Foster Dog #40: Duke

I can’t believe we’re already at foster dog #40. We’ve been fostering for about three years, so I guess we average helping a little more than one foster dog a month find a new home. I don’t usually see fostering as difficult, but lately we’ve had a string of dog-aggressive dogs, and for our lifestyle, this is the most difficult.

A dog-aggressive dog is one who, for whatever reason, gets his or her panties in a bunch when he or she sees another dog. Some dogs are leash-aggressive, meaning they only get upset around other dogs when on leash. This reaction is understandable because the leashed dog may feel trapped and may not be able to properly greet other dogs (this is a great reason to never tether a dog outside). Other dogs for whatever reason choose to attack first and ask questions later when they see another dog, while others still are very unpredictable – fine with other dogs for a while and then suddenly not-so-fine.

My current foster dog falls into the third category. One second he’s fine, and the next he’s on the attack. For example, Bill just hopped off the couch – not even anywhere near where Duke was standing – and Duke went after him. However, at the step to come inside from the yard, Duke walked in past Bill without any reaction. Very weird.

In all fairness, I can’t blame Duke for any discomfort on his part. He lived with the same owner for nearly seven years, and when she died, the family left him in the apartment alone for A WEEK, only bringing food once a day and not giving him potty breaks. Duke is a very clean, social dog, so this must have been hell for him. Duke landed at a rescue, where he was neutered and fostered for a few weeks. Apparently he was living with several other dogs and only had problems with one, but so far I’ve yet to see him find a dog he likes. Anyway, Duke got transferred to Boston Terrier rescue and subsequently to my home, one state away. It’s been a rough month for Duke, to say the least.

The second day we had him, my parents stopped by. He was doing fine with Bill until the doorbell sounded. I opened the door, Duke went after Bill, and when I reached in to break it up, well, let’s just say my hand was in the wrong place. This is the first time I’ve been bit in three years and 40 dogs, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. Man, did that hurt, though, and I’ve been incapacitated all weekend. The first 24 hours I had to take painkillers, and it hurt so bad I couldn’t sleep! It’s starting to heal, but we’re still watching it for infection.

Nevertheless, Duke is a very sweet dog when other dogs aren’t around, and he loves cats. (Luckily my one cat doesn’t mind his “love.”) My husband has really taken a liking to Duke, and they play with toys together often. Duke walks well on a leash and likes to cuddle. He rolls around on his back and burrows under the covers, making us laugh.

Bill has been at “Camp Grandparents” for the past two days, but he’s coming home today. I’ve got an intricate array of baby gates set up around the house to keep everyone safe and sane. Hopefully the rest of Duke’s stay will be uneventful.

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