Foster Day 28: Spencer Gets His First Meet and Greet

On Sunday, I got to take my sweet foster baby to the shelter for his first meet and greet with a potential adopter. I was so proud of Spencer. He didn’t shy away one time and kept coming right up to the PA (potential adopter). Because Spence is a shy boy and didn’t always like to be touched in the shelter, our training staff person just had him play a game of treat/retreat with him. Treat/retreat is a game that allows the dog establish trust in people and teaches a better way of handling his or her conflicts and fear. While playing this game he or she chooses how far or how close to approach. Everybody wins in this game. I think Spencer ate the whole bag of treats thoguh. He’s such a foodie!!

What I observed was him choosing to come right up to his PA which is a beautiful thing. He didn’t seem to carry any fear with him and was eager to interact. I knew he would welcome the interaction when he brought his toy over to him and tried to drop it in his lap. Spence didn’t use to like to give up his toys but he has been learning that when he drops his toys, his human will throw it and he gets to play chase. Watching him trying to engage the PA made my heart so happy.

How Spencer plays ball!

I think Spencer would have accepted pets. In my home he has encountered my husband, 3 adult sons, my son-in-law, my daughter, my two daughter-in-laws and my two grandchildren (limited contact with the kids). He seems to warm up very quickly to attention now. He greets everyone at the door and sniffs their hands. Once when my grandson came out of the office to ask me a question for his online schooling, Spence went right up to him and sniffed his hand. My grandson wanted to pet him so bad. He said, “Grandma, he wants me to pet him.” I have permission now to allow contact and Liam got to pet Spencer for the first time yesterday. Spence was so good. He just stood there and allowed the contact.

The other day the mailman came up to the porch and Spence did not like it one bit. I thought oh gee another mailman hater. My boxer pit wants to eat the mailman. I think he was just protecting his home. It was the first time he jumped on my couch.

Spenser has his next meet and greet in my home on Sunday. So excited to see how that goes but I think it will be great. After that it will be back up at the shelter for a dog to dog meet and greet with the PA’s roommate. So hoping Spence will like her. He came to the shelter with a female dog so I’m hoping he accepts her.

I love watching Spencer play on his back with his toys. It makes me feel like he is a very happy boy.

Spencer is 2 years old and has been at the Shelter since June 2020. He came in as a stray. He needs to have multiple meet and greets with potential adopters, in a home with no children. He’s not mean to them but he likes tug of war and doesn’t like to give his toy up. If adopters have other dogs there must be a meet and greet between dogs. He is well worth the investment. You can read more of his details and see his amazing video at https://kcpetproject.org/animal-details/?aid=44882776&cid=11&tid=Dog#.Xz1oGWyS

Foster Day 25: Spencer Learns “Down”.

My sweet little foster boy is really adjusting to the non sheltered life. The last four days Spence has been able to come upstairs (or when I hang out in the basement with him) to relax. He is no longer trying to play 24/7 tug of war. He is realizing it’s ok to just lay down on the floor and go to sleep, chew on a bone, or chew on his toy. He isn’t trying to forever engage me anymore. He’s learning that life isn’t all about the tug.

He does however spend a lot of time with his upper body in my lap. He’s becoming quite the mommy’s boy. He is so loyal to the people he loves. He tries to jump in foster daddy’s lap but because he can’t just lay down without giving kisses and wanting to play, daddy says no. But he gives him tons of love and pets on the floor hahahaha.

When we play ball, I will tell him I’m not throwing it until you drop it. He has gotten so good at dropping it now and allowing me to pick it up without grabbing it back. He does from time to time regress to the old way but I will firmly tell him to leave it and the ball becomes mine. Yesterday he finally got the concept of “down”. Oh my gosh I was so proud of him. Down is a very important command for him because he will get the zoomies and I have to say down and sometime put him in that submissive side position for him to settle. He’s still a puppy in so many ways but he is learning. You just have to be patient and firm with him.

Learning “Down”

The closer he gets to me the more he doesn’t like when I leave him downstairs or in his crate. He will bark a few time but usually stop. Sometimes I will speak to him from the camera and last night and the day before, he laid down on command. He’s a perfect boy after that and will stay asleep until I come get him in the morning.

Spencer is 2 years old and has been at the Shelter since June 2020. He came in as a stray. He needs to have multiple meet and greets with potential adopters, in a home with no children. He’s not mean to them but he likes tug of war and doesn’t like to give his toy up. If adopters have other dogs there must be a meet and greet between dogs. He is well worth the investment. You can read more of his details and see his amazing video at https://kcpetproject.org/animal-details/?aid=44882776&cid=11&tid=Dog#.Xz1oGWyS

The Reward and Challenges of Fostering

The rewards of fostering are pretty obvious. You’re giving a dog the chance to live and the time to grow into the good boy you know in your gut he is. You’re given an opportunity to prepare him for his forever home through training that he might never had before or you’re reinforcing what he has already learned. I won’t have this opportunity again for many years. I have two boxers of my own and two small grand kids that demand a lot of my attention which leads me to my challenges.

My grand kids stay with me while mom and dad are working which means I am monitoring my grandson online schooling, making sure he does his homework and trying to keep my three year old busy. Then there’s the coordinating of outside time since I have to keep my dogs and grandchildren separate from Spencer and my neighbors dogs. I have some what of a schedule but it varies depending on life happening. I’m trying to spend time with my dogs and they are having to adjust to Spencer time by staying in my room. I feel a bit guilty and they might be getting fatter with the extra treats I give them as I shut the door to my room. I could hang out in my basement with Spencer but then my husband gets neglected (I’m neglecting my hubby right now hahah). He’s on vacation right now but when he goes back I will be able to do more basement time and my dogs won’t have to be put in my room. My days of sleeping in are over. Maybe by the end of the day I’ll be so exhausted that insomnia will not strike and I can actually get a good nights sleep. I drop my grand kids off at their home after school and run any errands I might have, then head back to their house for an hour til mom gets home. It’s a lot of work but I would do it over and over for my boy Spencer cause he deserves to live a full and happy life.

I’ve been watching as this sweet boy is learning to love with hugs and kisses more often. Sometimes he just wants to shower me with kisses and I have to gently push him down and still show him love and affection. He has become such an affectionate little boy and even towards my husband now. He likes to climb in your lap with his front legs and just be a big baby. I have to remember sometimes that he is a puppy still in a big dog body. Just today as I was trying to write this blog, he must have climbed in my lap 6 times. I finally had to be firm and tell him off. I think I hurt his feelings but even so he went over to the floor rug, dragged it over to me and laid down next to my chair. This boy just loves to be with his human.

I moved him out of my doggie den into the basement. It’s pretty big so he has a lot of room to roam and play. I noticed that he really doesn’t play much when he’s alone. It seems that he’s only interested in play when we are together, Even though he can entertain himself, he prefers human contact or presence. I tried leaving his kennel open to see where he would sleep and he automatically go to the kennel which is great. Only problem with that is that he pooped on the carpet I have laid out on the floor. So tonight going to have to lock his kennel door as we work on that. He knows it’s bad from the way he reacts when I say, “Spencer this is bad.” I’ll keep his door shut for a few days then try again.

Every day he is getting better at sharing his toys with me. Sometimes he will drop his toy in my lap and I don’t realize it until I look up and he is sitting patiently waiting for me to pick it up and throw it. He has learned that I will not play with him until he releases his toys. I play tug with him once a day and today I finally won. That is a rarity. Instead of him taking his victory lap, I got to take mine. Tonight before bed time we are going to try no toys before bed as he gets the zoomies in the evening. I am giving a bone to chew on though to keep him occupied and maybe mellow him out a little at night.

When he doesn’t have toys he likes to cuddle but sometimes he gets too affectionate with kisses and I have to push him down. We are going to work on being invited to sit in laps, so as he grows away from his shyness, he won’t be jumping all over everyone. My husband is way better then me at that.

Spencer is growing so much. He’s very smart. We are working on shake and down. It’s kind of funny cause he looks at me like, “ummmm you know you look silly right and I don’t want my tummy to touch the floor. I want to play!” I tried to coax him into the tub today for a bath but he wasn’t having it. I even put a cherished ball in there. I may have to give him a bath outside.

I mentioned before that he isn’t reactive with my neighbors dogs. He just ignores them but the last two days he has lunged toward the fence when I’m outside. He can’t get there because the yard leash won’t reach but I had to walk over to him and tell him it was ok. It’s really not his fault as the other dog is constantly baiting him but I don’t want him to do that. I don’t know if he was protecting me or showing me he was a big bad dog. My Jewels does the same thing.

My hope was to blog every day but since I’m doing school and fostering it seems my days are pretty full and I have to try and do it in pieces. So this has encompassed the last 5 days.

I’ve had three people inquire about him but no follow thru yet. I pray every day that the perfect adopter will come his way and that they will bond as quickly as he and I have.

One of the greatest rewards of fostering is sending your dog off to his fur ever life. The challenge is finding that perfect person. I get my hopes up every time someone inquires about him and then my heart breaks when I don’t hear back. I haven’t had the opportunity to even show him off yet. Hoping that changes soon. My biggest fear is having to send him back to the shelter life when my temporary fostering is up.

Spencer is 2 years old and has been at the Shelter since June 2020. He came in as a stray. He needs to have multiple meet and greets with potential adopters, in a home with no children and if adopters have other dogs there must be a meet and greet between dogs. He is well worth the investment. You can read more of his details and see his amazing video at https://kcpetproject.org/animal-details/?aid=44882776&cid=11&tid=Dog#.Xz1oGWyS

Foster Day Two and Three: Spencer’s Perfect!

Day two and three started at 8:00am with potty/poop time and then breakfast. When I walk into his bachelor’s pad, he is always in his kennel in a state of relaxation and smiles when he sees me. That boy sure loves to eat!! I have treats and toys up on the shelf and when he wants a treat he will sit and stare up at the box. He’s so smart. He knows exactly how to work me.

We’ve continued to work on sit, stay, ready, go get and ut uh. He is doing so good at it. There are times I have to tell him sit a couple of times but for the most part, he’s quick to obey. He gets better every day at dropping his ball at my feet and letting me pick it up now. Yesterday He didn’t jump at it when I reached to grab the ball. I try to play ball with him every day and give him water play. He sure loves the sprinkler. I had to cut that time a little shorter as he pulled the sprinkler up out of the ground. Stinker!!!

Spencer loves toys but he will eventually destroy them. It takes him a whole day but he’s pretty determined. He will climb up into my lap to try and engage me in some tug but I avoid that for right now. I am trying to teach him to let me have the toy and to touch it. He will let me touch it now but still wants to play tug. A couple of times yesterday he dropped it at my side which is progress. He also pretty much entertains himself when I won’t tug with him and when he’s by himself. I have a camera in the pad and keep and eye on him.

Every day Spence is becoming more and more affectionate not only with me but my family as well. He warms up quickly especially if they give him treats. He climb right up on the couch and let my son(adult) pet him. Made my heart so happy to see him accepting some love. He likes my hubby too but will still shy away if he reaches out to pet him so he is letting Spence come to him on his own time. He does wag his tail though when he speaks to him. Once he comes to them on his own though, my family is able to give him some love. When my daughter-in-laws comes through the door he goes right up to her to sniff but he doesn’t bark or act fearful. She doesn’t engage him as she is not really a big dog person. Lol. I think he has barked one time since he’s been here and that was in the bachelor pad when he heard something outside. Oh and the boy loves to shower me with kisses!! When outside filling and hanging hummingbird feeders, he came right up to my husband for some pets and my husband walked him around the backyard. It was really cute.

He seems to enjoy is outside time. I have him on a 25 ft yard leash because the boy can jump pretty high. He’s become my little shadow and although I don’t think he will jump the fence, because this is new to all of us, I don’t want to risk it. He will lay in the sun for a bit then explore or do his business, all the while though watching for me through the window. He would rather be with me but he’s so good. He doesn’t bark, whine or cry just waits patiently for mommy and son time. My dogs watch him through the window and there has been no reactivity on either side. When my neighbor lets his dogs out, Spence will head in that direction but the leash doesn’t allow him to get to the fence. He does not bark at them and pretty much ignores them when he realizes he can’t get close. My boxer mix is really interested in him and would probably want to play with him and he seems ok with her from the other side of the window.

When he wanders into the kitchen all I have to do is call him and he comes running. So far he hasn’t tried to get into anything but the toy box. He does enjoy exploring though. Spencer is an amazing dog and I just can’t hardly wait to see who he picks as his forever parent. I’m so glad he is allowing me to be his temporary mommy.

Spencer is 2 years old and has been at the Shelter since June 2020. He came in as a stray. He needs to have multiple meet and greets with potential adopters, in a home with no children and if adopters have other dogs there must be a meet and greet between dogs. He is well worth the investment. You can read more of his details and see his aazing video at https://kcpetproject.org/animal-details/?aid=44882776&cid=11&tid=Dog#.Xz1oGWyS

Foster Day One:Spencers Bachelor Life

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Someone pinch me. Did I really just bring my shelter crush home? You might think I’m crazy but I believe this was meant to be. No other time in my life has this happened or probablly will happen again for a long time. A window of opportunity opened up and I climbed through it!!! Hubby wasn’t thrilled but was very supportive because of the bond I have with this ray of sunshine dog.

Spence made himself right at home. I’ll get back to that in a second. On our way home, I stopped at Starbucks and got a pup cup for my special boy and a Venti Green Tea Frappe with no whip for me. He knew exacty where we were and what he was getting. The boy is really smart and doesn’t forget. After he devoured or slurpped his pup cup we headed to McDonalds for cheeseburgers. Don’t you love his whipped cream mustache? Oh, and just because you buy him more hamburgers then you buy for yourself, don’t think for one moment you’re gonna get to eat the whole thing. He eats way faster!!

We were going to go to the park first but I just got so excited for him to see his new and improved bachelor pad that we just headed home. The first thing he did was to walk right into his kennel to check it out. I think he was pleased because when I leave him to enjoy the whole den to himself, he goes to sleep in his kennel.

After lunch we had outside play time. As I was filling up the pool, he started jumping at the water coming out of the hose. Who knew he liked water? He never got near the pools at the shelter except to get a drink. He had so much fun.

A little later we played catch. Spencer would bring the ball back to me and drop it at my feet, waiting for me to pick it up and throw it. I had been playing at the shelter all week and instructing him to sit and wait while I picked up the ball because before that you had to throw two balls to get one to throw. The boy is smart! He’s not perfect at it yet but shows real promise.

I keep him on my 25 foot yard leash because the boy can jump so high into the air and I don’t want him to be tempted to try that with my fence. I don’t think he would leave me because he is quite my shadow but I don’t want to take any chances on day one. My neighbor let his dog out and he was trying to instigate Spencer to run the fence with him. Spencer headed toward the fence but the leash doesn’t reach and he couldn’t go. After that try he could care less about the dog next door. He totally ignored him. My dogs stood at the sliding glass door and just stared at Spencer. There was no reactivity on either parts. I was thrilled with this because I didn’t want to have to lock my girls up. My son and son-in-law bring thier dogs over all the time and my girls love them. I think they would love Spencer too but it’s too soon to even think about it since Spence requires dog to dog visits at the shelter.

Jewels Bees and Cady Rein staring out the window at Spencer.

The training staff at the shelter have been doing muzzle training because of Spencer’s shy and fearfulness, so we took a walk in my neighborhood to see how he would do. I had absolutely no trouble getting the muzzle on. He shook his head twice once it was secured but after that it was as if nothing were different. Good job, Spence!!!!

In the evening when the grandkids went to bed, Spence got to come in the house and meet my husband and just have some family time. He went right up to my husband who was holding out treats for him. We didn’t initiate petting because we wanted him to make the choice. When my daughter-in-law walked in the front door, he went right up to her and sniffed her hands hahahahah. There were no signs of fear or shyness. After that he climbed into my lap for a few minutes of snuggle time and kisses.

I put Spence back in the doggie den about 8pm and he didn’t get up til 8am. I think he had the best sleep he’s had in a long time. I loved watching him sleep on the camera installed in the den. I only kennel him at night or if I have to leave the house. Other then that he has free run of his bachelor’s pad. No accidents at this point. Day one was amazing. He seems to be adjusting quickly. When I leave the den, he pops his head in the window to watch me leave. The best part of taking a dog out of the shelter is watching them sleep because they are finally at peace.

Spencer is 2 years old and has been at the Shelter since June 2020. He came in as a stray. He needs to have multiple meet and greets with potential adopters, in a home with no children and if adopters have other dogs there must be a meet and greet between dogs. He is well worth the investment. You can read more of his details at https://kcpetproject.org/animal-details/?aid=44882776&cid=11&tid=Dog#.Xz1oGWySnIU

Saving Spencer

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Through Foster Care

When I met Spencer at the Animal Shelter he was very shy. As soon as I came to the door, he would move all the way to the back of his kennel, which made it hard to leash him. It would take me 10 minutes of coaxing with treats to get him close enough to get the leash on but once on, he was a perfect gentleman. As time has moved on Spencer and I have developed a great bond. When I heard he was declining, which happens often for shelter dogs, I had to do something to try and save him and save the precious, fun loving beautiful boy that he is with me. I asked for permission to foster him. I only have a two month window of time to do this and it will probably not happen again for many years to come so I decided to blog about him in hopes that someone will see his story and give Spencer his forever home. I’m also hoping if he isn’t adopted in two months, another foster parent will see how wonderful he is and want to continue the work.

I never really realized how important fostering dogs and cats is. How it saves their lives and gives them an environment they can grow and flourish in.

MY JOURNEY TO FOSTERING

I began my journey by walking dogs at the shelter. In the beginning I was going about 5 to 6 days a week. Then life happened and I was only able to go a couple of days a week. I was finally able to get back to 5 or 6 days a week with small windows of time each day. In Sept of 2019 I heard about Doggie Days Out. I was in love with another dog, ok a few other dogs and getting to take them out of the shelter for a day was so exciting. I would come every Tuesday, grab a beloved dog and make their day the best day ever. We would go walking at different parks, stopping at McDonalds for Cheeseburgers and just kicking back in a shed I converted to a doggie den. I’ve since added pup cupping at Starbucks. I have taken Spencer out on three Doggie Days Out.

In March my son surprised me and had a friend frame, insulate and drywall this shed. We put in flooring and now it’s like a detached living room with heating and air, and internet. It’s so amazing and my dogs get to come and just destress for the day. My favorite part is watching a dog fall asleep and start to snore. Taking them back is always hard but my heart knows, that “Today was the best day ever!”.

My two grandchildren (along with their mom and dad) live with us and I have two boxers that are the loves of my life so fostering an animal was never an option. I had always planned to do it when my girls passed on. But my Children have bought a house and will be moving out which created and opportunity to bring Spencer home but my window is only two months. Right now he lives in my Doggie Den and I alternate house and yard time with my girls, being careful to keep them separated.

If he does well in the Doggie Den which is now called Spencer’s Bachelor Pad, he will remain there. If not when the kids move out he will live in the basement. Both are great options for him and better then shelter life.

Next: Day One

Spencer is 2 years old and has been at the Shelter since June 2020. He came in as a stray. He needs to have multiple meet and greets with potential adopters, in a home with no children and if adopters have other dogs there must be a meet and greet between dogs. He is well worth the investment. You can read more of his details at https://kcpetproject.org/animal-details/?aid=44882776&cid=11&tid=Dog#.Xz1oGWySnIU