My life changed as a result of some health issues. I found myself stuck at home and feeling very sorry for myself. I had had dogs all my life, but the last one had been so special to me that I could not bring myself to replace him. What to do??
A friend showed me the Facebook page from Adam Bailey Rescues and Rehomes asking for fosterers for dogs. Well, this could be the answer to my prayers. I needed a dog and they had dogs that needed me. I was given a reason to carry on, a reason to get up in the mornings, a feeling of self-worth.
One telephone call later and Adam was sitting in my lounge having a coffee and explaining all about fostering a rescue dog. My home and garden passed the “home-check”, making sure it was safe and secure. Two weeks later I had my first rescue dog in my home – a beautiful female staffie cross. Full of beans, energy and life, she changed my life. Such an amazing little girl – I couldn’t understand why nobody wanted her.
She was adopted fairly quickly, having only been with me for 10 days. I felt a mixture of emotions, sad because I had to let her go, happy that she was going to an amazing home and family, hurt that I would be alone again.
Ha ha…not for long. Next came a whirling dervish!! A Labrador / staffie cross, a somewhat larger dog, full of himself and a very loving boy. He needed lots of training. He was a naughty on the lead and had little manners when not out and about. So, the work began and he came on in leaps and bounds. He had a shoe fetish, but only for expensive ones!! He ate for England, and grew at a great rate of knots. I was struggling. He was becoming too much for me physically and there seemed to be nobody interested in him because he was a staffie bull breed. Couldn’t believe that people were so shallow as to not even come and see him. He was a beautiful boy, so gentle and loving. My grandchildren played with him. My granddaughter dressed him up, brushed and combed him to within an inch of his life. He took all that they had to give, wanted to sleep with them, but still nobody was interested. He was a huge learning curve for me. Eventually I had to pass him onto another foster carer as he was physically too much for me. I felt as guilty as sin, and he had been such a good dog indoors.
The house was not left empty for more than 3 days when two little terrier cross pups arrived. Well, yet another shock. Like little devils tearing around, toilet training was going to be my hardest thing to accept. Thank goodness the weather was getting better and the back doors could be left open!! After just a week, they had got the hang of toileting outside. The next thing was to get them lead trained, then the car, eventually a trip to the pub. Needless to say, these two cuties were not with me for long.
Next came a little terrier mix called Buttons. This little man climbed straight into my heart. He had been sent from horrid conditions in Bosnia. He arrived and desperately needed a bath. Phew!! I had never smelt anything like it before. This cheeky little chap made such a huge change in such a short period of time. He just wanted to be cuddled, shown affection. He had a need to be touching you whenever he felt unsure of himself. He became my side-kick everywhere I went. He really did get to me. When I had a contact to say that someone wanted to adopt him, I was devastated. However, I reminded myself that the whole reason I was doing this was for the dogs, even though I was benefitting immensely.
Two more puppies rocked in before Buttons left so there was no time to mourn. These two girls arrived in a shocking state. So scared they wouldn’t come anywhere near us. But with time, gentle persuasion, positive praise and food, they finally started to come out of their shells. What a different type of challenge this was to be! I put collars on them and they went absolutely crazy. It took days for them to realise that we were not going to hurt them. Again, with time and patience, they eventually became sociable enough to be adopted.
Next came two more puppies, not quite so scared. A pair of Shih Tzu dogs who had to be taken into the rescue because their owners were not coping with them and their other dogs. An older dog with behaviour issues came too.
Then there was an emergency call to collect a dog that had been dumped, and she came here as well. Four dogs who were also here as a temporary measure whilst their owner was in hospital.
Dingo arrived. He was my little foxy and he really did blossom here. He was with us for nearly two months. Then an extremely special gent wanted a companion and the two of them are living happily ever after. Another three followed Dingo.
Then came a dog that would test my stomach and my nursing skills. She had been spayed abroad and sewn up with fishing wire. She developed a huge internal abscess which erupted. She was rushed into our vets and surgery was performed. Her whole side was cut into two separate pieces in order to remove the infection properly and to remove the fishing wire. The vets had to leave a drain in situ for 10 days so that the fluid could drain away. After several weeks recuperating, she was adopted by a wonderful family.
We then had a run of dogs being returned to the rescue, through no fault of their own, which caused a strain on the organisation. Herman then arrived with an awful skin condition that we are still trying to get to the bottom of. Another little dog came to me, and the two of them started to play and interact, and Herman started to come out of his shell too.
In total, I have had more than 27 bundles of joy through my door..
This is just some of what I have experienced in the past 9 months. If I can just say:
It is hard work.
It has changed my life completely, for the better.
It opened my eyes…to see how cruel some people can be, and also to see how kind and generous other people can be.
I have sat up all night reassuring dogs.
I have been up all night with a dog that has been ill.
I have scrubbed carpets at 2am – pee, poo and vomit.
I have had sleepless nights because a dog wouldn’t settle.
My days include lots of walking, washing, bathing, cleaning, vacuuming, nursing and cuddling.
Shoes, slippers, cushions and window blinds have been eaten.
I have seen the foster dogs go off to their forever homes and cried.
I have messages from their new owners, with pictures, telling me how the dog has changed their lives for the better, and that the dog is healthy and happy.
I have had pictures taken at the top of Mount Snowden where the dog is walking, or at the beach where it is running and playing, or in a bed where it is peacefully sleeping contentedly, pictures of the dog playing ball with the children of the new family, camping and picnics, swimming and running.
These are just a few reasons why I foster dogs for Adam Bailey Rescues and Rehomes….