Sunday, April 21, 2013

Adventures in Fostering: A Total Foster FAIL

I've been a foster volunteer for the Austin Animal Center for about 3 years now, and I receive emails of adorable kittens, puppies, cats and dogs on a daily basis. While I might glance a few extra times at the cuter ones, I'm usually pretty good at clicking "delete" and going about my business. We are very thoughtful about when (and who) we take in as a foster, and having just adopted out Beckham a few weeks ago, we had decided to take a break until after the wedding. That is, until I saw this video on Friday afternoon:

Of course I forwarded it on to Hank, and his immediate reply was "Go get her!" In hindsight, I should know better than to send something to him if I really don't want to make it happen. But he has always been supportive of my animal habit (in reality, he's just as bad as I am), and given the negative 55 kennel spaces available on Friday, I made the call to go ahead and pick her up after work. All I knew from the email that accompanied her video was that she was 6 weeks old, and had been picked up off the side of a very busy street by a nice samaritan who then dropped her off at the shelter. Busy streets are no place for a little puppy to be roaming, and neither is a shelter! So the foster team went into action to get her into a home so that she would be more comfortable until she became available for adoption.

So that's how I ended up at the shelter on a Friday afternoon, and just two weeks out from our wedding, taking home an adorable 6 week puppy. And by adorable, I seriously mean the world's cutest dog, hands down, EVER! The video doesn't do her justice. We got her home and let her meet our two dogs, and then the cats, and everyone seemed to be doing fine. She wasn't the least bit scared of everyone, so we knew this would be an easy foster. 

Her first glamour shot hanging out in the backyard.

Foster dog, my ass. Within the first 24 hours, we had both pretty much decided that this dog was way too special to rehome, and knew that we had met our first foster FAIL. We took her to breakfast on Saturday morning, and it was like a celebrity was out on the patio. Not one person could walk by her without making kissy faces and baby talk at her. She really is that cute. She fell asleep in Hank's arms, and we were pretty much done at that point. We just knew we had to keep her. 

We *think* that she is part Australian Shepherd, which is a breed that I've always loved. And she'll be a great running partner, which is something that Hank really wanted in our next dog. But we had always planned on waiting until Marley was just a tad bit older before bringing another permanent dog into the mix. We're ok with being a year or two early on that idea. It will just be a full house for a bit, especially as she continues to grow bigger (and how big that will be, we have no idea).

I spent most of Saturday with her, working really hard on potty training. We're crate training her and being very diligent about going outside right after eating/drinking, and about every 20 minutes that she's roaming the house. Our goal is to have her potty trained within a couple of weeks. After that, we'll start some serious (life-long) training as I want to take advantage of having such a smart dog in our household. If she really is a working breed, then it will benefit all of us to keep her mind active and engaged. 

The shelter named her Bonnie, and we thought about keeping it. But we have an actual friend named Bonnie, and it just felt a little weird calling her that. I liked the idea of a B name though, so after some thinking, we decided to call her Brees. I love the Saints, and her coloring is black and tan, so it seemed appropriate and fun. Plus, Drew Brees is an all-around fantastic guy, so who wouldn't want to be named after someone like that?!

She continues to impress anyone who comes into contact with her, and it's been fun taking her out on little adventures over the weekend. She's so easy going, and I hope exposing her to being out and about makes it easy to continue doing so as she gets older. 

So now that we have 5 permanent animals, Hank said I have to actually get my volunteer hours by GOING to the shelter, and not just bringing animals home. We will have to shut down our foster services for awhile, but I will keep volunteering, as I feel like it's an important way to spend my time. I'm sure we will have plenty of Brees posts, and hopefully you don't mind being inundated with cute puppy pictures, because we just can't get enough of her right now. We're being very conscious of making sure our other animals don't feel neglected, and are giving them plenty of attention too! 

Showing off her pretty markings.

Fast asleep at Taco Deli.

Occupying herself while riding in the car. 

Marley had to check out the crate.

And fast asleep again. It's hard being so cute!

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  1. like the many, many others who are heading to austin for a new life, i'll be moving to the city in the middle of september. i'm taking a leap of faith, quitting my job, and hoping to have a more comfortable life there. i stumbled across your blog, and i'm glad that i did. i follow many animal sites on facebook, and have been thinking of fostering for quite some time- but, i think i would "fail" as you did... i know i'd keep them all. perhaps i will volunteer as you do, once i move. anyway, just wanted to say thanks for showing what life in austin is like. i'm beyond excited!

    xx, brittany

    1. Hi Brittany! Thanks for stopping by. You'll love Austin and all the fun things there are to do. If you're interested in animals- we have plenty of opportunities for helping out our homeless animal population. From volunteering to fostering, and even just walking/jogging dogs around the Town Lake Trail. Hope you have a stress free move, and feel free to ask any questions about the city.