Raised Right | Whole Dog Journal

August 2018 Issue

Fostering “pays it forward” in ways I did not anticipate, but sure appreciate.

About half of the litter of nine puppies that I have been fostering for my local shelter got altered and adopted this week; the other half are scheduled for surgery next week. I’m sure they are going to get adopted within a day or two; they are adorable, friendly, confident little things – right up there in the top three of the most charming litters of puppies I’ve fostered.

whole dog journal editor nancy kerns

Well, that begs the question: How many litters has that been? I’ve lost track. I’ll have to go through my cloud storage and look at the past few years’ worth of photos. I lose
countless hours trying to get good photos and video of all the pups.

Some of the most entertaining video footage I get every time I foster results from taping my one and only “foster failure,” Woody, as he plays with the foster puppies. Most of you must know the expression; it means I was supposed to only foster him and his eight siblings, but I “failed” by keeping one (him). When I count how many puppies I have fostered, I will have to run a separate tally for how many he has helped me with.

I posted a video of Woody playing with this batch of puppies on WDJ’s Facebook
and Instagram, and bragged what a good puppy-raiser he is – the best! One of my best
friends commented, “But what about Maebe?”

Ah, yes. Woody is the puppy-raising expert he is thanks to Maebe, the young adult Black and Tan Coonhound who helped raise him. About two and a half years ago, I was fostering Maebe for my local shelter when they called to ask if I could also take in a litter of nine three-week-old, pit-mix puppies. Maebe had been living with me for a month or two at the time; she was an extremely active, curious dog with a little bit of separation anxiety that was making it difficult to find her a home. She enjoyed helping entertain the puppies as they grew, offering them toys and then snatching them away, trying to bait the pack of puppies into chasing her.

I ended up falling hard for one of those pups – Woody – so Maebe got to raise him for a couple more months. She was brilliant with him: endlessly playful, kind, and generous.
They ate from the same bowls, chewed on the same bones, and slept draped all over each other. The whole time, I was training and promoting her. At last she found a home after the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue group posted a courtesy listing for me. Maebe was flown to southern California by a volunteer pilot from Pilots N Paws and picked up there by her new owner, who lives in Arizona.

Maebe’s owner and I have become fast friends through social media. I love seeing photos of them in Arizona – and was happy that Maebe’s owner got to see Maebe getting credit for Woody’s puppy-raising prowess! Best, she got a great dog, I got a great dog, and Woody gets to keep raising good dogs, too.

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