people who will foster our future rescue dogs. It’s really amazing to be a part of the rescue cycle and can’t wait for our next dog (which won’t be until 2011 since The Boyfriend has made me promise we can only foster 1 dog per year!)
* * *