Fostering During A Pandemic Part II

A Change Of Scenery

Erin and I both spend the majority of our work day staring at a computer screen. It can get pretty mundane, so in addition to trying to work out once a day, we’ll also go for frequent walks to avoid sitting for too long. We both try to do all the ergonomically correct things to keep ourselves from going blind and ruining our posture. We even assembled a sit-stand desk for Erin’s office and bought her some stylish blue light shades for her to wear while she changes the world. But, like a lot of working folk, one of the things that gets us through the day without smashing a computer screen or ripping one another’s head off, is the anticipation of a vacation.

July 2020 was supposed to be our annual trip to Cincinnati for a Reds game and bar crawl with our friends. There was also a couple of road trips planned to see some of our favorite bands like the Doobie Brothers and Foo Fighters. There was even a first time ever (for us) epic journey to Dublin, Ireland to sight-see and attend the Notre Dame versus Navy football game. But, much like everyone else’s summer trips, they were all cancelled. Thankfully, Erin and I have a Hail Mary pass for just this kind of situation. After Ant’s adoption, Erin and I took some time off of work to visit our South Bend home and have a change of scenery.

I know what some people may be thinking – South Bend for a vacation? But in 2020 Covid-19 times, we’re extremely grateful we’re even able to do such things and any place other than Indianapolis was sounding pretty good at that point. Besides, we planned on visiting a few wineries and breweries in southern Michigan, sleeping in, and not taking our laptops with us! We were also looking forward to our next foster, Pepper, being dropped off and “E” staying with us for a couple of days near the end of our sabbatical. It really was just what the doctor ordered. We spent a little time at St. Julian Winery and the Roundbarn Tasting Room on a weekday with hardly anyone else there. We also stopped by Greenbush Brewing for a beer and sat outside by ourselves at Journeyman Distillery where I proceeded to stuff my face with an entire deep dish pizza before heading back to the house for a relaxing evening with Callie and Six Pack and maybe some Tums.

This pic was taken right before a bird pooped on my shoulder


Foster Pepper Spices Things Up

It wasn’t long after a couple of days in South Bend that we invited a sweet, black, female named Pepper into our home. Erin and I both love the affectionate foster dogs, especially Erin who is used to a cold shoulder from Six Pack and crop-dusting farts from Callie. Pepper was extremely loving and cuddly, but she peed a lot! I mean a lot, a lot. In her defense, we had a pretty hot couple of weeks during her stay, and she did drink a ton of water in order to counteract the heat. Aside from a few accidents in the living room, we just had to get in the habit of letting her outside hourly. She also had the “fun” habit of constantly trying to climb up onto the couch or bed with us. Very adorable at first, but if she caught you off guard, it was difficult to defend your spot.

Pepper’s time with us was short but sweet and also long enough for her to start doing “Callie Ears”

We really enjoy foster greys and children that love being outside as much as we do. Even though Pepper loved being around “E,” she was a little leery of hanging out with him when he was in the pool.

Otherwise the girl loved going on walks and following around Six Pack and Callie in the backyard. Like all good things, her stay with us was all but too short. A young couple with a huge backyard adopted Pepper only a couple weeks after getting to foster her. When we dropped her off and spoke with her forever mom, we were reassured that she would be receiving the best of care and tons of attention.

Don’t Forget To Wear Sunblock

I’ve said it before, but it’s always fun to have a foster greyhound and foster child at the same time. There’s never a dull moment! And “E’s” second stay with us came just a day after getting Pepper. The good news was that you could tell almost immediately that “E” was getting more comfortable with Erin and I. He was more conversive, didn’t spend as much time in his room as his previous visit, and asked more questions about the greyhounds and us. Nevertheless, we decided to stick with the same game plan as last time. We would let him stay up just a little bit later than normal, but because school was starting soon, we didn’t want him staying up too late or sleeping in much. And of course, we tried to tire him out as much as possible with lots of time in the pool.

Second time around “E” was familiar with the routine of putting on sunblock and then taking a bath afterwards to wash the chlorine off.

It’s always a more fun atmosphere when a foster child becomes more comfortable around us. This was evident while “E” was playing a video game. Side note, we’re old! Video games are nothing like they were in the 80’s and 90’s. We quickly learned not to allow him to play anything like Call of Duty but we thought we were in the clear with the Indiana Jones Lego game. Ages 7+ my butt! There is no blood and gore, but there is some violence. How is there violence in the Lego game?!

We try to limit screen time as much as possible. So a few minutes while we wait on lunch was acceptable.

It’s not a problem, but one thing that I’m still getting used to is when a foster child wants to sit right next me on the couch. I know that sounds awful, but I’ve always enjoyed my space…..especially when relaxing in the living room.  I’m no dummy – I spent enough time helping Erin babysit Zoe and Paige that I know children don’t give a crap about my personal space. I can’t count the number of times Zoe’s tackled me from behind or Paige has tried to climb onto my shoulders. So if you’re reading this, you would be happy to know that with this second stay at our house, I was a lot more comfortable with “E” right next to me. I mean, I guess we should feel honored when he wants to crawl up next to one of us considering he has eight feet of couch space to choose from and he chooses us! We think that with all of the brothers and sisters he claims to have, he sometimes might not have gotten the amount of attention he would like.  So, it makes sense why he enjoys coming to our place.  He gets the majority, if not all of our attention.

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