My First Foster Dog
A while ago I wrote a post about PACT For Animals, a military pet foster organization. Late last year I had the opportunity to care for my first foster dog through PACT and I’d like to share the highlights of my experience here.
My first foster dog was Racer, a sweet black and white Pit-Lab mix, who I fostered while his owner was training to be an Air Force Agent.
How I Met My First Foster
I received an email from a PACT foster coordinator about Racer in late November. She explained his need for a foster due to his “mom’s” training. He was described as a 4-year-old pit mix that was good with kids and other dogs and had a fantastic personality. Though Racer’s first foster wanted to care for him, his job didn’t allow him to provide the time and exercise Racer needed.
After discussing it with the family, I replied to PACT ‘s email. I let them know we were interested in taking him for his 3-4 month term. Shortly after we were contacted by his owner, Tattianna, and a meet-and-greet was arranged with Racer’s current foster.
PACT sent a very detailed and helpful Meet-and-Greet Guide to both Racer’s first foster and me. It included instructions for introducing Racer to my dogs. Both parties followed the instructions closely and the meeting went very well.
About a week later we had the opportunity to meet Tattianna during her Thanksgiving break. From there Tattianna agreed to sign the foster form and have Racer start his term with us shortly. Racer joined us about a week before Christmas. This was special for me as I consider it a great gift that I got to foster such an amazing dog!
The training was a very fun part of Racer’s stay with me. I enjoy teaching dogs manners and fun tricks.
Tattianna asked me to work with Racer on leash pulling so this became a major focus of our walks. A front clip harness gave me more control than his basic collar and helped curb his pulling.
I also taught Racer some cute tricks too. Racer was a quick and motivated learner. I was able to teach him Crawl, Bow, and High-Five while he was in my care. Teaching tricks was a great way to have fun and bond with my first foster.
Part of fostering another dog in your home means making adjustments to keep the dog happy and healthy. Racer presented two adjustments I had to make and one was his allergies. Because he was allergic to various foods, it meant he could not be given basically any “human food.” I was able to start giving Racer some Turmeric chews (coconut oil, turmeric, and black pepper) both for his allergies and his sensitive joints. Racer also had salmon oil and cranberry supplements and enzymes he was given at every meal.
Racer’s allergies were fairly easy to keep under control by giving him his daily medication and bi-weekly bath. Racer experienced most of his itching episodes in the evening, but an anti-itch spray was all that was needed to provide quick relief.
Racer’s second challenge was his energy level. Even though I was expecting it based on his description, I had to quickly adjust to the increase of activity he brought. My dogs are content with playing fetch inside for a few minutes each day and going on the occasional walk. Racer, on the other hand, wanted to play with his ball outside as soon as I woke up in the morning. He enjoyed repeating this several times throughout the day. We also took walks almost daily.
A few weeks into his term I found a great way to get out some energy inside. I asked him to stay and hid some of his toys around the house. After they were hidden I would release him and say “Where’s your toy?” while he would search everywhere until he found them. This was such a fun game for both of us!
In early March Tattianna graduated from her training and the foster term came to an end. We drove to a park to reunite Racer with Tattianna. Yes, it was a bittersweet moment for me, I love Racer, his super friendly personality and his playful demeanor!
Overall my first foster experience was a great one and knowing that I helped keep Tattianna and Racer together, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.
PACT has been an amazing organization to volunteer with. They are always quick to respond to any questions you have. I highly recommend volunteering with PACT to help keep more of our military with their pets.
If you like the idea of fostering a pet for service members or hospital patients in need than please check out my post on PACT for Animals and consider applying!
Special thanks to Tattianna for letting me share my foster experience with Racer. I couldn’t have asked for a more responsive and devoted owner to work with! And to Racer who will always hold a special place in my memories.
Ivy Alexis & Sage