Can I just bury my head and run away?

Long-time readers will know I have a dog with fear aggression. Having a dog with these issues was relatively new to me, and was something I was determined to work on when I moved in with the ex and BD. The day he was racing around with other collie dogs, playing and ignoring a puppy who was clearly trying to get some sort of reaction, was the happiest day of my life. It was also the day before I moved out of the house I shared with the ex.

Now I live in my own house and (unless the ex is away) I have BD one night a week and when I have him I like to go for a ‘proper’ walk; in the hills, miles from anyone. It is perfect. The problem is on these walks it is only him and me.

We don’t encounter other people. We don’t encounter other dogs.

This means I have lost my doggie reading skills and along with BD being attacked last year, this has made me very nervous when I see other dogs out and about.

Mity loves other dogs. He would leave our side and bound across fields to go and say hello to the dog he saw in the distance; and no amount of calling, running in the other directions or promise of treats would do anything to distract him from saying hello. This is something he has never grown out of and now it is only the fact that his eyesight is poor meaning he can’t see the other dog that stops him.

So if I see a dog with BD I panic that the approaching dog with be a ‘Mity dog’. I know panicking is not the thing to do. I try not to. I try my best to hide this concern from BD, but the panic in the pit of my stomach will not go away.

When I was living with BD I worked so hard with him, hence the playing with the puppies. We tried agility. We walked where other dogs were. I had him with Mity (which still happens occasionally) I read books, searched online, stalked pet bloggers… but now I am not it is harder to work with him; especially considering I spend a lot more time walking none responsive Mity.

Now when I see a dog in the distance regardless of who I am walking I freeze. I look for escape route and run walk briskly in that direction.

Here’s the thing. BD is perfectly happy on a walk with me. So long as he has his tennis ball he genuinely could not give a dam whether or not there is another dog. In fact he may prefer that there isn’t. Mity and BD can be walked together, and have been often where they just ignore each other. BD is a little bit of a pain on a lead and will bark at another dog. I don’t leave the house without BDs muzzle and if I see another dog in the distance, the muzzle goes on. He is never put in a position where he can hurt another dog. He is never put in a position where he needs to feel threatened by another dog.

Reading about BDs fear aggression I was advised not to avoid dogs. It makes it worse when you run into them. But when I only have him for two walks a week, and I have tactics to deploy if we do meet a dog, am I being selfish not taking time to actively work on this and relying instead on evasive actions?

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He’s not friendly.

On this mornings walk I ended up screaming “he’s not friendly” at two different dog walkers. In both incidents it was their dog who had decided to cross the field, and leave their owner to come and say hi to BD. BD was quite happily ignoring them and to be honest the only thing on his mind was “throw my ball, throw my ball, throw my ball.”

It was after the first ‘incident’ that I realised I was doing BD a massive disservice by screaming this about him… in the style of a loon… at other dog walkers. He isn’t ‘not friendly’; he’s cuddly and caring, he has a killer smile, brilliant personality, goes out of his way to cheer me up (now I see why people chose dogs over men) and greats me like he hasn’t seen me in years every time I see him. He would beat Mity in a friendly dog test by a mile, with both paws tied behind his back.

In fact the only time he isn’t friendly is when an off lead dogs come running at him, gets in his face and refuses to pick up on his “leave me the heck alone” signals. Then he gets scared and reacts; and the key would is he gets scared. If he can walk around the dog and get away then ‘touch wood’ he does not react. It is only when he feels trapped that he lashes out. Is it ok that he lashes out – No! But is it fully his fault…?

I feel like I am doing BD a massive disservice every time “He’s not friendly” leaves my lips. But what do I say instead, as awful as it sounds nothing else I can think of causes the ‘panic’ in the other owner quite in the same way. If I shout any other warning I generally get back “but mines ok” and that just doesn’t cut the mustard. Do I care if your dog is friendly? Not really. I care that your friendly dog is going to scare my timid dog and as a result his training is set back months. My nerves are put a little more on edge and we take a few more steps back, slowly inching forwards until another ‘friendly’ dog, another incident.

I know what it’s like having an overly friendly dog. If we ever took Mity onto a field he would scope it out to find out who he could say hello to, and he has covered lengths of fields trying to get to another dog to play. I know it is hard work. I know that despite months of training some dogs will just say hello.  We were very fortunate that on only a handful of occasions did this ‘greeting’ turn out badly. Generally Mity would drop to the floor a few meters from the other dog and always rolled over as soon as the other dog approached him. But if ever this happened we would be on it. (I know some of you will roll your eyes as this is breaking dog training rules)  but if he put his head down and ran generally me, my sister and  my dad would all take off in hot persuit after him, screaming like loons trying to distract him and encourage him to come back and join us. Did it work? Not always. Did we try? Every single time.

Yet the people I met this morning didn’t. They didn’t seem to care that I spent the entire time I was within their eye sight purposefully keeping my dog and me as far away from them as possible. They didn’t notice that there was always (until their dog took off) me in-between their dog and BD. Nope they didn’t pick up on anything until I screamed “He’s not friendly.”

I worry BD is going to get a stigma. I don’t want people to judge him without knowing him. I don’t want to be ‘the woman with the unfriendly do’ but actually if that keeps their dogs away from mine, and BD safe. For the first time in my life I genuinely don’t care what people think. I will step up and be whatever the label needs to be to keep my boys safe!

Dumb Ass Dog Owners – The Straight Line Walkers

Today I am joining in with the Dumb Ass Dog Owner Blog Hop, hosted by Tales from the Backroad and Heart Like a Dog. As it is the perfect chance for me to complain about my newest erk in life, namely Straight Line Dog Walkers (SLDW). You may have seen them, you may know them…. hell you may even be one (in which case congrats, grab the award!)

This is for you!!
This is for you!!

Its the dog owner who comes onto a field, with a clearly defined route and come hell or high water they will walk that path – usually with a very board looking dog following!

They do not interact with their dog. They just appear to want to get the miles done so that they can get home and onto more enjoyable past times. The reason I hate them so, is because not being content with ruining the walk for their dog they also manage to ruin the walk for BD and I.

On a morning, we take a ball and go and spend an hour wandering the fields near my house, playing fetch, sniffing sniffs and generally enjoying some time the two of us. However, mid fun a SLDW will appear and so I have to move my focus from my dog, to figure out what the hell they are doing and try to make sure their board dog doesn’t decide that it would be much more fun to come and play with us. So I stop chucking BDs ball, not a popular or fair move for my ball obsessed collie, and instead we just wander aimlessly trying to ensure that we keep as much distance between the idiot and us.

BD and I go from chilled, relaxed and in the moment to me being on high alert watching and waiting all because these other people are selfish. I’m not saying having a route is wrong. I am not saying that heading out to cover a set distance is wrong, but could you be a bit more observant and realise that if a chilled out happy dog walker, suddenly starts watching your every move perhaps met that person half way by making a slight detour to help keep maximum distance between the two of you  and don’t..oh I don’t know… make a beeline for the couple while walking down the middle of the field. Especially if they were there first!!!

Causing Extra Stress

I have (possibly) had a break through moment, but dear friends I would very much value your thoughts, opinions and two cents on this matter.

Recently  I have been thinking a lot about BDs fear aggression. Following on from his attack he has been doing ok with dogs, although he did go for Mity the other day. They are both fine. BD was muzzled and Mity just squeezed past to him too closely trying to get around my mother and me. It was a bit of a hectic night and I should have found a way to not have them both in my house, but I had no option.

Anyway. Bd has taken to barking at most dogs we see when we walk past them. Turns out it is only with me that he does this. Apparently when he is with my ex he can now walk past all sorts of dogs on the other side of the road, but with me he does this excited bark/jump/yelp thing and almost tries to run at the dog but not in a ‘grrr I’m going to kill you’ manner more a ‘look, look, dog’ excited way. I know that I need to work on this, a large (potentially muzzled) dog barking at your dog does not a happy owner make (he has officially ruined any chances I may have had with the fit young vet, by barking like a loon at the vets JRT which resulted in a very disapproving glare from said vet to me the crazy lady who can’t control her dog!)

But I am not asking for your opinions on that (although any advice you have would be appreciated) No today I want to discuss my obsession with battling through BDs fear to one day see him play with other dogs. Every since I have known BD I have wanted to see him relax around other dogs. I want him to not be scared. I want a confident happy boy. I have once or twice seen him play with dogs. Watching him run around with them was amazing, and the big smile on his face when he was warn out and exhausted was just amazing. But (and here it comes)…

Is this need to see him relax in BDs best interest or just an obsession I have. Is this about BD or me?

When I go out walking with BD he doesn’t care if we meet another dog or not. So long as he has his tennis ball and we are together then he is happy. On the odd occasion we come across another dog (ignoring the lead bouncing for now) we take steps to avoid the interaction; I detour of the path or change direction, we usually pass the other dog without incident and carry on our way. I have learnt how to manage the situation and so has BD. When we are walking in a wood, or somewhere else where BD can be off lead once the other dog is a safe distance away and not likely to run back to try and say hi to BD I will re-remove his muzzle, congratulate him and we carry on.

So long as I have remembered his tennis ball BD is beyond happy. He doesn’t seem to worry that there is no one else around and as we walk out in the country as much as able, there aren’t really any dogs for him to play with anyway. He gets on fine with Mity, and so there is no longer the problem of having the two of them together. On walks they ignore each other and (until the attack) they ignored each other in the house as well. Yes, there were occasions when BD would be slightly concerned to hear Mity ‘talking’ to me and if ever Mity wanted to do crazy dog I would hang on to BD so that he wouldn’t chase Mity as on the occasion I wasn’t fast enough they would both just kinda panic and freeze. Mity would look at BD as if to say “why are you chasing me” and BD would look at him as if to say “why were you running and why have we stopped?”.

If BD is contented, and Mity is happy. Why do I want to push it further?

Am I right to encourage BD to relax around other dogs, regardless of his nerves? Or do I accept him for who he is and let this go?

 

P.S It’s this post Pamela that you inspired!

The more men I meet….. the more I’m sticking with my dog.

The other night when I had BD I decided it would be nice to go on a walk around a local forest together. It’s a lovely place to walk, it’s close to where I pick him up from and the gravel path means that he doesn’t get too mucky (I love him, but I have new creamish carpets so although I want him to have loads of fun on our walks at the moment I am all about good clean fun!) It’s also nice and quiet, we very rarely run into other people or dogs and when we do the path is big enough I know we can easily pass – I call it a low stress walk!

However, last night my ‘low stress’ walk backfired slightly when an idiot male passed crossed my path and I went from relaxed to full out stress in the space of about 5 minutes, and it was all his bloody fault.

Bd and I were happily walking along, BD had is tennis ball and I was chattering away to him and focusing on being in the moment when in the distance I spotted a man running and a black dog behind him. Now anyone with a reactive dog will tell you one of the skills you develop when your dog doesn’t like others is an ability to spot another dog at 1000 paces.

I knew this was going to be a challenging situation for BD and that more than likely we would have a reaction. For some unknown reason he has started barking at every dog he sees (not a popular habit he has formed!) however the massive improvement is it isn’t a ‘grrr I’m going to kill you’ bark more a ‘look, look, over there is a dog, have you seen it?’ bark. To me this is a big improvement, not so much to the people with the other dog, you should have seen the dirty look the cute young vet gave me when he passed me in the street, his terrier trotting along nicely in front of him while my ginger nutcase bounced and barked and tried to pull me into the street, while I told him he was a good boy, to calm down and tried to persuade him to sit (apparently asking for a ‘trick’ distracts them). Anyway I digress!

So I called BD to me, took his tennis ball from him and put on his muzzle.

This is my fail safe way to get BD past a dog. I do not put him back on his lead as he feels restricted and so is more likely to react. So I muzzle and then carry on with the walk. With his muzzle on he can’t bite the other dog, so even if anything was to look like it may happen BD can’t do any damage. But the really play is to make sure I have the tennis ball in my hand. My boy is ball obsessed and so long as I have the tennis ball his eyes will be on me. A marching band could parade past him and unless they got in his face he would not bat an eyelid – the ball is all that matters.

Ideally in this situation I will just try and walk past the other dog, as I once read you need to make seeing another dog a ‘none event’ but as this was a running dog I thought it was better to pause in a nice wide part of the trail and wait for them to pass.

Which the runner did. He said hello as he ran past, but the dog froze. I called after the runner to ask if that was his dog, but he just ignored me and carried on his way.

I assumed that one of two things would happen. One the runner would stop and wait for the dog to catch up, encouraging him past me and BD so they could carry on with their walk or b the dog would pause slightly but as his ‘dad’ carried on he would run past us both to catch up.

Neither of these things happened.

The man kept on running, as in out of sight, gone, forgotten about.

And the dog froze.

I waited and then I swore.

The man had gone. Clearly this was not his dog.

There was no one else about, and we had been walking for a while. I knew we were in the middle of nowhere and for a dog to be here alone it was probably lost.

I swore again.

I couldn’t just leave it.

But I was with BD, I will admit to grumbling something along the lines of “why does this only ever happen when I have BD with me.” Had this situation presented itself with Mity he would have trotted along happily next to the new dog, thinking he had found a new friend. In fact once we used Mity as ‘bait’ when a neighbours scared dog got out. We encouraged it to follow Mity all the way home and Mity thought the whole thing was the most fun game ever.

BD would not think this is the most fun game ever. BD would not like this dog following him home.

I told BD to wait, and I slowly crept towards the strange dog. I noticed it was wearing a collar and so I decided I would ring the number on it. Simples.

I crept forward, talking calmly.

BD watched my every mood.

I have to admit he was very good and he didn’t make a fuss and let me approach this dog.

As I swapped between watching this dog and checking BD for signs of concern/reactivity I tried to assess the condition of the strange dog to see how long it may have been out there.

I found some dog treats in my pocket and held one out, hoping that the other dog would be tempted. I kept my tone low and my movements slow.

As I got close the dog let out an almighty yelp and raced off.

I swore again.

BD watched it go he sort of went to follow it, but not in an aggressive manner and returned to me as soon as I called. But now I was more upset. In this situation I can’t help but wonder what would happen if it was BD or Mity; how I would feel about them being out there alone. I felt like I had let down this dog and its owner. I wondered what I should have done different. I considered leaving the rest of my treats on the trail so it would have a little something to eat. Granted it was about 4 large treats, but still it would have been something.

I decided to pull myself together. Unmuzzled BD and chucked his ball for him resigned to the fact that I couldn’t do anything more.

And at the point the idiot running man came back into view with the dog clearly with him; turns out his was his dog after all. Initially I was relieved that the dog was going to be ok, but the relief was replaced with annoyance with this bloke. He had seen my muzzle BD. His dog had been held up, too afraid to pass me and BD and yet he had ran off and not given a flying ……..feck.

You don’t have to have a dog. It is a choice not a necessity and if you can’t be arsed to properly care and look after a dog, then don’t have one.

I tell you this guys complete disregard has me boiling for quite some time. In fact even now it gets me cross just thinking about it.

I have the most amazing friends in the world.

This weekend one of my very best girl friends came to stay with me. She is going through a similar heart-breaking break up, in fact we both moved out of our ‘marital’ homes on the same weekend. It’s been brilliant having someone going through a very similar situation at the same time. We seem to be enjoying slightly different journeys (when I’m up she’s down and vice versa) but on the whole. She knows what to say, what not to say, knows how you go from fine to the opposite of fine and agrees that despite everything her ex has put her through; she too would go back if given half the chance; although like me she knows she really shouldn’t and he does not deserve her!

Anyway, while crying on her on Saturday night (like I said, not the best weekend!) I made a throw away comment about how one of the things I missed was BD creeping up the stairs and coming to wake me on a morning. The ex was always amazing at bringing me a cup of coffee while I was still in bed (he managed this every morning Mon – Fri) and BD would accompany him into the room. His wet nose and smiling face would be one of the first things I would see and I loved it. I would wait for the ex to leave and then I would invite BD to join me on the bed, where we would cuddle until I had to get up.
However, now I live alone there is no one to bring me a drink in bed and more upsettingly this means there is no one to let BD out of the room he sleeps in which allows him to sneak up and join me in bed. Something I really miss. I told my friend this.

The Sunday morning, as I am considering getting up I hear paws on the stairs and see a big black nose, followed by ginger head come around my bedroom door.
My lovely friend had gotten up before me and let him out of the bathroom so he could come and cuddle me.

I cried. Hell I’m crying now as I type this.

He headed straight for the mattress I was sleeping on and lay down next to me with his head on my pillow. He cuddled into me so tight…. It was perfect. I just lay there, basking in the moment, trying to savour ever second.

I love BD so much and I miss him so much.

And I love my friend so much. It wasn’t a big thing, but it meant the world to me and those 30 minutes I would not trade for all the tea in china.

I am a very lucky girl!!

Is quality better than quantity?

This morning I was a little unorganised. It was my first time in my new house with BD when I had to be at work the next day and despite thinking through the morning times and over allocating time, things took longer than I thought. Add to that I was packing for a bag for a night away (which I am always rubbish at), ensuring my house was left clean and tidy (yep, I’ve become uber house proud) and trying to appear keen and turn up early to work (yep so didn’t happen) and I was a little frazzled.

 

I had to start skipping corners.

 

First thing cut was my morning cup of coffee, then I decided I would grab breakfast at my desk. I gave up on the idea of trying to sort my gas meter out and randomly threw items into my bags, one bag packed for me, one for BD, hoping that I wasn’t forgetting something important. I still hadn’t made up quite enough time and so the only other area I could scrimp on was cutting down the length and location of BDs walk.

 

When I had been planning the previous night, I thought we might make it to some local woods. It would be secluded. There would be no dogs to worry about just the two of us. Looking at my clock and realising it was 7.35am and I was still in a towel I knew my woodland walk was going to have to happen another time. I tried to come up with another location but realised my best course of action would be to risk the very popular, local fields. It meant we could set off walking right from my front door, and we wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time driving from house to walk to house to work.

 

I looked at my watch as we left my house and I realised I had run out of options and I was going to have to cut his walk short this morning.

 

We had 20 minutes, 25 at a push.

 

I felt guilt. He is an active collie, he spends far too much time alone and now I was failing him. However, as we started our walk I started to wonder if I really was failing him?

 

I spent those 20 odd minutes completely focused on my dog.

 

As we walked along the road I chatted to him, telling him how much I loved him , asking hin if he slept ok and would come to stop over again (I’m not the only one who does this right??)

 

We walked to the field and on the way we worked on some training. He was encouraged to walk next to me, without pulling. We stopped and he sat at every curb.

 

A bike cycled past us, and he didn’t react in anyway.

 

We got to the field, and after a quick scout for other dogs he was let loose to run and chase his ball. We worked on fetch.  The size of the smile on his face made my heart smile! Half way through the walk BD lay on his side and indicated he wanted his tummy tickling. So I crouched down on the floor and gave him a good tickle, and stroke while checking him over for anything I need to worry about or tell the ex about. I also told him he was waising valuable ball chasing time by lying there, but he didn’t seem to mind so I didn’t.

 

We saw other dogs on the field (5 – I counted) and we ignored them all.

 

On the way back we practiced sitting to have the lead put back on. Again we stopped, and he sat, at all the curbs. We worked on ignoring the cat who was outside enjoying the sun. We worked on not sticking our nose through the gate with a hole in – he does it every time we work past and as I can’t see into the garden until I am level with the gate I always worry one day something bad will happen. I yet again told him “If you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong and it gets bitten you’ve only yourself to blame!” Yes, I am slowly turning into my mother!!

 

BD chased a bug. Together we took a detour to avoid a dog which BD got a little too excited by. BD peed and sniffed anything we wanted to and we ended our walk by playing  ‘guess which door we live at’ which I invented to try and encourage BD to identify ‘home’ but generally ends up with me worrying about him wanting to move into a neighbours house.

 

In those 20 minutes I was totally focused on BD. Yes we didn’t walk as far as he needed and in that aspect I failed him, but I am sure he will go on some sort of hike or run tonight with the ex so he will get his ‘exercise’.

 

However I can’t help but feel that was anything but a bad walk!

Try training your own dog!

He’s got to learn“. That’s what one very lovely elderly woman told me as her hyperactive young dog jumped all over Mity as I tried my best to keep her dog from jumping all over him. Mity is getting am old man (which I hate to admit) and his eyesight and speed aren’t what they were and so he does not enjoy being ‘played with’ by other dogs as much as he once did.

I bent down to try and separate the two dogs and then she said “don’t worry if he retaliates, he’s got to learn.”

Which I completely agree with, but it isn’t up to me or my dog to teach her dog how to interact with strange dogs. That ones on her!

Now Mity is as close to trust worthy as a dog can be so I was confident that her dog was safe jumping on his head, pissed off but confident that it wouldn’t turn into a fight. But had I been with BD the situation would have been completely different. In that situation Mity would have given a warming followed by an air snap, and then if the lesson isn’t learnt he may have taken it further (which is why he is muzzled when around strange dogs).

Firstly, I do not go into the whole ‘dogs are dogs so let’s just leave them to sort it out’ attitude. To that I say “hell no”. I am not ok with letting my dog ‘fight it out’ with anyone or anything. I want me dog to look to me for guidance in a situation and to feel confident that I will keep them safe. To have them trust me that I know what I am doing. I will assess how my dog will interact with your dog. I will assess when repetitively jumping on a strange dogs head that is trying to walk away is appropriate (FYI it isn’t ever!!) and I will allow my dog to interact as I deem appropriately.

Secondly, going back to the feeling safe point above. BD has fear aggression. If a dog gets too up in his face and he can’t get away he reacts….and then we both take a step back in our training. I feel like a failure for not getting him out of the situation in which he felt threatened. We both become more edgy when we meet the next dog. It takes weeks of hard work to get to the place we were in before you let you ‘un-trained’ dog learn a lesson from my dog.

If you commit to having a dog. You are committing to everything that comes with owing a dog, the cuddles, the fun, the kisses, the bed sharing, the squeaking toys just as your favourite TV programme comes on, the ‘scooping of the pooping’ and the training. Take some god damn responsibility!!

(This incident has annoyed me so much I have pulled my phone out mid walk to write my thoughts down. This means that I have been slightly distracted from Mity while I rant. Don’t worry, he’s on a long lead and there is no one else on the field, so I know he is safe  – I’m not completely neglectful.But I feel bad he’s not had my full attention however Mity has never been happier as he has spent this time puddle dancing… however he may not enjoy his now much needed bath quite as much!!)

#Woofsupport: Why I love my reactive dog

When I left my old house I poured my heart into a letter which I wrote for him. I got everything off my chest, told him to man up and not to be so afraid. To be honest i don’t remember everything I wrote, which is a bloody pain cause in his letter of return he put “I agree with everything you said.” Had I known I would have needed to refer back to the letter at a later date I would have made a copy!

But I never wrote a letter to BD, partly because I would move hell and high water to see him again and knew that it would never be goodbye..oh and there is the obvious of him not being able to read.

When I stumbles across this link on Oz’s blog this seemed like a brilliant time to write that letter.

Are you not smitten yet?
Are you not smitten yet?

My darling boy,

Where do I start with telling you how much I love you, or how much it is breaking my heart in two knowing that I will not be spending every day with you any more. I love you for so many reasons. I love the way you are so happy to see me, but are never quite confident in how you will greet me. I love that you are timid and shy, but once you let someone in you love them with the whole of your heart. I love you for all those evenings I sat and cried and you stayed by my side as your fur got wet. I love that you overcame your ‘issues’ of having people around your face to lick my tears from my cheek.

I love you for all the millions of happy memories we have together and that you have given me 101 new experiences. I love that when you are around I can’t take a wee without having a cold nose pressed up against my leg. I love that that you claimed the cleaning cloth as your own and it became one of your favourite toys to be played with whenever possible regardless of where we were – including in the shower.

I love that you are tennis ball obsessed, and that you possibly love them more than me. I love that you will sit and stare at a ball for hours willing it to be thrown. I love that whatever crazy adventure I take us on, you are there at my side seeing it through together.

I love you for challenging me to step up and do better. I love you for being the complete opposite of Mity in every single way.

I love that you actually smile and that every single time you smile at me I can’t help but smile back. I love that you are fiercely loyal to your dad (any chance of talking some sense into him?)

I love that you love me, and that you have started checking back with me when you’re not sure. I love how far we have come together and look forward to seeing where we are going to go next.

I love you in a way that I never thought possible, and that is why I will not cut you out of my life, regardless of the heartache it causes.

Love you always,

Mum xx

And while I’m on a role…. rejection 2.

I have a rule, and you may groan when you hear it, but I try not to get excited about something. If I let myself get excited generally it doesn’t happen. I know that this may sound like it a mega negative but it has happened so many times in my life that I have just accepted it. Although occasionally I’ll forget, I’ll let myself dream dreams. I’ll quietly make plans… and then it’ll bite me on the ass as the plans fall through!

It’s happened again. I am desperately keen to become a foster mum, for animals. Growing up I thought it was something I would never be able to do but having read some brilliant foster blogs I realised that not only could I do this, but I could do it well. I have spent time researching rescues, thinking through the technicalities, and finally I took the leap with a rescue that provides accommodation for animals who’s owners are escaping domestic violence. I sent of an email introducing myself, I explained about my two part time dogs, my working hours and crossed my fingers.

The email that came back thanked me for my interest and sent me a form to fill in. I was ecstatic – beyond excited. I loved that by helping out I would not only be helping animals in need, but families. I started to dream, thinking about how I would learn to cope with different breeds, dealing with dogs who had experience god-alone-knows what. I worried about what this would do with the interaction with BD, whether it would be a case of if I had a foster dog I could only had him for short walks when they could be together, or if this would be a step further on his battles with fear aggression. I couldn’t wait.

And then I read the leaflet which clearly stated that they would not accept foster offers from people who worked more than 4 hour days. Which I do. Immediately I contacted the lady back and re-iterated my situation and I received back a very polite decline of my services. I am gutted.

I can completely understand why the ideal is that dogs should not be left for long periods of time alone…. In an ideal world. But we do not live in an ideal world, if we did we would have no need for foster parents or dog rescues. There would be no abuse, no fear, no evil. Every pet would be valued, loved and I would be living on a beach with sun, my dogs and children playing in the sea and a guy who loved me as much as I loved him lying next to me (and yes there may be a glass of white wine in my hand, or some sort of cocktail!)
But this isn’t the ideal world, and although I would be at work a lot I would have evening and weekend free. I have a secure large garden. I have an empty couch and I have enough dog toys, beds and general love that to write me off based purely on this one fact is a little upsetting. I was asked to get back in contact if my circumstances change, but the truth is when that happens who knows what other circumstances will have changed?

oh well, back to the drawing board!