PCTC Rescue

The Potomac Cairn Terrier Club is a breed club that aims to be of service to members, fanciers, humane societies, and the general public, so far as Cairn Terriers are concerned. The PCTC Rescue Committee fosters, rehabilitates, and places Cairn terriers who are in need of new homes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Letter From a Foster Home

The following is an e-mail from a Foster Mom to a Rescue Co-chair regarding her foster dogs and why she fosters.
Gus (formerly Jinks)

To: Lynda Hammel
From: Ann Gates
Date: January 3, 2004
Subject: Jinks

Dear Lynda,

I got Jinks in July. His short-term owner had had a devastating accident and couldn't keep him. She had just received him from his first family, who had given him up in a move. Linda and Herb picked him up at the Gaithersburg Animal Hospital and dropped him at Harris' work in Accokeek, Maryland, near their house. When Harris received him and put him in the car he was afraid to handle him. Jinks was so thin and fragile feeling, that Harris was afraid he was hurting the dog just by holding him. Jinks was depressed, sick, and appeared to know no commands. He appeared completely un-housebroken. He came with a diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease, and had to be on antibiotics for 3 weeks before we could even schedule a vet appointment for a re-check. He weighed 12 pounds, and though he is quite small, it was not nearly enough. The poor guy was on his third home in three weeks, and was miserable. As I recall, we had no health history, and his poor owner could not give us many details about him, except, of course, he was not housebroken. So there he was, in my kitchen, small, red (of course), and wretched.

By the time Jinks was neutered it was October. He was fatter, happier, and nearly housebroken. I was also getting very fond of him. I try to maintain a distance from these little guys. I want them to be happy to move on to their real homes, but he was a real cutie. He had a rough time with the neutering and ended up with an infection. He also ended up with the biggest Elizabethan collar I have ever seen on a little dog. He would fall over his own head trying to smell things outside, but it was the only way to keep him from irritating himself. He moved on to Pam Ross and her lovely husband, and his new canine sister, just about Halloween. He very quickly seemed to know that he was in his own home now. He missed Pam's dog Halloween party (his new Australian Cattle Dog sister went as a biker), but I know that next year he will be ready. In fact, I think Jinks, now Gus, is a resilient little Cairn who will be ready for anything.

Darby was only with me a few weeks. He came in late November and was gone by December 12 so that he could be in his new family for Christmas. Darby is a pretty little blond guy, straight backed and Cairny. He was also scared to ride in cars, scared of other dogs, scared to death of the vet, so scared they couldn't get a heartbeat, scared to be groomed, and, of course, not reliably toilet trained. However, Darby is a very healthy boy, neutered, and up to date on all his shots. We also had good health records for him. He is smart, dear and affectionate, he made good housebreaking progress. His new owners are gentle people with one older daughter still at home, and the biggest, most self-confident (aggressive?) cat you have ever seen. Darby was initially both revolted by and frightened of the cat, who walked in and sniffed poor Darby from nose to tail, not leaving anything out. Now I am told they are sometimes caught napping together. Darby moved into their house pretty happily, and quickly seemed adjusted.

I know you didn't ask for this, but let me tell you why I foster. Even though I whine (and you are so sweet to humor me), I love little dogs. That is the bottom line. Also, I really hope that the little dogs that I have bred and sent out into the world have not been hurt and abandoned. I really hope that someone has been there for them, but the best I can do is to be there for these guys. The little dogs are a pain in the neck. They always seem to come before holidays or vacations. They are seldom without some troublesome defect. My children love them all and want to keep all of them, and my husband doesn't. But I tell you, it is a tribute to the breed, and an inspiration to me, that despite health problems, grief, abandonment, and confusion, the little dogs always seem to be willing to trust me, to do what I ask, and to find joy in just going outside with a new person and a full dinner bowl. I wish I were more like them.

Love, Ann