Are you thinking of adopting or fostering a pet?

This blog is dedicated to all the newbies like me who want to adopt a dog but are doubtful about this commitment.

Back in 2009, I have memories of two german shepherd my childhood friend had. The idea of them growling and playing always scared me. My only interaction with them was playing ball games. Recently, in January 2020, I met Abby, one pretty labrador my neighbors have. Though she’s always calm when I am around her but she can definitely shoo away some street dogs when she is out on field trip (guess you know what I mean). After spending some with Abby and talking to her lovely parents, I understand how similar it is to raise a human child and an animal. Abby’s behavior because of her training inspired me to think about adoption. I took this idea to my neighbors who then suggested me to experience fostering first before going for adoption. This suggestion was a lifesaver. I discussed the same idea with my friend who then connected me to Life of Paws group in HSR, Bangalore. Later that day of my call, they got me these two puppies who were rescued because they were so vulnerable on the streets because of the lockdown.

They were hardly any leftovers on the street and people were not feeding them on the streets because of COVID-19 fear that animals might transfer. They were just 2 months born when I got them to foster for a few days. Let’s see the first few days of my cuties Riti and Bella. Riti, she was so weak that within the first few days she was unable to walk. For food, I had to even support her neck.

I was instructed to get them 3 medicines (syrup) using a syringe. It was really a difficult task in the beginning but later I got used to use syringe and handle these cuties. Bella, on the other hand, was the notorious one. She was difficult to train but quickly become comfortable in my place. Riti took a few more days to get used to my company and the place. Let’s get to their typical daily life.

Mornings

I live in a 1BHK with Riti and Bella. They got the hall to sleep and I get to use the other room. Being a morning person, getting up early is never a difficult task for me. I started feeding them breakfast that was their puppy biscuits and fruits sometimes. Post 10-20 minutes, I will walk them outside for their field trip (now you should know what I mean).

Noons

Around 12:30, their lunch was served. They loved curd rice, peeled carrots, cucumber, and dog food gravy. I used to mix and match with rice and chapati. Post 10-20 minutes I will walk them to the nearby ground to let them do their business. It took me a week to get them used to that place. Earlier they used to find a spot in the hall only but later I trained them after some newspaper hits. Now training has to be continuous without any break in the schedule initially. They should recognize their spot for their stuff. It all depends on:

– Area: they don’t do their business anywhere near to their bed or food. So they will look for something distant.
– Surface: they should get the same surface as before. For example tile, ground, grass, clay, sand.
– Timing: They will wait for that particular time to download.
– Existing shit: If some other dog has done their business, the dogs want to mark their territory. Hence, they are more likely to do in that area. Quite interesting, isn’t it?

Evenings

Around 5 PM, I used to get them snacks – a few biscuits and serve dinner at 8 PM. And after 15 min., field trip. Every field visit will be playtime for them outside. Very important for dogs to exercise otherwise it will be difficult for them to sleep peacefully. Very similar to humans 😛

My morning jog led to a 5 gala breakfast party

After a few weeks of them being at my place, I got them leashes. Leash was so important because one fine day I went out for morning jog alone for about an hour. What do I see when I return? The entire hall was a mess. They jumped on the shoe rack to reach their favorite calcium biscuits. Out of 30, they eat 18 altogether. It was supposed to last for a month but kids wouldn’t know that, right? In the night at 11:30 PM when I was sleeping, I heard Riti making noises. I came out and saw her throwing up. I was pretty scared which led me to call up the NGO people. They asked me to monitor them for about an hour and if things go wrong, they need to get hospitalized. So till 1:30 AM, I was keeping a watch in half-sleep. In the morning another girl, Bella had motions. I got them medicines but they kept doing this for about the entire day. They were on only glucose for the next 12 hours. This all went for about 3 days to get back to their normal routine. So everything has to be kept out of reach.

It took me one packet of calcium overdose incident, sacrificing my headphones and one speaker’s connector. I then decided to get a fence for them. But due to lockdown Amazon couldn’t deliver a pet fence which would be the savior so I had to experiment with a net and cardboard. Both did not survive for even 10 days because the kids started jumping. Below is the first attempt:

Here are some pen fence ideas in case you don’t want to invest in Amazon products:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TIjsWwd_8I
  2. https://twoandthreequarters.com/2016/08/10/diy-dog-gate/
  3. https://www.bestdogcentral.com/how-to-make-dog-gate-out-of-cardboard/
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWOy8_pYr10
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKNNePEbjW4 using storage shelves

Training

Rule: No food if they don’t agree with what you want them to do. For example, I instructed them to sit before I feed them. They will not listen for the first few days so you support your instruction with some newspaper hits or make them sit forcefully.

Toilet Training: Evidently dogs are very fast learners when it comes to toilet training as they train by smell. They also get trained faster when you treat them with treats (biscuits) for listening to commands. A puppy can be given toilet training as early as their 2- 3 months and they usually pick it up in 1–2 months and some even in lesser time. You can make their space in the house by giving them a place for releasing themselves like a balcony or a bathroom spot.

Situations

You have to be ready for some situations like below:

  1. When they wag their tails, it means they are in a playful mood.
  2. Puppies excitement often lead to some leakages so don’t mind
  3. Looking at strangers, they will do sequential barks. Their voice would be different when they are welcoming or threatening so you will get to know what’s when.
  4. They might or might now like to play with other dogs. Dogs elder to them can threaten them using strong bark.
  5. Vaccination day – If the puppies are rescued, their vaccination must be given on time as suggested by the vet doctor.
    Reference link: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/The-Different-Types-of-Dog-Barks

Must haves

  1. Pen fence – https://www.amazon.in/AmazonBasics-Pet-Pens-Without-Door/dp/B0758CTVVR/
  2. Poop scooper – https://www.amazon.in/Pets-Company-Scooper-Waste-Picker/dp/B07WDLD91J/
  3. Dog Treats (for training) – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B079T87VW1
  4. Chew Rope Toy – https://www.amazon.in/Foodie-Puppies-Cotton-Durable-Medium/dp/B0754W55W9
  5. Bed – https://www.amazon.in/Gorgeous-Soft-Reversible-Cats-Small/dp/B07BHB5ZXQ/
  6. Dog collar and leash

They were with me for about 1.5 months (fostering). Now, I miss them to my core. Their unconditional love will always be remembered. I was able to spend time learning this parenting only because of my lovely neighbors and Life of Paws NGO. So thankful to them. And also the lockdown :P. Those 1.5 months would be amongst the best times of my life. I wish to adopt a pet permanent now.