My Fostering Experience

During this time of COVID-19, I (along with my family) fostered a dog named “Handsome” Johnny. He was about 2 months old when we first got him. The first day, he stayed in one area under our porch and barely ate anything. This gave us a first impression that was far from what he would become.

Within a few short days, he started eating more than he could chew and began playing with our dog, a Miniature Schnauzer named Milo. At first, we thought that they were fighting, but soon learned that beneath the gentle growling and chewing on one another, they were harmlessly playing.

Next came his shoe-chewing phase. We slowly noticed that our shoes were being misplaced. After some investigation, we came to discover that the cute little puppy we called Johnny was taking our shoes outside and chewing them. Naturally, the bite marks are still apparent on our beloved shoes, but they remind us of Johnny and his craziness. Unfortunately, he also decided to chew objects other than shoes, such as my computer charging cable, fan cable, and my mother’s newly made dining room furniture.

He also was very vivacious. He would leap and jump all over you if he hadn’t seen you in a while (even if it was just a few minutes), and, when he was not sleeping, he would be right up in your space, licking you and seeking attention.

Johnny came along with a dog crate. He had been crate trained at his previous foster home and we were instructed to continue that routine. We decided to locate the crate in my bedroom. The first night (see third picture below), both dogs fell asleep peacefully on my floor. Per instruction, I had to put him in his crate. He was very hesitant and Milo cried for him to be left outside, but I got him in. I woke up in the morning to his cries to be taken out (probably to use to the bathroom). This continued for quite a few nights, but after a while, his crate was taken outside.

Just a short while into his stay, Johnny started looking a little different. A patch of skin on his side had become irritated. Soon after this, everything else started to fall apart. He developed dander and mange and had to be given different creams, shampoos, and medications. After all of his treatments, rides to the clinic, and weeks of patience, his skin started to look better and he was back in the running for the original first part to his name – “Handsome”.

After a while, the practice of his destructive shoe-chewing habits diminished, so he decided to do something new – digging in my mother’s garden. She would find holes or fragments of once-alive plants on the ground, so he decided that he would have to spend his time in the back part of our yard, an area separated by a small wooden fence on each side. He wanted to be in the front, so he used methods such as squeezing through the fence panels or digging under the fence. Whenever he escaped and we found him in the front or in the house, we had to investigate to find out how he had escaped and try to prevent him from doing so again. Eventually, after using cement blocks, wood panels, and string, we were successful in preventing him from escaping again.

Once his skin issues had cleared up for the most part, we took him to get neutered (The Belmopan Humane Society (BHS) holds a spay/neuter clinic every month). He didn’t resist while doing preliminary measures, so it was easy to get him sedated, except for some drooling during the process. After the surgery, he was taken to the “aftercare station”. Then, he was put in a crate next to the other dogs to recover. He was very tired afterwards, but he didn’t waste much time before becoming lively again.

Since his skin had cleared up and he was neutered, he was up for adoption. Within a week, a family displayed interest. They were eligible to be owners and after visiting their residence and filling out paperwork, his adoption was finalized.

Johnny was such a great dog, and I didn’t want him to leave my life forever. Thankfully, his new home was just a few streets away, so my father and I were recently able to visit him briefly recently. The new owners had renamed him “Phiz”, so I had to correct myself a few times when referring to him. However, he will always be Johnny to me. Their dog gets along well with Johnny and I am told that they play and run around till the late hours of the night.

Ms. Eden Estephan was very instrumental in this process. As an individual and member of BHS, she spent many hours taking Johnny to the clinic, visiting him, bathing him, and making sure that he had everything he needed. She was a big help. Thank you!

I’d also like to thank the Belmopan Humane Society for all of the good work they do and for giving me the opportunity to get to know this beloved dog. If you are interested, you can visit their website or Facebook page to learn more about them, find current fostering/adoption options, donate, and more. The pictures below show his progression – from his first day with us to his last. Credit to Ms. Eden Estephan for the four high quality pictures below and her amazing help. Thank you again!

“Briefly, it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature.”
— ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá
(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá)

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