The Fosterer’s Story:
Back in November 2016 we said good bye to our own rescue collie, who at the age of 15, let us know that it was her time to go. She had been a constant part of our lives since arriving at 9 months old, and her leaving left us heart broken. Not being in a position to adopt another collie, we decided to foster, applied and were accepted by PPBC Within a few days, Fidget turned up on the door step.
Not a lot was known about Fidget, and she had been waiting for over 3 months for a foster home. Within a few days Fidget was letting me know all about her issues. I thought I knew collies, but Fidget was going to teach me a whole lot more.
She was extremely reactive to road traffic, and had such fear aggression towards other dogs that she would lose the plot on seeing another dog 500 yards away. On top of that, getting her to travel in a car was a nightmare. No way would someone want to adopt a dog like this.
But, it soon became apparent that Fidget had a craving to learn, and through learning we developed a very strong bond and she placed her trust in me. Soon she was able to relax in a car, and we could take her for walks in area’s away from other dogs. Gradually, with lots of positive training, Fidgets fear threshold towards other dogs began to decrease, and to the point where she made a few dog friends. We managed to attend training classes at the local Dogs Trust school, where Fidget came away with firsts in all the training categories. I worked hard on her impulse control, and soon Fidget, who had been ball obsessive, could sit and wait while a ball was thrown and would fetch it when given the word. From there she learnt to do an outrun and wait for a ball to be thrown to her.
Her culmination in training was to start on sheep trials, and for a 3 year old to start to learn to work sheep, she did really well. Fidget, like most collies wanted a job, it can be working livestock, taking part in agility or flyball, or obedience work, at the end of the day, they live to please their owner/handler. They just need to be shown the way, it’s up to the handler to find that way.
Eleven months after Fidgets arrival a suitable adopter was found. Fidget has started a new life, and even though she still has her issues (although much better now) she has settled in well in her new home. Saying good bye to Fidget was one of the hardest things I have done. She was meant to have been a short term foster, but on seeing her issues, there was no way I could give up on her. Now seeing her in a forever home has made it so worthwhile. Next to owning a collie, fostering is the best thing, and to bring on a collie, to change its life and allow it to find a forever home is tremendously satisfying.
Fidget’s Foster Dad
I saw Fidget on the PPBC website long before I was lucky enough to adopt her. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to adopt her at that time, and she was adopted by someone else, however, this first adoption placement didn’t work out and luckily for me Fidget came up for adoption again. I had already contacted PPBC and been home-checked and so once I saw that she was listed again I asked about being considered as her next adoptive home.
I love border collies. They are wonderful dogs and I have been lucky enough to have shared my life with a number of them, they are not, however, ‘easy’ dogs. Reading through Fidgets information, I could see that she had a number of fairly typical border collie ‘issues’ and was going to require a significant amount of input from me. However, given the amazing progress that her foster carers had made with her during the time that she had been with them, and also because I felt I had had previous experience of similar issues, I felt confident that I could offer Fidget a happy home. I had a number of meet-ups with Fidget and her foster carers before a final decision was made, but on 1st June, Fidget came to live with me.
The early days were, as I expected, not easy. When she was younger Fidget developed a spinning stereotypy which enabled her to cope with life’s frustrations and her own anxieties but the level of her stereotypy was detrimental. Through the love and care of her fosterers her spinning had reduced, but once placed with me the spinning dramatically increased. I was expecting this, as it is her ‘go to’ coping strategy, and moving home and having to cope in a very different environment with two young children was always going to be difficult for her, but even so, living through watching her spin and loop, and pace, and bite at her back leg, well…it was hard. Learning to juggle a new routine with getting me, the kids, and now Fidget too, out of the house in the morning to school/nursery/work, was also an adjustment. As was having to alter the family dynamic in general - the children needed to be much more mindful of their movements, their noise level, what games they were playing when near Fidget, and to remember to put things away - all of which needed many reminders from me.
I have had (and continue to have!) lots of chats with Fidgets amazing foster mum and dad about our progress, and our challenges, and slowly but surely we are getting there. Together, as a family (Fidget included), we are learning strategies (lots of distraction! Treats, training, walks, games) to get through the difficult bits (hairdryers, hoovering, mowing the lawn, cellotape(?!), and the biggy - other dogs) and we are happily settling into our new family routine. I have looked up training classes and ‘trick’ training and Fidget and I will be starting a dog training class soon and I am now teaching her a ‘trick’ each week (this week’s trick is ‘high-five’). In return, Fidget is already rewarding me with love, companionship and laughs. She is so willing to give, to try and to please and only asks for some time, patience and direction. I am so very happy that Fidget is now part of our family, and that I was lucky enough to be selected as her adoptive home. Thank you FD, FM and PPBC 😊, Fidget's Mum x