Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Foster overload

We have been in foster overload recently. At the beginning of September I saw a Facebook post from our local adoption group in desperate need of foster homes for some dogs arriving that week. We are finally getting settled into our new house, though we are not completely unpacked yet. I e-mailed them to say that we would be willing to foster a dog if they were really desperate. A few days later we brought home Gracie, a pretty 20 month old brindle girl. We only had her for 4 days before she was moved to Calgary where they had a shortage of cat-safe females. The home they had waiting for her though didn't pan out. Ironically she ended up being adopted back in Edmonton a few weeks later.


A week later we got Georgia. We met our adoption leader at the airport to help him deplane 2 dogs. I REALLY liked Georgia. She was food motivated and a quick, eager learner. I'm almost glad she didn't stay with us long or I might have been tempted to keep her. I would have, however, liked to have had her longer than 2.5 days. But that is how long it took Georgia to win over a family and move to Calgary. We ended up taking home the other dog the family had elected to see, Riana. Riana was our least favourite of the three girls. She couldn't be crated but also had major space issues with other dogs. If she was crated she screamed for hours on end without settling, so we had no choice but to let her sleep in our bedroom. However, left loose at night she would snarl and lunge at our dogs if they moved or walked by her. Fortunately she was only with us a week before a more appropriate foster home was found with few animals. The one thing I liked about Riana was that she played with Kili a lot. Gracie had been too timid, and Georgia probably would have but wasn't allowed since she had been spayed so recently.

We had one last foster. It was a traumatizing experience. I got a call from the group asking if I would take a very sick dog. This was actually the other dog that arrived on the plane with Georgia. A few days after his arrival his foster family noticed that he wasn't quite right. When I was called to take him he was hospitalized with major liver and kidney malfunction. He needed to stay on IV fluids and medications but it was the Thanksgiving weekend and the funds weren't there to take him to an emergency facility. I was sort of the last option. I agreed to take him and he was transferred to my house where I set up a crate for him. He did okay for the first day and a half, neither improving or deteriorating. On the Sunday I returned from my agility trial and did his treatments and took him out to the bathroom. Everything seemed about the same. Around 11:30 that evening we heard him moving around in his crate in the other room. I went to check on him and found him breathing abnormally and unable to stand. Unfortunately it became quickly evident that we were losing Vinnie and a quick phone call confirmed the decision to euthanize him. I drove as quickly as possible to work to get the drugs I needed, but by the time I returned he was all but gone (though this was not a surprise to me). It was really horrible, but at least he had us there with him when he went, and I hope he knows how hard we tried. My best guess is that he threw a blood clot to his lungs based on how suddenly it happened and how quickly he was gone, coupled with what I know of his medical conditions. We will be taking a break from fostering for a couple of months but will definitely be fostering again in the future.

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