I have been thinking about short-term fostering a dog for a while now, and Rodney had been at the clinic at Swan Vet for months on and off. He is a young (5 month old) pup and he needs to be out and about to learn human house rules and just generally how to behave in a domestic situation. I offered to take him out for the weekend so that he could get some home time.
When I picked him up he was very wiggly and happy. I put him in the back seat of the car but before I could get the key in the ignition he had come through into the front, stomped around on the dashboard and then climbed into my lap.
I had to put him in the back behind the cargo barrier, and I'm glad I did because he had a little accident which I needed to clean off the plastic 'hosable' floor in the X-Trail.
When I got him home, I left him in the car and shoved Bender and Barbie outside. I bought him into the house and they met through the door. Rodney is a very plucky and confident fellow, so the introduction was easy. He hit it off with Bender and Barbie right away.
The cats made themselves scarce for the first 12 hours or so, which is fair enough because Rodney was doing his best doggie tornado impression with Bender. Barbie even played chasey with him in the yard for a little while.
The cats finally came to check him out when he was eating his dinner in his crate. He didn't show much interest in the cats, and they decided that he was safe to be around very quickly. Froufrou sat on my lap whilst Rodney was hanging around and Mittens was rubbing her head on his face by Sunday morning.
The first night, Rodney tried to steal my dinner right off the plate, but after that he seemed to learn to stay away from human food. He seemed to be more praise motivated than anything else and was constantly trying to climb into my lap and mouth my arms. I managed to redirect most of his mouthing towards toys and I also got him retrieving balls and toys, though not with the over the top enthusiasm Bender has for the task!
I put him in the crate and he did whinge a little, but he did have another accident in the crate, which may have been why.
I took him to City Farmers and at first he didn't think he was allowed to go into the store. When I convinced him it was OK he was pretty good. I got some toys for everyone so that Bender wouldn't get annoyed about sharing his.
Did I mention walks? Rodney got two walks on Saturday night - one with each resident dog. He walked very well with Barbie, and he pulled on the leash a bit more with Bender. He was definitely modelling his behaviour on the resident dog he was with at the time. He also walked a lot closer to Bender. A lot of the walk they were touching. Bender didn't seem to mind. It was very cute.
Saturday night I fed him in his crate as is the routine now. He was very good, I left him in there until Bender finished his dinner, and Bender takes his time! He didn't complain though his tail and body went into a crazy wiggle every time he caught sight of me.
We all went to bed at 10.30pm and Rodney was quiet as a mouse in his crate. Barbie woke me up at 5.30am, so I let everyone out for their wees. I put Rodney back in the crate with some breakfast so I could get some sleep and went back to bed. I got up at 7.30am and he was lying quietly waiting. No accidents, his little tummy had settled and he did a proper poo outside.
On Sunday morning I took him to the river on Bender's long leash we used for tracking so that he couldn't get into trouble. He made a great impression on everyone there.
I overheard people talking about back yard breeding and puppy farms and how outrageous it was that dodgy people are still breeding dogs.
A lady said 'until every dog in Australia has a home, there shouldn't be people breeding them'. I took that as an opportunity to introduce Rodney to them. Everyone was impressed with him and how friendly he was with all other dogs and people.
The guy there said he would tell his friend about Rodney, and the lady who was originally talking about puppy farms gave me $10 for Rodney's care, which I passed on to Swan Vet when I returned him this morning.
I was pretty sad to see the little fellow go back but we don't have great fences and I don't want to take the risk. It might be better that he is at the clinic during the week anyway as it makes it easier for potential adopters to meet him!
He certainly needs some training, but I think he's so willing to please that he is going to bond really well with his new owners and the sky will be the limit with him. I can definitely see him doing the Canine Good Citizen test in the future!
LATE EDIT: Rodney is going to a more permanent foster carer tonight, but he's still looking for his forever home.
Anyone in WA who wants to adopt Rodney should check out his profile here.