Wow, the last several months have been crazy! We adopted Neville at the end of December. One week later, we took in a new foster, Slider. That same week, both Derek and I fell ill with Covid-19. We are much better, thankfully. Fostering through sickness is no joke, and adding to your pack is no small transition! We were very tired for a while, but we are doing this thing and hanging in there.
Slider is our beautiful foster pup that has been with us for four months. I can’t believe it has been that long already! Due to growing our pack and our illness early this year, I have not kept up with proper documentation, in the form of blogging, for her. I will be sad if she is adopted and I didn’t record anything in this blog, so here I am, back at it.
While I slacked at blogging, I do have tons of pictures and videos to post of Slider. I have some here, but a lot more to come.
To understand where we are, now, with Slider, you really should know where we’ve been with all the dogs in the last four months. Things always seem to get worse before they get better. We were feeling crazy for a hot minute, but we have now settled into a routine.
Slider and Neville really couldn’t be around each other, at all, in the first couple months of bringing Slider into our home. Neville had more socialization problems than we realized, and they just did not get along. Then Neville and one of our original pack members could not get along either. This, of course, started right after we adopted Neville and everything was official. That was super stressful and hard on both Derek and I. We had flimsy baby gates to keep everyone separated. That didn’t work well. I decided it was time to have sturdier gates, so that meant making them ourselves. I enlisted the help of my dad, and, together, we made brand new, sturdy, tall gates that no one could push down or jump over. That really helped Derek and I’s sanity for a while. We were letting the dogs outside in shifts, they were always eating separately, and were separated much of the time in the house. This added a lot of extra work to our routine, but things calmed down. Everyone settled in, and got more used to being around each other. However, our ultimate goal is to properly socialize our dogs and our foster dogs. We want our fosters to be able to get adopted with as few limitations as possible, so we set to work seeking our own training, watching videos, taking endless advice, and working to get all the dogs to comingle and be okay being around each other. We were in way over our heads.
Even though we were trying everything we could think of, we were still experiencing challenges having certain combinations of dogs together, at the same time, and I decided it was time for some more qualified intervention. We found a trainer that has trained us more than the dogs, and we are seeing progress. Little by little all six dogs can be around each other. Slider plays in the yard with all the dogs every day. We still have limitations in the house, but it is much better. We don’t have to let the dogs outside in shifts anymore. They all get a chance to play and exercise together, daily. We have settled into a nice routine, even though we are definitely still crazy for caring for six dogs.
Slider is very out going, but timid in her own way. She is very curious, but also unsure at times. She is spunky. She is super fun-loving and playful. In four months I have really grown to love this girl! There is never a dull moment with her. I am always laughing at her goofiness.
Before she came to stay with us, she had some basic skills training. We have continued that work as she has lived with us. She is potty trained and crate trained. She knows “sit” and “down” very well. She knows “stay,” and we have taught her “paw.” She can be stubborn, so “leave it” has been a futile mission, but we continue to try. She is a really good girl, but has big personality. Sometimes people equate “big personality” with “bad.” Slider is not bad; she has a lot of spunk, and I love her all the more for it.
Slider was not a cuddler when she first got here. I compared cuddling her to the likeness of cuddling a stick of dynamite or the cartoon Tasmanian Devil. She had so much energy and was curious about everything, she could not sit still. With routine, she has calmed down significantly. She is much more predictable, now that I know her better. I can sit in my chair, in our office, and she will leap into my lap and go right to sleep. We can sit like that for hours and she will let me hold her the whole time. She loves it and I love it! We have learned she is quite sweet and affectionate, but she doesn’t show you that right away.
The longer Slider is with us, the harder it will be for me to watch her leave. This is the consequence of fostering. I love them all so much! When they are only here a week, it’s not so bad, but we are at four months with Slider. It’s hard not to get attached when you pour your heart and soul into something. I want her to live the best life possible. I want her to be loved and live happy.
I have much more about Slider coming soon. I want to document as many of our memories as I can before she leaves, whenever that may be.