Week one (well, almost). We have had our foster dog Carina for five days now. In these five days, it’s been an adventure already! The best part, learning about Carina and her personality. She is SUPER fast and has the best zoomies. Her favorite toys are the balls with the rope attached. She has a super deep bark, which I was surprised, seeing as though how skinny and dainty she is! She is VERY smart, she is so close to knowing the “sit” command already. I believe she definitely has traits of the pointer dog breed, for when she is investigating outside, nose is in the air and her paw is picked up, just like the typical pointer stance. Her best form of communication are snuggles. When she crawls upon my lap, snuggles in close then looks up at me with those innocent eyes of hers, it’s the best form of “I love you” she could ever express. Speaking of snuggles, Carina is the biggest couch hog EVER! She has quickly claimed the couch as hers and to get her to move over, we almost have to pick her up!! She is also very affectionate. The moment we put her into our car, she was all kisses and excitement. I don’t know about you, but if I was a stray and then living in a kennel for almost 2 months (while battling heartworms), I wouldn’t have that amount of exuberance within me. I wouldn’t trust a soul, let alone give kisses! So that brings me back to the day we went and got Carina. Saturday, October 22nd at 12pm we arrived at CITY DOGS CLEVELAND. Both my husband and I volunteer at the kennel but neither of us have met Carina before, at least not that we remembered. Our introductions were made in the outside play area. This white, black and brindle beauty was full of energy and wanting to play. I honestly expected her to be much more subdued for what she was dealing with. But nope! Lil Carina was a ball of happiness. Once the finalities were finished, I was excited to take off kennel collar and “dress” her in the cute flower collar and the baby pink harness I picked out just for her (I must add, pink looks good on her). She was officially our foster girl. Our first task was a bath. She was one stinky girl! We took her to PetValu, where you can wash your own dog. She behaved perfectly. Her coat is now shiny and soft but still working on getting the stains out of her white paws and end of her tail. Kennel life can be ruff! We then got her a hamburger to reward her for being a good girl during her bath. Our dog, Tilly, was at Grandma’s house for the time being so we could let Carina investigate the house. She ran around, tail wagging. We introduced her to her special area and she settled in quite nicely. Tilly then came home. We haven’t had any major issues, they sometimes have barking conversations back and forth but that’s about it. They both certainly know one another exists.
So there was the fun, happy stuff. Now here is where I will be 100% transparent with you. Being a foster parent to a dog who has never been in a home (that we know of) before and only understands kennel life has its challenges. Our two main issues are getting her to go poopy outside and not in her crate and for her to realize her crate is a SAFE place. Currently, if she is in the crate and no one else is in the room, she becomes quite upset. That is also when she usually decides to poo. We’ve had a couple breakthroughs of poopy potty outside, so I believe we are headed in the right direction. The key importance to being a foster parent, is to have patience. With Carina we basically have to reverse all she knows. “Crates are bad and crates are where I go to the bathroom”. Other than that, she is delightful. Her puppy-like behavior brings smiles and joy to our hearts every day. Her snuggles are the perfect remedy for a bad day. The look in her eyes when our frustration may start to set in, reminds us of all the love she has and all the love we have for her. Our decision to foster Carina was made so quickly and within a few days after that decision was made, she was in our home. But even faster than that process, was how fast she found a place in our hearts. We never expected this process to be easy….but saving her life, is. It’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. There are still hurdles to overcome and medical treatment will be started – so stay tuned. I will keep you updated on our journey to recovery! And…. How meeting her foster sister turns out!
Health update: Carina has had her first vet visit. She got her initial exam and x-rays to see what stage heartworm she has. Her treatment will be started very soon. Her journey to recovery is just around the corner and we couldn’t be any happier for her. With the help of the Plankton Fund from Friends of the Cleveland Kennel, she's on her way to health.