Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Marta608, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    As some of you know, I'm volunteering at the local animal shelter. I need to feel useful, to be among gentle people and to involve my granddaughter in something besides the telephone. I do see now why we don't put ourselves out there much, not only because of the energy it takes, but because of the insideousness of our illness. "What do you mean you can't come to evening meetings?" "You're leaving already?" Not that they've said much but they continue to look surprised at my inabilities. After all, I look healthy...

    They asked me yesterday to foster the collie that I've fallen in love with. She's a sweet, dear dog but she's not trained to a leash so walking her is like trying to control a locomotive. She's BIG so she needs regular exercise and I cannot fence in my small yard. Because I'd love to be able to do it I, probably foolishly, told them I'd think about it. After 12 years you'd think I should know that things can't happen just because we want them too. But before I refuse, I want the advice of people who know what it's like to be me (a lot of CFS with some FM).

    By the way, I had cats before they got old and sick and I loved them dearly but of all the cats at the shelter, there isn't one in particular who stands out to me. I think it's that I want more companionship; I found myself talking to the sheets this morning as I took them out of the dryer.


    [This Message was Edited on 11/26/2006]
  2. Redwillow

    Redwillow New Member

    Hi Marta

    I have thought of doing the very same thing as you. Animals have always spoken to my heart. I am afraid that if I went to a shelter I would have trouble leaving the animals behind.

    You are right we look so healthy and people just don't understand how painful it is to do physical things. A big dog dragging me down the street, sitting in an evening meetings, lifting and carrying would make me sick for a week!

    As for fostering a dog perhaps you could take on a smaller one. Make sure you get one of those 'gentle leader' face halters which makes it impossible for the dog to drag you. They don't like the feel of it on their face at first and will try to scratch it off but they work wonderfully.

    This is what I used to train my labs when they were small. I had tennis elbow at the time and couldn't stand any pressure on my arms.

    Just a suggestion hon, it would be nice if you could have a dog for company.

    hugs Redwillow
  3. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    I really understand how your struggling with this decision.

    It's between your head and your heart!! Your heart really wants to do it, and it will fill an emotionally need, and your head is going, "Are you crazy!"

    It will tax you physically, which of course will tax you emotionally.

    I guess one question i would ask you is, is it at all possible to get someone else to exersice her, or leash train her for you??

    I just passed on a puppy i wanted really, really bad, i've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. But when it came, i too struggled, and there was too many reasons not to, even tho it really hurt my heart to say no.

    Just look at everything, do the whole Pro VS con thing. Only you know how much extra energy you can afford to use.

    If you do pass on this one, there may always be another one coming in that may suit you better?? Maybe a smaller one?

    P.S. My good friend, who knows i'm sick, is still baffled when i tell her i can't go some where in the evening hours.

    Good luck, let us know what you decide

    [This Message was Edited on 11/25/2006]
  4. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Thank you both. You both know exactly how I'm feeling and that's such a relief.

    Redwillow, I thought it would be harder to leave the animals behind than I'm finding it to be. When I leave them with clean bedding, tidy cages and fresh litter boxes (certainly not all my doing) and know that the people there have their best intersts at heart, it's not as hard as expected. When I get home from there I'm so tired that I'm actually glad not to have anyone needing me! You might try it if you find that the library is too much.

    I didn't know about Gentle leader halters. Would any pet store have them? Would they work for an older dog?

    Misty, exactly! The yearning for a sweet dog vs. Am I Nuts?!?! It's so hard to give up on things like pets and yet if we can't be good pet owners, it's not fair to them.

    What I'm really hearing from you both is that maybe it's a good idea to hold out for someone smaller. As much as I love Callie I think that's a good idea too - and not just for me but just as important, for her. Maybe I can be instrumental in finding her the right family and I surely can provide hugs and treats while she's there at the shelter.

    As for going there for a few hours a week, I'll have to see how I hold up. I really want to continue because animals don't judge; they're just happy to see you for however long you're there. At least that's true of the dogs. Some cats can give dirty looks.

    [This Message was Edited on 11/25/2006]
  5. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    How did you have the energy to take Ursula to obedience training and how old was she then?


  6. caffey

    caffey New Member

    I live alone and a couple of years ago my son presented me with a cat from a foster home. Best thing that ever happened to me. She is great company and her own woman. She is low maintenance. I have always loved dogs more than cats but the thought of getting up and dressing and taking the elevator down 2 floors several times a day is overwhelming. I don't know how active you are or do you live in a house where you can let it out the back yard. Collies are great but they do require a fair amount of work. Are you up to it? Is there someone that could help you on the bad days when you can't take him out and exercise him. Take your time and don't let your emotions take over. If I had a house I would take him. They are wonderful loyal dogs.
  7. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    So right to suggest I take my time. That's what I'll do.

    I love your description of your cat being her own women. Cats are like that. I think I was hoping for a bit more company this time around but I really couldn't walk this dog, even if she wasn't like a fast-moving tank, and I can't fence my yard.

    She also likes to bark..... WHAT AM I THINKING?? Oh, yeah, those soft brown eyes so full of patient love.

  8. Kimba4318

    Kimba4318 New Member

    Marta...yes, wait & see and also try that halter leash on her.

    Just had to say, I used to have a collie and she was such a dear dog. We took her over from my boyfriends parents when I was younger. Wow, she would try to get in the bed with us (ofourse she was huge), or she would lay next to the bed, on her BACK, like a person. She would occasionally snore. Just funny and you made me think about her. She was like my good friend... and thought she was a person.

    Take your time and maybe a better fit will come along. I think you will know if you just can't live without her. So sweet of you to volunteer. I thought I would have to bring them all home if I did. I am a big ANIMAL lover.

    Good Luck... the right one will find you...
  9. itzmede

    itzmede New Member

    Perhaps they would let you have a trial period of fostering the dog. And you are right to take your time in making a decision.

    I used to be a temporary foster for a labrador rescue group where I would keep them for up to a month until a more permanent foster or new owner was in place. It wasn't too bad unless I would get a hyper one.

    Gentle Leader collars are wonderful! The company name is "Premier" that makes them. My dog is 115 pounds and walks like a lamb with it on. Without it all I can do is hold on!
  10. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    I tell people that owning a dog, is like having a toddler to look after, FOREVER. No advise on whether to foster her, but realize that fostering could turn into forever. Had you considered forever? A collie also needs frequent brushing, can your arms to that? And what about bathing, can you lift a dog that size? To bathe? Do ears? Nails? As far as obedience, I think a larger dog is easier to obedience train. Ever watch someone have to squat all the way to the ground 6,000 times a night at obedience class for a mop sized dog? Lot easier to just reach down and gently nudge the butt down if it's at knee or hip height.

    I think you will be an important part of her life whether she comes to live with you or not.
  11. rachel432

    rachel432 New Member

    another option if you can't fence in you yard but want and area to put the dog in outside to reduce to amount you'd have to walk it is a portable dog run. basically they are like dog play pens that you could set up in you yard and it's much less expensive then fencing in a yard. another option is a tye-out stake. one of those metal stakes that you screw into the ground and then you attach the dog to the stake with areally long leash so it can run around in the yasd but can't get away. it's another alternative to wqaking a dog that may be easier for you. i'm a dog person and think that if there is any way you can foster this dog it would be great. but if the dog is to large for you to handle then you really shouldn't. the suggestion of offering to foster a smaller dog may be the better idea.
    i hope tis helps.
  12. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Thank you!

    Kim: I do know what you mean by wanting to bring them all home except I can resist all the dogs so far except the collie. You know, having had one, how sweet they are. I used to have a boxer dog who was just as dear. I do tend to like big dogs better than little ones but only because all the little ones I've known have been such yappers.

    Itsmede, I looked up Gentle Leader halters and found a few scathing reports on how bad they can be for the dog! It scared me off but I'll take another look since I'm hearing the opposite here. I wonder if it matters how old the dog is?

    Elliespad: Oh, such good advice. Yes, they are like toddlers forever. I must remember that! And I'd have to have all the work done except the brushing - the bathing, the nails, etc. That would get very expensive.

    Georgiac: Push ups! How funny, I'd love to see that. You did good, girl.

    Trish, ooooooooooh, yeah. I must remember snow and ice. I'd like to think that love overcomes all but it jest ain't the truff, is it? Not always anyway.

    Rachael, well, see, darn it, I can't have any fencing of any kind where I am but thanks for the suggestion. Another good thought.

    You're all great. I'll let you know what happens but unless Callie loses about 100 pounds which can't happen, I don't see how I could manage her and still do right by her. Annie suggested that Cedarific litter is lighter to carry than the other kinds. Maybe I'll have to rethink a cat and just visit Callie at the shelter for now. Although a remission like Georgiac had would be preferable.............. ;>)


  13. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to help me sort this out. I told the manager at the shelter today that I can't take the collie.

    I feel a bit sad about it but I know it's the right decision at this time for us both. When I went back today I stuck close to the cats.

    I did have to chuckle though. A young, healthy appearing woman came in with her two kids and wanted to take the collie out for a walk. Hold on tight! I told her, and off they went. She came back a short while later looking like she'd been through a windstorm, the collie happily leading the way. I said, She might be a bit strong for the children. The woman replied: She's too strong for me!

    It appears that if we want to find her a home, we'll have to slow her down. Thanks for all your insight.

  14. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I'm glad you made a decision that you can live with. Only you know what's right for you right now and going with your heart is always a good thing. You can always change your mind...

    I have a suggestion for teaching the collie how to walk nice on the leash but if you don't mind, I'll start with a story.

    Years ago I had to re-home a Pembroke Welsh Corgi with a friend of mine, then almost 4 years ago I came to stay with the friend (after the evacuation) and started helping around the house by taking the dog out to potty.

    So....I had sent her a wonderfully trained dog but no one in her family kept up with the list of commands I had sent. This dog was now a beast on the leash and it was really hurting my body to take her out.

    So I began re-training her to walk nice. It's really simple with me (and I'm always top 'bitch' in my house)....I simply do NOT move when they pull on the leash. They don't like that of course, they want to walk, pull or whatever...but I don't move unless they listen to my commands.

    It took me 2 weeks to re-train her but it worked wonderfully. And yes, they did it again and didn't keep up with what I taught them and she is again a beast on the leash.

    Sometimes it's just harder to train the people!!


    Nancy B
  15. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Joyfully, yes, I watch The Dog Whisperer and noticed where he has the lead on the dogs' necks. If I was stronger I would have tried that but this sweet girl is too BIG and strong for me to control right now. Maybe I'll have a chance to work with her eventually.

    Nancy, if Callie was a wee bit smaller I would try your trick of not moving until she listens to me but standing still is not a choice with this dog. I'm not a very big person and she is. lol It's too bad that your friends don't keep up with the training. That could feel discouraging.

    Thanks for giving me more ideas. Even if I can't use them with Callie, there may come a time. :>)

  16. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    Did I forget to mention that I have the voice of a drill sargent???? (If I so choose)

    I know just what you mean and it was very difficult at first. But then again, I wasn't going to lose my arm to this dog, lol!

    As a training method, it does work.....just over time and I'm sure there will be smaller, less forceful dogs to try it on.


    Nancy B
  17. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I hope you're right about there being a smaller, less tank-like dog to work with in my future. That, or a very smart cat.

  18. carebelle

    carebelle New Member

    I have two minature Doxy's and they Bard all day .in or out .They stop the min my husband gets home.I love these little guys but They are getting to be very demanding on me.They tire me out really fast.
    On my really bad days I wish I had not gotten them.Its so hard.They may be little but they are really stronge.
  19. browneyelady48

    browneyelady48 New Member

    I know it had to be difficulty to do what is in the best interest for you. I just recently fostered a bloodhound for search and rescue.

    I had to do alot of things with her and she got to be more than I could handle by the time it was time to turn her back in for boot camp. The worse was I had gotten so so attached to the smelly bloodhound, that it crushed my heart to turn her in.

    In the past 8 months I have gotten a beagle puppy and a tiny chilula (cant spell). And they have been so good for me. And they are wonderful.

    I admire you for what you are doing, I would love to do something like that. I love dogs.
    Love Brenda
  20. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Carebelle, I appreciate your honest thoughts on this dilemma. I think part of the reluctance to say no was that I didn't want to admit that there was yet one more thing I couldn't do, especially when it comes to animals. I think when we want to do something we buy in to our CFS name - if I'm "only fatigued" I should be able to overcome it. So untrue.

    Brenda, I applaud you for taking on the beagle puppy! There are several at the shelter and just their constant barking makes my eyes cross. They're such high energy little dogs! The other one (can't spell it either) might be more my speed but I must confess I've never been drawn to very little dogs.

    Right now I need to figure out how to get myself back to the shelter, period. I didn't pace myself when faced with Thanksgiving and a granddaughter who wanted to go there the next day and I'm paying for it this week.

    Thanks again to all of you.