Love, wee and poo: Why I fostered puppies
Before I picked up the puppies I was fostering, someone asked me why I was doing it. What a ridiculous question I thought. Why was I fostering puppies? Because it meant I would get to have puppies in my house. Puppies. Who doesn’t want puppies in their house? They said I was so kind, and was very good to give up my time like that. I thought they were mental.
When I picked up Honey and Cline from the DSPCA they were crying, but they were the sweetest little things I had ever seen. They were only six weeks old and they were tiny. They were Lab/ Staffy crosses (the DSPCA told me they German Sheppard’s but they definitely were not) and had shiny black coats and little white paws. I feel a bit like I am writing a children’s book typing that.
So how does one end up fostering two puppies from the DSPCA? Well it’s really simple. A friend of mine was doing it, and I was giving her a hand (that should have been my first clue). I asked her for the contact and by filling in a form about myself and my living conditions, I applied to be a fosterer. Every week since then I’ve received an email with a list of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens that need temporary homes.
They are mostly dogs and cats with kennel cough that need to be away from the other animals in order to get better, there are also nervous animals that need a bit of peace, and young animals that haven’t had their shots yet. Honey and Cline belong to the last group. Bundling them into the car on that first day I thought all my Christmases had come at once. I was to have them stay with me for three weeks and I didn’t think that would be long enough, with their tiny little faces looking up at me from their basket.
Getting them home and settled was fine, until the pooing started. It had been a while since I had looked after such young dogs, and I had forgotten about house training. I needed to get to the shops to get newspaper before my entire flat became literally, a shithole. Three poos and one wee on the new Ikea throw later (I misguidedly thought they wouldn’t do it if I put them on the couch) I was trying to figure out a way to get out the door without my heart breaking. I only needed to get to the shop for some newspaper and lunch, so I thought; I can’t leave them, I’ll just pop them in my oversize handbag. Sure if Paris can do it why can’t I?
I was about half-way to the shops when I realised how much of a mistake I had made. These were not chilled out puppies that were happy to be in a bag. These were wiggly, squeaky, scratchy, bitey puppies that were not going to be contained. I remembered I had to pick up a parcel in the post office. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to wrestle a handbag of puppies (is it just me or does that sounds like a naughty metaphor), an oversize parcel, a stack of newspapers and a shopping bag. I had to change when I got home I was sweating so much. But I still loved them.
I spent the afternoon in bliss, playing and getting absolutely nothing done. I didn’t mind about the poo, or the wee, or the scratchiness. I was wise enough to know, after I put them to bed, not to go down when the crying started. And amazingly, it worked. They stopped crying. I slept until dawn. I thought I’d gotten away with it.
I’d just started a new shift at work, meaning I had to be in at 7. This was hard enough, but now I was waking at 5.30 to puppy crying. If you’ve ever heard puppy crying, you’ll know what I mean when I say, ‘ow my soul hurts’. I pulled on a coat and (new, expensive, only ones in the hall) shoes and sleep walked to the in the nearest green space. We have no private garden, so I was subjecting people to some serious horrors, including pyjama bottoms which I realised mid-park had a very gaping crotch hole. The puppies pooed on my lovely new shoes. But I still loved them (the puppies, and the shoes).
Leaving them to go to work wasn’t so hard the nest time. But one hour into my day the guilt pangs started. I can understand why people have puppy cams to spy on and chat to their dogs at home. A friend brought them for a walk, and didn’t text me after, when I got home I understood why. Their enthusiasm when I opened the door was only met by the amount of poo and wee all over the room. I swear that if you moulded all the poo together it would make a sculpture bigger than the two puppies put together. How it that possible? They also spent a good twenty minutes jumping their little pooey very sharp paws all over me. The next day in work someone looked at the raw and crusty cuts on my hands and wrists like I might be self harming. I suppose in some ways I was.
But I still loved them.
That evening, I got nothing done again. This time it was a little more frustrating, as work was starting to pile up. But look at those faces.
The next morning the puppy chorus woke at before dawn. I started to appricate the freedom and sleep I had in my previous life.
That evening I had to skip drinks with friends to pick up poo and be scratched.
But I still loved them.
The days went on. More wounds, more poo, less sleep.
Maybe I didn’t actually want to have kids so soon after all.
I rang the DSPCA and said maybe 10 days would be enough.
But I still loved them.