How Foster Carers help our dogs prepare for rehoming
Tigga is a 14-year-old Border Terrier cross who arrived at Dogs Trust Canterbury in early January.
Since her arrival she has been on quite a journey. Tigga wasn’t coping very well in kennels and had some medical issues which needed further investigation, so our Home from Home coordinator, Leon, called upon one of his foster carers, Phil, from Sittingbourne. Phil is a brilliant foster carer who has given Tigga his full attention, love and care; he has even written a regular diary to record every single change, update and behaviour in Tigga’s day-to-day life.
The dogs we choose to go into our foster home scheme are usually either elderly, have injuries or medical conditions and very occasionally we are just a little short on kennel space.
We thought we would share how living in a foster home has helped Tigga become more confident and demonstrates how she could potentially be in her forever home, once she has had time to settle in.
Tigga's Foster Home Diary
28th January: This morning Tigga came upstairs at 7am to suggest it was time for me to get up which I obeyed, and she was very pleased. She is becoming increasingly confident in coming to me for contact and attention.
2nd February: Tigga is now very confident to jump up and join me on my sofa. I was really pleased to see how she reacted to Leon yesterday and I think he was happy with the way she has progressed in the week she has been with me. Today Tigga started to play with me with her coloured tennis ball and I think this is another very positive development. I am sure this has contributed to her confidence. She is remarkably quick and agile when chasing the ball despite her age and limited vision and it is a joy to see her playing.
13th February: Reducing Tigga's defensive and appeasement behaviour: Her barking, which could be non-stop when she first came to stay with me, is now restricted to grumbles and single yaps which each have a specific meaning. I think this is an appropriate and effective level of communication.
20th-22nd February: Tigga is calm and relaxed with me, I am seeing less appeasement behaviour, she is now comfortable with being picked up in predictable situations and she now regularly seeks and enjoys affectionate contact. Leon says that he has observed a big improvement in Tigga and he has suggested that she should be reassessed.
2nd March: Leon tells me that from Tigga’s last assessment she still struggles to cope at the centre. She was stressed in the kennel, struggled to settle, displaying stress related shaking and she was not interested in food. However, the assessment noted that her temperament has really improved. She enjoys playing, is relaxed with general handling and responds well to meeting new people.
10th-11th March: Tigga has now been with me for a little over 6 weeks and in this time, she has made a lot of progress. At first, she was anxious and defensive, barking at me frequently and displaying a lot of appeasement behaviour. She has now settled down and she is calm and relaxed all the time.
8th-9th April: Tigga is a lovely old lady who now comes to me regularly for contact, attention and affection. She has abandoned the defensive behaviour that she needed to develop in her previous environment and her appeasement gestures are much reduced.
Now Tigga is ready for rehoming!
We are so pleased with Tigga's progress! Tigga's best friend and foster carer, Phil, has really changed her life and set her up for every success in finding a suitable, loving forever home. Tigga is now ready to be rehomed, read about her on her profile page.
If you're interest in rehoming this gorgeous girl, get in touch with Dogs Trust Canterbury.