Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My first fostering experience

It was past midnight when we picked up Sanuk, the first dog that I ever fostered. When I first saw her, she reminded me of a gangly teenager with her long legs and rather clumsy movements.

My dog, Monster, didn’t like Sanuk on sight. I made the mistake of introducing the 2 girls in Monster’s territory instead of bringing her downstairs onto neutral ground for their first meeting. Monster sniffed at Sanuk suspiciously and making up her mind that she didn’t like the newcomer’s presence, she growled and barked non-stop. All this was happening at 1.30am in the morning! I was so afraid that my neighbours would come knocking.

Initially, Sanuk was very shy and timid. She zeroed in under my bed and refused to come out despite my coaxing. After a while, I gave up, switched off the lights and tried to get some rest.

It was quite a comical situation. Nervous being in a strange new place, Sanuk constantly poked her head out from below my bed and twisted her neck around to peep at me. Catching sight of Sanuk’s head, Monster would start barking and Sanuk automatically retreated back under the bed. This cat and mouse game went on the whole night.

By morning, Monster had still not warmed up to Sanuk. She was jealous whenever Sanuk came near me and would growl her immense displeasure. However, Sanuk seemed to have gotten used to me and seemed happy to just ignore Monster. After a hearty breakfast of milk and a packet of Cesar’s, she was happily dashing about - sniffing and investigating different corners of the house.

I spent the morning bathing both dogs. Monster was a breeze. Sanuk, however, got a fright at her very first bath. She yelped, jumped and clawed at my toilet door, as if trying to escape from the ‘torture’. After that, it was an entire day of toilet-training and letting the two girls adjust to each other. Sanuk was a smart girl and learnt pretty fast. By the 2nd day, she ran straight for the papers whenever she needed to pee or poop.

Of course, there were still “accidents” during the nights. As there were no newspapers in my room, she would do her business anywhere on the floor and I’d wake up to the “aroma” every morning. Despite already being rather big in size, I had to keep reminding myself that she was still a puppy. Eventually, she lived up to her “street-smart” credits as a mongrel! Within the first week, she learnt to nudge me to open my room door for her if she needed to do her business. When she wanted to come back in again, she would paw my door. I was amazed at her intelligence!

Since then, Monster and Sanuk bonded really well. They played together, slept together and ate together. Both of them were practically inseparable. When it was time for us to part as Sanuk was going to a new home, both Monster and I missed her presence dearly. Monster became unusually quiet during the first few nights. It is quite fortunate that Sanuk’s home is a short distance away and both Monster and I look forward to visiting her almost every weekend.

Sanuk & Kori - Sisters that have been adopted to forever homes

*Article contributed by Suzanne, a first time fosterer

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