A New Foster - Kira

Yesterday, we went to my husband's company picnic, where we had a great barbecue lunch. Because there was so much food leftover, they encouraged us to make "doggy bags" to bring home. My vegetarian family members were quite dismayed when they saw that all I had packed in my doggy bag was a barbecued chicken wing, a big frankfurter, and a couple thin slices of sirloin steak.

The reason I brought nothing but meat home was because right after the picnic, we'd be picking up our new foster puppy, Kira. I knew those high-value treats would come in handy.

german shepherd pup with tan body and black muzzle, standing up ears, right ear has a small divot torn off the top, sitting and looking at the camera in our backyardKira is a 6-month old German shepherd puppy that was picked up as a stray. She was brought into the shelter and infected the whole place before the staff realized she had parvo. They rushed her to emergency vet services, where she recovered for the next couple weeks. Now, after decontaminating the whole shelter, no small task, the staff has to keep Kira in isolation since she will be shedding the virus for at least 3 more weeks. The staff are not able to interact with Kira, due to the risk of having unvaccinated puppies coming into the shelter. So, poor Kira has been unable to be around other dogs or humans for the duration.

kira in a down position, looking straight at cameraA shelter staff member emailed me and told me about the situation--I suppose they know a sucker when they see one. Is it that obvious?!

The first day of having a new dog in the house is always traumatic. With every foster, I think, "HOW did I get myself into this?" With Kira, I felt that 10 times stronger than with any other, including Francie! First of all, Kira is a puppy and has not been taught anything. Plus, you can tell by her torn right ear that she must have had a hard life as a stray, perhaps even been attacked by another dog. So she can be fearful around other dogs, and about life in general--and her response to fear is barking--LOUD barking. Top that off with the fact that she has been sequestered for the past several weeks and forced to live in her own filth, perhaps the reason why she pees every time I put her in the crate. Finally, because she is still shedding the parvo, she is not allowed to step foot off our property--no walks, no parks, nothing except running around our small backyard.

Another huge difference with Kira and our other fosters is that I had no prior relationship with her and hardly any information. With Seamus and especially with Francie, I had worked with them at the shelter for weeks before to bringing them home as fosters. This time, we are working entirely from scratch.

After wanting so badly to call the shelter several times in the past 24 hours to say we couldn't handle fostering this dog, I think we are making some progress. I feel we need to give it at least 3 days before we throw in the towel. My husband and I didn't get any sleep last night, though, so whether we can last for 72 hours may depend on whether we get any rest tonight.

Kari in Vegas  – (August 14, 2011 at 5:15 PM)  

she is beautiful :)


JackDaddy  – (August 14, 2011 at 5:52 PM)  

Best of luck to you, your family and your newest family member!

The Thundering Herd  – (August 14, 2011 at 6:35 PM)  

Wow - what a tough foster you have. But think of the huge accomplishments you will be able to talk about in only a few weeks.

Martha G  – (August 14, 2011 at 7:27 PM)  

Wow! What will shedding Parvo virus mean in terms of you having other foster dogs in the future? Will you have to take decontamination measures yourself? That's a tough situation, but every time I look at this puppy's face, I'm sure I would take her in, too. She's a beauty! Good luck!

Lauren  – (August 14, 2011 at 7:33 PM)  

She is gorgeous and she is so blessed to be in your care right now! And that is true whether she stays for 72 more hours or for the next few weeks!

Min  – (August 14, 2011 at 8:14 PM)  

Bella had parvo as a puppy and had the same bare patch on her leg. Poor thing. I hope she behaves better for you and your family soon. She's lucky to have you as her new Mom.

Cassie & The Dogs  – (August 14, 2011 at 11:00 PM)  

Welcome to the world of a post-parvo puppy! I am super curious about what they will have you do after the 3 week quarantine in regards to future dogs in hour home. I was not given any restrictions for puppies coming to visit, though I understand the parvo virus to be highly stable in nature, taking up to a year to fully clear out.

We hope you all are able to get some sleep tonight! That cute girl can use lots of your love and stability!

Aleksandra  – (August 15, 2011 at 6:43 AM)  

sounds like a bunch of big handfuls. you'll give it your all, and if that doesn't look like enough, you will do the responsible thing and admit it. somebody else will be able to help the poor pup, hopefully.
sending you strength and good vibes,
aleksandra (and sir chick and miss stevie wonder)

Mimi and CC Cabana  – (August 15, 2011 at 6:55 AM)  

Martha and Cassie, as you probably know, the parvo is shed through the dog's poop. The shelter gave me Trifectant to spray on the poop before bagging it and then also spray the area. I have been very prompt about cleaning up after Kira to keep germs from spreading.

That probably keeps 98% of the germs contained, but there is still a risk. Parvo can live up to a year in grass, so no puppy sitting for me for a year. :(

I suppose I could still puppy sit for an older puppy after their 4-month vaccination, but then that puppy would need a thorough bath before coming into contact with other younger puppies. So it's probably too risky.

Erin and Co.  – (August 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM)  

So if they have been vaccinate for Parvo they can't get it? She's a good looking puppy! Hope she gets better soon :)

Susan Campisi  – (August 24, 2011 at 10:07 PM)  

Oh wow. You have a shepherd foster! She really is beautiful. Parvo is so often the kiss of death, so it's amazing she made her way through it. Good for you for taking her in. I'm rooting for you now, too!

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