Wednesday, May 11, 2011

foster dog

Hi everyone! Long time no see! It's me, Kiri, and I can't believe it's been 6 months since I last wrote here! Time flies when you're buried under 4 feet of snow!

But I'm not here to talk about me right now (don't worry, at some point I'm BOUND to talk about ME, the most wonderful dog on the planet!!). Instead, I'm here to introduce you to my new friend:

This is "Mae" and she's a foster dog. I didn't know what that meant, I thought maybe it was a fancy breed or something. But my sister Joy, who has lived here the longest of any of us dogs, says that a foster dog is a dog that needed to leave where she was living for some reason and didn't have anywhere else to go. A foster dog isn't a new sister, she's just a visiting dog who'll live with us for awhile until she can find a new home of her own. Unlike April, the Big White Dog, who is a rescue dog that moved in here permanently.

My sister Grace says Mae is a Border Collie like her. Mom says she's still a puppy at 8 months old. (Heck, I feel like I'm still a puppy at 17 months old!) But she needed to leave her owner's home because he and his wife couldn't handle her energy level.

You see, he is an elderly man, and Border Collies are meant to run hundreds of miles over hills and fields every day. Her owner just wasn't able to give her enough exercise, so she was developing a lot of bad habits that were making living with her difficult. Aunt Wendy is Mae's vet, and she told the owners that she had a friend (my mom!) who could take Mae and work with her and find her a more appropriate home. So even though her owner loved her very much, he sent Mae to live with us because he knew that it was the best thing for her.

Mom says it's hard to take in a new dog like Mae. Her owner lived a very quiet life, and Mae didn't get out much to see the world, so she's nervous about a lot of things she's never seen before. Like the Things. (Ok, I'll admit that my Things are pretty weird little humans, but they are definitely NOT scary.) She can't seem to make up her mind about them. She loves them if they are sitting still and ignoring her, she wants to climb into their laps and give them kisses. But if they move around a lot, she gets scared and barks and growls at them. She even tried to bite Thing 2 once when he tried to pet her.

But my Things are very wise about dogs, and they know to just ignore Mae and let her try to get used to them. She really WANTS to like them, but it's going to take some time for her to trust them completely. Because of this, Mom says that Mae will have to go to a home without small children (Things), even if she learns to love my Things. (Which I know she will -- my Things are weird, but they're very cool!)

So now I have a very important job. I have to tire out Mae so that Mom can work with her. Mom says if all Mae can think about is how much she needs to run, there's no way she'll learn anything. So Mae and I get to run around and wrestle and play tug for a couple of hours every morning. (I get this job instead of my sisters because I still have "puppy energy" to keep up with her, and because all of my sisters seem to hate Mae. Mom says it's because Mae has "bad energy" and they want to fix it themselves, but Mom says it's better if she fixes it instead of them.)

Once I get her good and tired, Mom takes Mae on her walk with the Things. It's kind of a bummer for me, because that's MY time for a walk, but it's only temporary. Once Mae is done learning how to walk nice on the leash, I'll get to go too. Mom says it's really important for Mae to know to walk politely on the leash for her next owners. Mom also works on her responding to her name, and normal obedience stuff like sit and down, while they are on their walk.

Afterwards she gets time to just hang out with Mom, the Things, and whatever barn cats are around. She's starting to get used to all the things that live here. Pretty soon Mom will start taking her to do chores so that she can get used to being calm and listening to Mom in more distracting situations. And Mom will take her to a place with lots of working Border Collies so that people who might be interested in adopting her can see how she works. Maybe someone will want to train her to be a sheep dog like my sisters!

By the time she's done with training, she's ready to settled down and chew on a bone for a bit, or go into her crate to practice quietly waiting there for the next time she can be with Mom or me. Mae doesn't like being alone, so this is one of the hardest things for her, but she's learning to accept it and is realizing that the only way Mom will let her out of her crate is if she is quiet. When she first came last week, she screamed for a long time. But it's getting shorter and shorter every day, and now she's even getting in the crate when Mom tells her instead of Mom having to shove her in there. So she's learning!

Well, I'd better run, Mae's ready to play. I'll keep you all posted on how things go for Mom and Mae!

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