Senior Fostering Rewards
We are fostering Oso Grande right now and others are correct, fostering a senior is a rewarding experience...especially with the wonderful support of HRI! My husband and I picked up Oso, who will be 11 years old next month. He was surrendered when his elderly owner could no longer care for him properly. Oso likely has CD and was a whopping 38 pounds when we got him, with a very deformed front leg, hip dysplasia in one hip, and had hip repair surgery in the other after a prior attack by a pit bull. The day we picked him up from his owner he could only barely, with a substantial amount of effort, lift his back-end up off the ground (sometimes we had to help him to his feet). Then once he was up, he would frequently fall. We live in a two story house and we had to carry him up and down the stairs. He also had several sores on his skin and places where he had licked the fur off because of skin allergies. And his teeth desperately needed a cleaning. I was very doubtful that first couple days that he wasn't going to need to be put down. It was heartbreaking for awhile mostly because there was no joy in Oso's life.
Fast forward two weeks. Oso is now on daily pain meds, thyroid medicine, allergy medicine, and for a while antibiotics for his skin. I will admit, for awhile having a senior dog with health issues and medications was frustrating. It took some trial and error to find the treat the he liked and that covered the terrible taste of the pain meds and I think some time to build trust to take them from us. It was not a lot of fun to carry him up and down the stairs. There were several emails to Karen Grant and Andria for support and advice (they are wonderful!!!). However, through it all, he just wanted love. He longed to be near us, to have us pet him (though you had to be careful because sometime petting caused him pain), and to just lay at our feet. However, looking at his sad and pain ridden eyes and knowing that his heart was breaking for the owner and doggy sibling he had spent most of his life with and had now lost, the frustration would melt away.
Fast forward 3 months. The transformation has been amazing to watch and experience. With his daily meds, especially the pain meds and the loss of a few pounds, that poor dog who couldn't lift his back-end 3 months ago, now: goes up and down the stairs on his own, runs..yes I did say runs...with our three other dogs, stands on his back legs to put his front paws on the couch, jumps and bounces up and down when he gets excited, and last weekend actually jumped up on the couch and back down by himself!!!!! He willingly takes his daily meds and actually looks forward to the treat that comes with them. He barks with joy when he sees us and follows us everywhere.
Having Oso has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life when I realize that with HRI's medical treatment and a little effort from me to give him his medicine twice a day, a whole new world has opened up to this old dog. I would be very willing to guess that he had not bounced with excitement in probably a couple of years. He lived a very sedate and low-key life before. Now, joy and happiness have replaced the sadness and pain in his eyes and he seems to thoroughly enjoy life. I don't know what will happen with his adoption, but I can tell you that he is a joy in my house and until the absolutely perfect home comes for him, he will be welcome to live out the rest of his years with us. It has been a wonderful experience and I encourage you to take the chance with an old boy or girl :-)