My Fostering Experience

A little over a year ago I decided I wanted to foster a dog. I wasn’t sure if it would match our lifestyle, and my heart was still aching from my past mistake of adopting a cat too soon (she’s happily living with Husband’s mum now).

Immediately after defending my Masters, I started hunting for the perfect foster dog. My preferences and living situation made it difficult because I lived in an apartment but didn’t want a small dog.

After a few weeks of searching, a posting caught my eye. It was a photo of this thin dog who looked skeptical about life in general. The thing that really caught my eye the most was that her name was Cricket – it rhymed so uncannily with our cat’s, Briskit. It’s cheesy, but it gave me that “it’s meant to be” feeling.

Cricket the black dog in her kennel.
The vet’s photo of her after she was spayed, but fresh off a First Nations reserve.

It just so happened that on mine and Husband’s 6th year dating anniversary, we unintentionally celebrated by welcoming Cricket into our lives. Husband rushed back from a semester-long stay in Toronto so that we could meet this dog together.

I remember my heart pounding as I stared at the closed door in the vet’s office. They were getting the dog. We were going to meet the dog. This was happening.

The door opened and a small black face curiously peered around the doorframe. As soon as she saw us though, she quickly pulled back, scared. But the vet pulled her in, and shut the door so that we could have our meet and greet.

There was no official diagnosis, but I’m sure that during her first many weeks with us, Cricket had depression. She moped in her [open] crate all day, laying still for hours and not even bothering to sniff the treat we gave her. The vet warned us that we might have to carry her on her walks, and they were absolutely right. Husband had to haul her out of her crate (sometimes she’d go right back in), and she’d randomly lie down during her walk. I remember one of the neighbours laughing at us as they watched Husband carry this black medium sized healthy-looking dog all the way home from the park (thank you, love).

Depressed black dog ignoring treat.
It took a few weeks before she nibbled on it slightly.

She was a low energy dog that kept to herself so much, it was easy to forget she was there. So when she finally came to us for affection, it was a calm affair but in my mind, the celebration was intense. We were sitting on the floor after a walk (it became routine to try to make ourselves be as un-intimidating as possible) when she slowly walked over to us and stood. So I petted her cautiously, containing my excitement. When I stopped, she pivoted on the spot but made it clear that she was asking for Husband to pet her. He did. And when he stopped, she pivoted back to me. This happened a few more times until she was done and went back to her crate. She didn’t wag her tail once, and she never faced us directly, but we knew it was a HUGE step.

Fostering a heartworm positive dog is a trick. The night she got her big injection, she reacted very negatively. She kept vomiting, she was weak, she was restless. We were new dog owners, we didn’t know what to do. We carried her out into the grass and waited with her at 2 am in the morning. When she looked more stable, we cautiously took a short nap and brought her back outside at 4 am, just in case she needed it. I remember sleeping very poorly because I woke at any small sound, worried that it was her. First thing the next morning, we rushed her to the vet. And the trick is, once you worry so much for a living thing, that’s it, you’re attached for good. It doesn’t make sense to let anyone else worry for her. She’s YOURS to worry over.

It’s a trick I am so grateful to have fallen for, because I have no regrets and I would not have otherwise known my heart could be this full of love.

One year later, our Cricket has learned about 20 tricks, and we’ve started to move on to learning nouns. : ] When she wants attention now she will throw herself at our feet and beckon us with her crazy paw. She still stops wagging when we pet her, but will anxiously lick/nose our hand for more cuddles when we stop. She’s a silent dog except for when she plays (so much ferocious growling!), and she pays much more attention to humans than to other dogs. She is naturally well-behaved, and is only mischievous when she’s scheming for cuddles.

Cricket, the black dog, looking up expectantly.
Always, always begging for cuddles.

A little over a month ago, she was certified as a therapy dog. Every week we go to the library so that children can practice their reading to us. I am immensely proud of her, since every time we go, she has to face SO many things that scare her. A “busy” downtown street, automatic doors, a large echo-y building, a lot a lot of strangers at once… And never once have I had to carry her in.







20 thoughts on “My Fostering Experience

  1. YOU are awesome to do this. Cricket is very lucky to have found you to foster her and now has joined your family! The world needs more fosters and more good people to love the unwanted. So many treat animals like objects, when they tire of them they toss them. WE forget animals (domesticated) rely on us. I have fostered many and many have stayed (the harder ones to adopt out). I currently have 14 fur babies. I am thankful I have the resources to care for them all. I’m glad Cricket is with someone that is loving and has patience. Well done on rehabilitating her! I appreciate what you’ve done! Happy New Year to you and your family! All the best, Koko :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! You are absolutely amazing! I have one low-energy dog and I feel like that’s all I’d be able to handle. But you have 14! That’s absolutely wonderful! They’re all so lucky to have you! : )

      I bumped into an article today, I don’t remember specifics, but it made me really happy! Apparently there are a handful of cities in the US (hopefully one day it will be a handful of COUNTRIES) that have passed a law that forces pet stores to only have rescue animals available. Made my day! : )

      Hope your New Year has started off splendidly! Sorry I got to your comment so late!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Life happens… never apologize for late responses! Hahaha. Really, life has to come first. Having a lot of pets is such a big responsibility and many times I have little time for myself. It can be trying. Like I can’t really leave for an extended time and vacations are out. Though I was able to go to California for two weeks. First time in like five years! My daughter came over and watched them. Have a wonderful rest of your week. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Last October, I started to foster a dog. I’ve always wanted a dog. We (fiance and I) held back because Briskit didn’t like dogs. But now she’s gone, and I was finished my academic studies. It was the perfect lull in our lives to test drive my fantasies of dog ownership, and it was the perfect situation to do it no-strings-attached (I didn’t want to repeat my mistake with Briskit). Of course, the strings were that you and the dog were most absolutely going to fall in love with each other. […]


  3. ah! as if i didn’t already have dog fever, now i REAAALLY have it!!! I always said if I get a dog i want to rescue one #adoptnotshop for sure! I find it so sweet when people rescue dogs, just loving and nurturing them that’s all they want in life just as us humans do. Cricket is so precious and surely a lucky pup- Im sure she appreciate you more than anything!

    xo, JJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. : ) : ) Thank you for the nice comment!

      In honesty, the plan was to foster a dog for a few months just to test the waters. I’ve never had a dog before, so I wanted to see if I even liked the lifestyle. Unfortunately her heartworm treatment has taken over a year, so we’ve bonded too much to give her back (a super duper thick silver, golden, platinum lining. :p).

      Will you get a dog any time soon? : ) Maybe now that you’re just living with Andrew instead of with a bunch of roommates…. c:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh absolutely the relationship between a dog and their owners are as powerful and strong as parents to their baby- I’m sure Cricket was just as happy as you with that decision :) and YESSS, I want to so bad, luckily Andrew also has dog fever so I’m thinking sooner than later! ha And if things couldnt work out even more perfectly our apartment building is dog friendly- no reason not to at this point!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. It was quite heartwarming to read. It really does sound like depression, and maybe what we sometimes call chronic fatigue in people. I couldn’t help but think your care is also what people with depression need. Close friends who can just spend time near them (sitting on the floor with them as a metaphor) without judgement and snap out of it kind of comments. That animals can suffer from depression and malaise should really open our eyes to it having real physical effects. Your kindness might just be to one dog in this case, but for that one dog you changed the whole world and his whole life. And I’m so impressed 😆

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww, thank you for such a wonderful comment! You’re right, she definitely opened our eyes to what it can be like to suffer from depression! But as patient and nonjudgmental as we’ve been with her, she’s been the same with us. As I’ve mentioned, we are first time dog owners – she patiently tolerated us as we learned how to trim her claws, how to read her body language, how to read the dynamics between dogs, how to best teach her commands+tricks…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cricket is so beautiful! Your little family has been through a lot with her already, but you are amazing parents! It’s crazy how much pups become like our little children. I love that you rescued her too. Thanks for sharing this story with us, Afrilly <3

    Liked by 2 people

    1. like children: Oh my goodness, yes. Can’t even leave them alone for a day! …But to her credit, Crick’s a young dog with a really really old soul. She’s too mature to get worked up about anything.

      Thank /you/ for reading it! : ) How’s Spanky T doing??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is seriously the cutest! She’s too precious. Also she makes me want to get a little pup here soon. Our apartment allows them soooo maybe I can convince the hubs?! Spanky — LOL— he is doing so well. We joke that he is getting more confident by the day. He used to just hide in his barrel, but now he will come out when we feed him. We may have forgot to feed him a couple times (WHOOPS), horrible parents. Anyways I need to stop rambling- have such a good weekend, dear!

        Liked by 1 person

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