I had a great experience with my first long-term foster. Previously, I had fostered puppies, which are easy, in my opinion – they are fun and get adopted quickly. Rio is the first adult dog I’ve fostered, and he spent five months with me.
He grew up with at least one littermate and his mother in relative isolation. The three of them were kept in a run for a long period of time, where their male owner only visited a few times a week. By the time they were surrendered to a shelter, they were living fairly wildly in a backyard with the ex-wife of the owner. Rio was so poorly socialized that the wife thought he was deaf. He wouldn’t make eye contact with humans, and he trembled in new environments.
Over the next months, I worked on encouraging eye contact and human touch and just helping him acclimate to living as an inside dog. He had to overcome his fear of doors and get used to various noises, using a doggy door, being brushed and crated (for housetraining purposes), among other things. But I never thought it was anything but a joy to have him live with me and my two dogs. It was so rewarding to see him gain confidence and trust. I miss him terribly but know that he will continue to thrive in his new forever home.
Lovely Rio A little wild but mostly acquiescent. Pointed white nose poking cautiously through the dog door. Little pouches where your smile is hidden. Shy eyes gaining confidence. Sleepy brow. Stretching full out, back paws flipping over. Bouncy gait. Play bows. Racing around the yard with gleeful athleticism.