To date I think I’ve homed close to 200 puppies, not bad considering I have only been doing this for two years. But no one will ever prepare you for the joys and heartache of being a foster mom. At one time, I couldn’t even look at pictures in the newspaper of dogs being abused and neglected, now I am taking them into my home and nursing them, giving them healthy food, lots of love, teaching them to trust humans again and finding them homes with families who will love them.
Each one of my puppies have been loved like they were my very own. From the day they arrive till the day I kiss them goodbye as they leave with their new family, they are a part of my life and loved every second they are with me.
And everyone knows that Puppy Love is the best therapy there is. Sometimes I just make tea and go sit down outside in my ‘puppy courtyard’ for ages while they climb all over me and fight for my attention. Biting on my toes, pulling my socks and hair, tugging on my clothes, and then finally all (and I mean ALL) climbing into my lap to sleep. I have had 2 – 6 pups at a time, and then litters of 10 and 11 pups. And when all those babies go off to homes, the next litter is already on it’s way. It’s never a dull moment at the Ashford Fosters.
There is an endless supply of puppy breath, wet noses, wagging tails, and an abundance of puppy kisses and cuddles, screaming for food, demanding attention, picking up toys, tripping over puppies, standing in poop! But it’s all worth it when you come home and you are greeted by 11 of the most adorable little faces just begging for some love and affection.
So here is a little taste of what goes on behind the foster mom scene…
Home time is full out 1.5 hours of puppy / dog downtime. 11 hungry puppies screaming for food, and 7 dogs so excited to see you, they are literally bowling you over as you get out the car.
Before you even put your bags down or have a pee, the kettle goes on and 12 dog bowls are lined up on the counter. Breathe! Then the relays start… Puppies feed first, because by now 11 hungry puppies have become, 11 howling wolves! While they are eating Jorja starts feeding the rest of the Ashford Gang. Tyson, Sasha, Bear, Luna, Reign, Diesel and Harley Quinn. I have started the puppy clean up… Armed with my shovels, Shit must go! Then all the newspapers get thrown away into bags, dog beds get moved out and blankets get put into washing pile for weekend. Then out comes the hose pipe and JIK! Good old Jik… I must use a litre a week… Got to keep the place disinfected to prevent bacteria and diseases.
By now, all big dogs are fed and Jorja cleans inside the house, newspaper, floors etc. Once all the cleaning is done, then it’s time to start all over again. Clean newspaper, fresh blankets, and lots of kisses and cuddles. Oh then if there’s time sometimes we eat dinner!
Weekends haven’t been the same since I started fostering, but it’s ok, I love cleaning and keeping busy and active so it’s all good! My washing machine is my BEST FRIEND, it goes non stop until all doggie blankets are clean and I have a new pile for the week ahead. If i’m lucky I get to do some clothes too, but puppy stuff takes priority. The puppy room (yes they have their own room) gets a major clean and disinfecting on weekends, hosed down, Jik and good scrub, as well as they courtyard too.
I’m always dressed to kill in my gum boots and track pants, drop dead sexy I tell you. But my pups love it, water everywhere, newspaper to rip up and climb on while I’m trying to pick it up, running off with blankets and black bags. But hey, I get to hang out with them and keep their space clean and safe while they spend their time with me.
As much as it is hard work looking after all these babies, and I pretty much spend my life stepping in and cleaning up dog shit, I love every minute of what I do, and wouldn’t change it for the world. To know that I have made a difference for every puppy and dog that I have homed and rescued, means the absolute world to me, and the blood sweat and tears are worth it.
But it’s the tears that take their toll. I have homed so many pups, but only lost a few to puppy viruses. The devastation that these viruses cause to a small pup is beyond words, and I’ve seen a perfectly healthy baby fade away in 48 hours. I’ve held them in my arms hoping they would find the strength to fight, and sobbed as I’ve looked into their eyes as they have taken their last breath. Some have survived, but those who didn’t took a part of me with them when they left. It’s the ones that didn’t make it, who give me the strength to keep doing what I do, because there are hundreds more abandoned pups out there, in the townships, on the streets and even in peoples yards, who are in desperate need of our help.
COMET – rescued from being sold on the street. Died at 7 weeks after his intestines went septic from Bacterial Infection. My heart was shattered!
As long as there are puppies in need of a second chance, I will continue to rescue and foster. And because I need them as much as they need me!
Find my fosters available for adoption on Facebook “The Ashford Fosters”