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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dear Dearg III - a day is a long time in fostering

Looking like butter wouldn't melt......hmmmm.
One thing you learn very quickly about pound dogs is that it's such a stressful experience for them (the noise, the cold and the fear) that it takes weeks for their personalities to come back again. The first two days are especially hard for them and all they do is eat and sleep. The problem with this is that you won't see some of the more "challenging" behaviour for a day or two and then, just as you've been lulled into a false sense of security, they display some appalling behaviour out of the blue and invite you to "deal with it, bitch".

And so on the third day Dearg decided to act the bollocks and attack all the other dogs. To a certain extent I don't mind husky-on-husky fighting - they mostly enjoy a bit of light hearted scrapping and they have enough coat to protect them from the worst of it. But my little Saluki X is extremely thin skinned and Dearg was lunging at her in an alarmingly fangy way. Also my own two huskies are getting on a bit and you could see that while they were trying to be polite they weren't really enjoying Dearg's toothy advances.

At this point the fosterer has to take a very deep breath. You cannot risk your own dogs being hurt or being affected in the longterm by a foster dog's behaviour. On the other hand, the foster dog has been through an awful lot and you have to give them a break. Something's got to give. And that something is your right to a decent night's sleep.

Mark and I took turns for a full two weeks to sleep on the sofa and ensure that Dearg didn't take a lump out of any of the other dogs. This is not something we will be repeating any time soon and we cannot recommend it. We both have trapped nerves and filthy dispositions as a result of the enforced separation. While I do think the two weeks in our house did Dearg the power of good, it took a lot out of us and our dogs. He's now with Irish Sled Dog Rescue in Sligo and if you feel you could give him a good home, please get in touch. He's a good little man, affectionate and clever. But I think he wants to be an "only dog".

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