Friday, October 14, 2011


Pretty soon many things will be changing here at the foster home. Recently something happened that made us re-evaluate how things were being handled in our house & as a family we have come to the decision that we can no longer keep fosters in our actual house. At the present time our cats have access to the 3 bedrooms & a hallway (portioned off with double baby gates/cat door opened when we are home); our seniors have access to either the living room or kitchen/dining area depending on where Ciera is( portioned off with baby gates); Pauley can go back & forth (with our help) with either dogs (dogs are rotated so that everyone gets attention); Shirley and her puppies are in the family room(portioned off with 2 deep double baby gates making it necessary to enter room from outside of home). As you can imagine it is very difficult to go from room to room in our house & cooking & cleaning & especially doing laundry (in family room) is pretty much exhausting! Sometimes just getting to a bathroom is a work out. We would still be willing to live with this arrangement except for the fact that Pauley has been exhibiting unsavory behavior recently & when we requested that a trainer make a home visit to see what might be causing the behavior, it was apparent to the trainer right off the bat that Pauley is feeding off of Ciera’s fear of strangers & then in turn, Ciera is feeding off of Pauley’s excitement making both of their behaviors worse. We are also guilty of being push overs & that makes it double worse.We are working with a wonderful trainer who is helping us better understand what is going on with our love bug, Pauley. To sum it up briefly, he is getting too big for his britches, but with training (on our part), we know that all will work out. We love Ciera and are committed to helping her until she can find her very own perfect for her forever family, but we have to put our personal dogs first (believe it or not it still is a tough decision). The grouchy old ladies have also informed us that after 2 years & over 70 fosters, they are sick of it. Our solution is that we are presently having a small house-like structure built just for our foster dogs! The dog mahal (as my step-dad calls it) will have 3 permanent enclosures (with beds & toys) & then will have one common area that we will (set up like a living room) be able to spend time with the pups in. The foster dogs will have their own fenced yard to play in & will also be able to play in the large yard when we are home & our dogs are inside. We are going to make the place as homey and comfortable as we can on our very small budget. If it was not for my step-dad donating his time, patience & talent, none of it would be possible as we are in NO way capable of building anything.  Ciera and Pauley will still be allowed to play with each other, but will no longer be spending their nights together. Oh how those two love each other! Not only will this allow my family & I to go back to having a somewhat normal (normal for us anyways) house with only 3 dogs & 3 cats inside (the other 2 insist on staying outside & have gone through windows to prove it), but the animals will be able to access a larger part of our home  & therefore not get on each other’s nerves as much AND the fosters will not have to worry about either of the grouchy old ladies putting them in their place for playing & having fun. We will also be able add another foster to the bunch! Another plus is that the fenced area for the fosters is adjacent to the wooded lot next door opposed to being adjacent to the house with the toddler meaning that we will not always have to be outside with the dogs when they are outside as we have been doing. Have I mentioned how tired I am?. If anyone has any suggestions for fun things we can put in the foster house, send them our way. How does Pauley feel about all of this?
We think he will be okay!

The Foster Family


Kari in Vegas said...

It sounds to me like a well thought out decision


Jean said...

While my personal preference is for fosters to be integrated into family life inside the home, I understand completely the need for this decision in your case and applaud the extent of your efforts to ensure the fosters will still have a 'home like' environment.

My one suggestion would be to figure out a way that you can bring the fosters into the home for a couple of hours on a regular basis (every couple of days) so they learn about people smells, kitchens, household chaos, ordinary everyday household noise and motion.

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

We have really struggled with this decision & know that it is going to be especially tough on Ciera as she has been with us for several months already. We are actually going to do some re-arranging inside the home so that what you suggested, will be possible :)

Anonymous said...

that is AWESOME! It's like the Bad Rap barn! A shiba rescue I support is also building a six-home-like kennel structure for foster dogs.

They are putting a small cushioned chair, a kuranda bed in each kennel. They also are collecting donated kongs and bully sticks for a twice daily stimulant for each dog.

I love these "dog mahal" plans, brilliant!

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

The Sanctuary director of which Silverwalk is a division is coming out this afternoon to evaluate my pasture and barn for more dogs not in the house. I am not accustomed to "outdoor" dogs so this may be very different. I do know Justus, my coming 2 year old hound/Dobie mix gets a little big for his britches with some of the adoptables, so I appreciate your intervention with Pauley's behavior and decreasing the size of your in-home pack :) Kudos!

Two Pitties in the City said...

It amazes me how devoted you are, and I think it does sound like a good compromise to still let the pooches have the benefits of a foster environment, while making sure you and your family are still comfortable. Just having 1 foster is a huge deal for us, so I do applaud everything you're able to do.

chandra said...

More than 70 fosters in two years?! You guys are rock stars and you deserve the Taj Mahal! I love the idea of the Dog Mahal and your stepdad is SO awesome for building it for your family!

-Chandra at Daley's Dog Years

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

Jen, we can only dream of having a cool place like the Bad Rap Barn :) We are starting out very basic & will add things as we go.

Roberta, I hope all went well with the inspections. We are very conflicted about having dogs outdoors, but in order to keep fostering, I do not know of any other way. I have threatened that maybe I will just move out to the foster house :)

Two Pitties & Chandra, thank you. We have had to slow way down this past year, but hope to be able to help more in the future.

Lauren @ Life With Desmond said...

i think you have to do what you have to do sometimes, and that's always a hard decision. i don't get the impression that you would just leave the dogs to rot in their little house, never to interact in a home situation again, so i don't see much to worry about in that regard.

we recently had to stop volunteering at a shelter because desmond's leash reactivity and jealousy issues got out of hand. we feel terrible about it, but he just has to come first.

good luck with moving everything around!