Saturday 4 - I have a partner, two small children and a rescue dog of my own. I have never fostered before, but after acquiring knowledge about fostering, I thought it was a great idea. I applied to be a foster parent and a representative came around today to check out the suitability of our home and our life, so we can be matched to an appropriate dog. There were some things that were of concern, but easily fixed. I had to move the compost bin that was near the fence and hide some soft toys and leggo in the toy room. I was starting to feel the excitement of having a new dog, and it was coming tomorrow!
Sunday 5 - I'm so excited. I was thinking about the dog last night. I have no idea of whether its a boy or girl, but I know it is a Kelpie. I am concerned about my dog, she will probably be sulky for a while, she knows she is extra special! I just got a phone call, the dog is a girl and she is on heat. Great, lucky we have floor boards and not carpet! Im waiting anxiously for my special friend.....she finally arrives! OMG - my dog was not happy. We took the dogs for a walk together before Kelly came into the house. That's when it started. Kelly is around 7 months old, she is an excitable Kelpie and my dog wasn't happy at all. We shifted the dogs out to the backyard hoping that it would settle the situation. My dog continued to dominate Kelly and she wouldn't let up. They settled for a while and we went back inside. Then it was on, Kelly had had enough and it turned confrontational. The ears were pricked, the growling started and I was peeing my pants. Oh dear, I was very uncomfortable. After about a minute it stopped and I seperated the dogs. Feelings about doubting my decision started to creep in.
Monday 6 - We all had a rough night, especially Kelly. The poor girl was very unsettled, it took her ages to sit on her rug. This morning the dogs were still on edge, I cracked it and amazingly they settled. I became the dominant female and the dogs began to lose the anxiety. They played outside together for the first time, I was relieved. I did however think that I had to make an early morning run. My youngest left the front door open and Kelly made a dash to exit, but was saved by her collar. I need to be more careful.
Tuesday 7 - Last night was great. Kelly was settled and she knew where to sleep. I recognised her anxiety the night before and I knew it would take some time before she felt safe and secure. I had to reflect on how it would be like for her and that she was a stray for some time before the pound caught her. She may have paced at night to protect herself. Putting myself in her shoes decreased the level of frustration I potentially could have had. I took her in the car this morning to drop my son off at school. She appeared relaxed and lay down the whole trip. I felt sorry for Kelly today. My dog loves to play fetch with the ball, so I threw the ball at Kelly and it just hit her between the eyes. It made me realise that I had expectations of her and we really had to start at the beginning. I believe that understanding her view and not basing my behaviour on my expectations, made our day a ripper. She is a great dog.
Wednesday 8 - I was unable to walk the dogs today. But I found that she was kept stimulated by my dog, the kids and the busy day. I took kelly to the school pick-up. I waited with her on the boundary, she sniffed and was quite calm. She appeared scared of a helicopter and the school bell, but it was short lived. She recognised my son in the crowd, and I could see her excitement. My son was with about 5 kids who came over to see Kelly. They were full of questions about fostering and they loved patting Kelly. She was very receptive and loved the attention. A great result.
Thursday 9 - Hooray! Kelly went to bed at 10pm and woke up at 6:30am. Its amazing how resilient she is to our lives and the rules I place on her. The dogs played a lot today - touching noses, playing chasey and resting together in the sun. Her coat looked dirty and I feel confident now that I could wash her. I used a bucket and I washed her coat. So much light brown hair came out, and she was left with a dark brown shiny coat. She must have felt so much better.
Friday 10 - It was a cold and rainy today, not much time was spent outside. Her boredom appeared later when I found two pairs of jeans had holes in them! I realised that I needed to pick up all the clothes and to teach the boys that their shoes, clothes and toys had to be placed in the appropriate drawers. With Kelly on heat, I have mopped the floors daily. Now with everyone picking up after themselves I have actually cancelled the fortnightly cleaner. Now there's an expectation I didn't think of! Kelly is unsure of the gas heater in the lounge room and the boys are quite aware of this. So they make a point to turn it on in the morning so they can eat their breakfast on the floor. They call it the 'force field' and they know that Kelly wont go in it!
Saturday 11 - I picked Kelly up today and held her in my arms. She loved it! I carried her around for a while and she rested her head on my shoulder, she was so calm. It felt very endearing to hold her. I took the time to reflect on her possible death. If it wasn't for organisations like Halfway Home, Kelly would be dead. I know that I had doubted my decision in the beginning, but what kept me going was a dogs life would be saved.
Sunday 12 - Its been a week since Kelly has entered our lives. Its amazing how a stray, then captured young vibrant kelpie could blend in with a modern suburban family in 7 days. Her resilience is inspiring. I have began to understand the meaning of rehabilitation. Its about providing her with safety, security, and surrounding her with normal daily activities and most of all love. Just imagine if all shelter dogs could experience this.
Tuesday 14 - I took Kelly for a 4km walk today at the off lead park. She remained on lead, but she socialised brilliantly with people and dogs. If she found a scent she couldnt leave alone, she would spread all her legs and put her belly on the ground so I couldn't move on! She seemed to enjoy the great outdoors. She was not trained enough to let her off the lead, so i made an effort to do some running with her. My god she runs fast!
Wednesday 15 - I took my dog for the same 4km walk today. Her behaviour was remarkable. She usually walks off lead, but still has some weariness about dogs and people. I think that having Kelly constantly socialising with her has brought her out of her shell. It appeared that she was more at ease with dogs, and people didnt bother her as much. I had never thought about any positive impacts that Kelly would make on my dog, but this was pretty cool.
Thursday 16 - I took Kelly to the vet today. She had to have her general check up. It was wierd taking a dog to the vet and not getting a bill! Kelly did really well, the vet said she was remarkably calm and loving. When we arrived home, I got the slow cooker out and Kelly started to get excited. She knows where her dinner comes from!
Saturday 18 - The dogs and my eldest son had a great play time tonight. He hid under the rug and the dogs were nosing to find him. My dog was doing the nipping and the chasing, while Kelly watched with her tail wagging. I just went to find her and she was lying on her back with her legs in the air on the bean bag. She loves that bean bag!
Sunday 19 - I attended the Puppy Factory Rally today on Melbournes Parliament House steps. It is true that some people are truly inspirational, well done Debra Tranter.
Tuesday 21 - I had an email today to say that 3 people were interested in adopting Kelly. My initial reaction was sorrow :(. But rather than thinking about myself (!), I know that Kelly will be matched to an awesome home. We all have formed a bond, but her new life is something to be happy about. I know now that you cannot rehabilitate a dog without love. This is a great thing, and she will be loved by a family that knows how special she is.
Wednesday 22 - The 'force field' doesnt exist anymore. I just witnessed Kelly relaxing beautifully in front of the heater.
Friday 24 - Kelly is doing great with fetching the ball now. She doesn't flinch when I throw the object, and she will retrieve sticks and balls. If she gets the ball before my dog, she runs and bounces at the same time like a rabbit. Then the dogs do burnouts around the yard together. Sometimes I give her an apple to play with. She plays with it for an hour - throwing it up in the air, having a little bite and running around with it in her mouth. She has a funny character, she makes me laugh.
Sunday 26 - It was a beautiful sunny day today. The dogs spent most of their time outside running and playing together. Kelly is about the only one that visits and enters the wooden cubby house (!) and she enjoys a rest under the trampoline. There have been possums up the tree at night, Kelly becomes so focused on these creatures that Im outside for ages to get her to go to the toilet. She tried to run up the tree last night with interesting, but hilarious results.
Tuesday 28 - An amazing day today. My eldest returned home from a week away. Kelly was so excited to see him again. But what I found so endearing was that she slept on his bed that night, she has only slept near me. I was very touched.
Wednesday 29 - I had some time to myself today, so I took the dogs for a 5km walk. It was challenging at the beginning, they both pulled the lead. But as we pushed on, they were relaxed and loved to smell all the new things. Kelly has no road sense at all, I started to train her to sit at the lights and walk on the footpath.
Friday 1 - I've noticed that Kelly has started to have a nanna nap in the afternoon! She also has put on weight and I have had to loosen her collar. Her coat is beautiful and shiny. She loves the kids and has a great temperament.
Sunday 3 - Kelly and the family went on a holiday down at the Mornington Peninsula. She had a ball, running around, sniffing and more running. She enjoyed the warmth of the log fire and loved her home cooked meal. Luckily there were no rabbits around when she was taken for a long morning stroll! She travelled extremely well in the car, shes amazing. I'm glad we took her, it will be great to remember.
Monday 4 - I was eating some ice-cream today and I gave Kelly a spoon full. OMG - she inhaled it! I gave her another spoon because I wasnt sure where it actually went....and 'zip' there it went again. I think that even beats the inhaling of my mums labrador!!
Tuesday 5 - I took Kelly to school again today, she loves the attention kids give her. I did realise my judgements against her before she came into our lives. It still astounds me how resilient she is. I would have expected her to be weary of people, but she has proved me wrong! She loves people, rides well in the car, seeks attention from kids, is friendly towards strangers, and loves to be held. All of which I assumed would only come from a dog that has been in the home for a long period of time.
Saturday 9 - Kelly likes to 'Skype'. Whenever I talk to my parents on skype, she always joins us for the family discussion! She can see herself in the mirror and she watches images on the TV. I wonder if she can see mum on the computer screen?
Saturday 16 - Kelly has officially been toilet trained. Well done Brownie :)
Wednesday 20 - Kelly has become a fixture around the household. She has a routine, enjoys her walk, plays with my dog, loves when the kids come home and loves our attention. She will certainly be a great member for any family.
Sunday 24 - I remember when Kelly came into our lives. I remember my feelings of joy and excitement. Fostering Kelly has taught me many aspects of animal welfare, and how anyone can contribute to the wellbeing of animals by simply fostering. It takes one life at a time to make a difference. It's not difficult and it doesnt cost money. You get to experience the wonder and beauty of taking action and saving a life.
Tuesday 26 - Halfway Home tells me that a family is interested in adopting kelly. I am so excited for her, I hope it turns out.
Saturday 30 - Today Kelly is going to have a house visit with the family that has shown interest in her. I feel nervous, I take her for a walk before she goes on her trip.
Sunday 31 - Great news! They all loved Kelly and they want to adopt her! As soon as its finalised, I can take her over there. This is fantastic, its so great to be a part of a wonderful, successful, humane and life saving program.
Monday 1 - Kellys last day here at our house. I bath her and make her smell beautiful. I cook her a rump steak as her last meal! She ofcourse loved every bit.
Tuesday 2 - Today is Kellys last day. The kids said goodbye to her in the morning, they were not sad and understood that she was going to a loving home. It was very beautiful and there were no tears. I believed at the beginning that this would be a difficult day for me, but I am surprisingly happy. I ofcourse love Kelly and was attached to her, but her new life will be fantastic which makes me happy. She is lucky enough to go to a family of 3 children and another kelpie! I pull up at the house and the mum is great and so welcoming. The dogs played for ages and it was so comforting leaving her there. I left her bedding with her and I gave her a huge kiss and hug. She ran off and started playing with her friend
Kelly with her new mate