Thursday, March 31, 2011


I have to say: Lilly was one of my worst/most difficult fosters. Probably my least favourite, but I still loved her. It was more to do with the fact I couldn't figure out a way to help her get better. More on that in a second.

She came from the States, Ohio or Kentucky (where we always took dogs from), but I don't remember which. She came with another dog, a giant hairy beast. We met the transport just off the highway. I brought Callie along to be sure this new dog wasn't going to act silly towards her. I was shocked when the dog just barked barked barked at Callie and I. It wasn't really a nice bark either, and to be honest I was a little intimidated. We walked them around for what seemed like forever - wrong decision to wear a pair of skimpy flats on a surprisingly cold day - but this new dog just didn't relent. I was given the choice to switch for the giant friendly dog, whose first time foster home didn't have a resident dog but did have a lot of visiting canines. We walked around some more and finally I decided to let Callie decide.Callie has a pretty decent ability figure out strange dogs and I trusted her judgement. Plus, she was off-leash and the other dog wasn't - which gave her quick feet an easy get away if she felt threatened. I unclipped her and to my surprise Cal strolled right up to the new dog and the barking ceased. There was obvious leash aggression the entire time but once Cal was free and the new dogs leash was loosened everything was fine. So did I take the giant, friendly dog (my fav kind!) and let this slightly aggressive dog go to a first type foster home? Five minutes later, Callie, new dog, Ryan and I were on our way home. I don't tend to make the best decisions when a dogs life lies in my hands. 

Her name on her papers was Lauren. I hated it. Ryan hated it. Pretty sure Lauren hated it. Never been a fan of regular people names for dogs, although some will say "Hey, Callie is a people name.." but I didn't name her, so shut up! She was "Callie the Collie" (she's not a Collie but oh well) and I didn't change it because she already was getting the hang of her name. Lauren on the other hand had no idea what her name was, so Ryan suggested Lilly and it stuck. It was a pretty girls name for a really pretty water dog, it was nice. I think Lil was possibly a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Same sort of personality and she has sort of curly brown hair and a white feet.

She was very cute. Loved to cuddle and be petted. She had a bit of orange in her coat when we got her but to my surprise it went away after a while on a decent quality food. She loved the water so I went out and got a long flexi-leash so she could go in without dragging me with her. She loved Callie. Occasionally she'd get a little too bossy when they were playing and a fight would break out. Never any serious bites, just a lot of  barking and snapping and three seconds later they were chasing each other around again. I had enormous trouble when it came to walking Lilly. She wasn't a puller and she was great with people but god forbid a dog crossed out path. I attempted the whole calm and cool thing and most dogs were fine as long as Lilly didn't get the chance to pull on the leash towards them. If the dog was off-leash, super friendly, or ignored her, she was fine. All hell broke loose when the on-coming dog was in any way dominate towards either of my dogs. I worked with her and off-leash she was great. A bit rough so I was never really comfortable with small dogs - although they didn't seem to mind- but she was doing better. I had bought her a muzzle to get myself more comfortable and it worked. I'd give her a good walk and then would muzzle her and let her off leash with other dogs. The moment she stopped pawing at her muzzle and try to play with another dog I'd take the muzzle off and she was fine. The same soon happened when she was on leash. She wasn't perfect, and I had to control every move, but she was better. 

Eventually Ryan and I decided to move to Toronto after we both graduated and Ryan found a good job. We hadn't had any applications for Lilly and it was going to be quite a difficult situation to move Lilly with us. I hate having a dog move home to home but fostering from two hours away is a little difficult. Luckily for me, my friends little sister - the same one who gave me Skipper - was ready to foster again for the summer. We arranged everything and I went over every last detail we had been working on and she accepted the challenge. Lilly eventually found the right home, but it took a few more months in foster care until the right one came along. Lilly was an experience that I'm glad I had. It made me realize I need a lot more work myself if fostering is something I'm going to continue to do.Throw a shy dog at me and I'll show you a dog who just needs a little guidance. I think I just need more experience ;-) 

No comments:

Post a Comment