Monday, July 7, 2014

AARCS Update

It's been a really long time since I've done an AARCS (Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society - update. To say my family, and specifically I am into dogs is a significant understatement. While I pulled back on paper crafting, and virtually stopped altogether for 2 years to get back into teaching and to do post-secondary studies in Education, we never stopped fostering rescue dogs. It's been 5 1/2 years now with this amazing organization and well over 200 dogs have come through my house. Yes, we get very attached. Yes, giving them up is very hard. There are dogs we don't discuss or we start crying. They are hard to let go, but we believe very strongly in what we do as fosters and if we keep them all, we can't rescue more. Besides, there are so many freakingly fantastic dogs to get to know that we haven't met yet!!!

I always have puppies. Willingly. Joyfully. Always. We have a mom and her 6 pups in the dog run in the garage as I write this. The puppies are 7 weeks old and weaned, so they will be moving on very shortly to their pre-adoptive foster home and to have their sterilization surgeries. Historically, we have fostered pregnant dogs, mom dogs with their litters or orphaned pups.

Hannah, my daughter in the pictures below said it's weird to think that every dog that comes through our house is the final one of their genetic lineage. I'm okay with that, and so is she. We are thrilled that we have helped to prevent 10's of thousands of dogs from being born and therefore neglected and otherwise abused and culled in our province. The dogs we foster are rural and feral dogs and we've never had a city dog because there are other organizations to help that specific dog population.

Sorry the pictures are so fuzzy. I used my phone and these pictures were done in real time in a very active situation.

And we dog-sit for friends. This black beastie in the forefront of the photo is a hound lab cross and is a hoot!! Sophie reminds me of the children's tune - "I'm a little teapot, short and stout..."

This magnificent border collie cross (Panda) is our first medical foster. He really is magnificent. With everything he's been through, he could have become mean and nasty, but instead, he has an amazing disposition.

He was seized from a rural owner by the Alberta SPCA, who contacted AARCS to see if they would be willing to take the dog through medical care and recovery because his leg had an extreme fracture and would need to be amputated. I saw the all call for someone to volunteer to foster him, and after talking to my husband and then our kids, we decided to expand our foster repertoire. And there are no regrets! This was a very good decision for us since we have dealt with much worse.

Panda came into our house meek as a lamb and was just so happy all the time. Then he rubbed his stitches on the wall and several popped and a lot of infected fluid came dripping out of the hole. He had developed an infection and needed extra antibiotics and more pain meds to control the pain. All the while, he was happy and generally a lovely dog. With a big, charming personality. And gorgeous eyes and eyelashes to boot!

Last night I decided to bump up his suture removal because it looked to me like he was developing another infection. The vet who took out the stitches and staples confirmed my suspicion, lengthened his course of antibiotics, and gave us more pain meds for Panda. We gave him some pain killers as soon as we got back home and about an hour later, he was good to go.

This was pre-bed snack time in my house last night. All 5 upstairs dogs waiting for their snack. Panda is new to training, but is very smart so he's picking up the basics very quickly. Initially he was ready to fight for his snack, so we were standing around ready to intervene and help Hannah if needed. It only took one situation reset to help Panda understand that he would get his treat and to let the other dogs have their turn too. He also learned that sitting earned him more treats much faster than being snarky. Besides, everyone else was sitting and letting him have a turn, so he learned to be chill about it all too. It helps that his pain level was under control...

Hannah is 17 and has shown to be the most proficient of my kids at dog training. Don't get me wrong. My whole family is good at the dog stuff, but Hannah and I work together on the tough stuff because we share an 'understanding' of dog things and each other. We've wrangled aggressive dogs, feral dogs, dog fights, puppy fights (those are the worst), completely shut down dogs, completely off the wall dogs... Together we are better than separate with this dog fostering stuff. And we love it. If there are tough dog introductions to make, we do it together, and we are usually successful. No, we've never been bitten. Yes, we've been charged but not attacked outright. No, fostering isn't easy but I don't want to give it up. My family has learned so much about ourselves individually and as a family. Adding 'medical foster' to our list has been uber fantastic. It was amazing to see everyone jump into action while Panda was dripping yuck all over the hardwood and get him crated and to the vet. We don't regret a second of this fostering thing. And AARCS is the best! I wouldn't foster with anyone else.

And Pippin. He's my sheltie. And he's the only one who sat and stayed last night during snack time when Hannah walked away with snacks in her hand. He sat there for almost 5 minutes while Hannah was looking for her deaf dog, Opie. And then Hannah and all the other dogs came back and Pippin got an extra treat for being so obedient. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...