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My life with Foxy the foster girl

Interested in becoming a foster carer? We caught up with PPTF volunteer Susan Fieldsend to ask her about her experience:

How did you get involved with PPTF?

I followed several Romanian and Cypriot dog rescue groups and saw a post on PPTF asking for volunteers as they were snowed under with applications and needed Home Checkers. I read a lot of information about them on their website and saw how dedicated and professional they were so completed the application form. Having recently retired this seemed an excellent opportunity to do something I would love (helping these dogs find new homes) and it meant that I could still put my admin skills to good use without having to be in a ‘real’ job! I would encourage everyone to consider helping as there are lots of tasks to cover and you can give as little or as much time as you can manage.

How many dogs have you fostered?

Three from another rescue which equalled 3 failed fosters as I ended up adopting them all! Two of them were 7 years old and one was 12 years old. Unfortunately the eldest had massive seizures caused by a brain tumour and died. My consolation was that her last 2 years had been her best and her happiest. I then fostered Willow from PPTF who was already on her way here on the Happy Bus when her prospective adopter withdrew. She’s now with another volunteer who adopted her (another failed foster!).

What dogs are you fostering at the moment?

I currently have Foxy as it was considered she would be unlikely to survive the harsh Romanian winter and it was a matter of some urgency to bring her to the UK. She arrived the week before Christmas.

What's your favourite thing about fostering?

Where to start? …… It’s so rewarding seeing a totally closed-down dog arrive and see them decompress and their personality begin to emerge. This process can vary and with some it can be within a matter of hours. With others it can take weeks even months for them to slowly learn to trust. I suppose it depends to some extent what their basic nature is like and how much suffering they have known. One of my failed fosters, Sasha had been a family pet that was dumped at the shelter at 6 years old and she instantly took to home life. My current foster Foxy has no fear of anything in the house as she has encountered nothing in the home before. However she is very wary of humans and I dread to think what dreadful experiences she’s had at their hands before she was rescued.

Tell us a funny fostering story!

Well this is what happened at Christmas: Being aware she could jump onto the dining room table (despite her small size), we ensured the chairs were well pulled in and that the bain-marie used to keep the food safe was secure on the dresser. Foxy was temporarily in her safe space behind the child gate in the conservatory. While washing up the Christmas dishes we thought enough safety precautions had been put in place to safeguard the Boxing Day leftovers.

It turned out that none of this was a deterrent to Foxy. In an incredibly short space of time she had jumped over the child gate and the chairs, onto the table and across to the dresser and (despite having no fingers or thumbs) managed to get the lid off one of the 3 compartments holding the leftovers. Did she choose the left one - veg? Did she choose the right one - potatoes? No - she went ‘middle for diddle’ and scoffed 4 pigs in blankets, 3 slices of turkey, half a slice of beef, and a chunk of sausage meat stuffing. Ah well - the joys of being a doggy foster mum.

What type of home are you hoping to find for Foxy?

Foxy’s confidence is growing daily. She is a very loyal and clever girl, quickly learning all of the basic commands. Foxy is wary and nervous. However, given time and sensible introductions she starts to settle down. She is more nervous of men and on occasion has growled at my partner (whilst hiding behind my legs). I think she would prefer a female primary caregiver who understands she needs reassurance and confidence building. Due to Foxy's nervous disposition she is looking for an adult only home. Foxy could live with another dog(s) given appropriate introductions and time to get used to them. She is fine with my 3 now. She would prefer a cat free home. She wears a collar, harness, lead and slip lead for walks. Foxy is excellent on walks, she acts like she has always been on a lead.

She is working on toilet training. She usually goes outside, however, can have some accidents overnight but hasn’t for the past week. She is crate trained although currently uses the crate with the door permanently open, she uses this as her safe space and will retreat to this when she is feeling overwhelmed. She has never been destructive. Currently, Foxy is left for up to 2 hours and is fine with this. Foxy travels well in the car. So a home with an understanding of how far she has come in just 4 weeks and the patience and time to continue to work with her on any ongoing issues is a must.

Thanks Susan! If you would like to put in an application for Foxy (or any of our other PPTF dogs), please apply here.

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