Guest Blogger: Geneva is a hardworking college English major, volunteer, and (now!) first-time foster.
Having been working behind the scenes for TXHR as a grant writer for a little over two years now, I had always admired our fosters who would take emaciated and abandoned pups and turn them into happy, healthy, and adoptable dogs. With every intake announcement, my family would look at those sweet faces and say “Gosh, I wish we were in a position to foster.” Well, almost a year into the pandemic, an adorable blue-eyed face popped onto our screen, and we agreed to take him in. He sounded like an amazing dog: older, good with other dogs, cats, kids. A dream, basically. And his name was Bucky.
Despite being an awesome dog, my family knew we were still in for a ride with our first foster. When Bucky first came home from the vet, he was a bit of a mess. The poor boy was frantic. However, we had an incredible amount of support from our rescue friends, and they recommended something that changed the entire dynamic of the house and probably saved us a few grey hairs: decompression.
Essentially, for the first 3-4 days, the foster dog should be kept in his crate (with potty and walk breaks, of course) and just be left alone. It was hard to do at first when he whimpered and flashed those pouty puppy-dog eyes, but even though it may not be what he wanted at the time, it was certainly what he needed. Before we knew it, that hyper anxious dog was out like a light – a trend which has continued to this day. No extra exercise, medications, or destroyed furniture necessary.
Giving him the place and opportunity to “turn-off” has really let Bucky’s true personality come through: happy, affectionate, and quite the snuggle bug. It also made his general training easier – he is now able to focus more so on his handler and less on everything else around him. Today marks one week since he has been in our home and we could not say enough great things about him. We’re still learning new things about him and working on getting his leash manners just right, but suffice to say, whoever gets to adopt this precious boy is in for a treat. And a decompression period, of course 😉