It’s been an active two weeks around here. My first foster, Deycon and his little sister Dakota, came to visit. Having four fur babies to love was my idea of heaven but there were moments from further south as well.

Gunner and Bear must have been feeding off my excitement since they were jumping all over in the morning. I fed them, let them out and got ready to go. They both staged an attempted escape as soon as I opened the front door and I managed to get away alone.

I drove to meet Deycon’s parents in Albany. Of course, I arrived a little early and waited anxiously. When Mike and Sarah finally arrived, I could see Deycon and Dakota jumping around. It was great to see them again. We drove home and hit the dog park on the way to try to tire them out.

When the quiet Deycon and his exact opposite sister got into the house it all began. I didn’t really think I would be grateful that there is so little furniture around here. They jumped, played and moved furniture for about 2 hours. Then they collapsed on my bed, effectively evicting me from that perch. Once dinner was served, it was play time again and I finally surrendered and let them have their way.

The next morning I took Deycon to work with me as planned. He was a big hit and reached one of the boys we had thought unreachable. It was awe inspiring and truly amazing. It shouldn’t have surprised me though… I mean, he does have ME as a foster mother!!! When we got home Gunner staged an inquisition that the Tribunal of the Holy Office would have been proud of. He pounced on Deycon, sniffed, huffed and ran under him and around him. He ran to Deycon, from him, into him and over him. Gunner barked at him for a few minutes and then settled down.

The next two hours yielded three eviscerated stuffed animals, a few spilled bowls of water, my bed moved at least once and a dust cloud of flying fur. Poor Dakota didn’t like the stairs from the deck to the yard very much and ran herself silly going back and forth the length of it yapping at the boys.  I walked her on a lead across to the park and she was greeted by Gunner each time we got back.

Bear2 likes to watch the television and videos on the computer. When I play one, he usually barks and jumps at the screen from next to me. A little confused, Gunner hides under the chair and nips at Bear’s feet. This week he was unseated from this spot by Dakota. Every time I sat down to work she ran under the chair. The boys would gather around me and she took them all to task from under the chair. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was in the way and that I too had lost something. I lost  my authority and all control. She ran the boys most of the week. Gunner, though smallest in stature, is by far the strongest and if I did manage to stay seated, he would push me and the chair trying to get to the puppy.

On Tuesday I took all of them to work. Gunner and Bear kept the boys ward busy, Dakota disappeared onto the girls’ units and Deycon spent the day with his new friend. Gunner chased the boys around the pool, through the day room and out into the court yard. He attacked the basketball, almost knocked over the volley ball pole and finally passed out under my desk.

The ride home was very quiet at first. At first…… On the main thoroughfare from the facility to the Interstate, there was a check point set up by local police and the State Troopers. I really should remember that not everyone has a fur baby attachment. We crawled for a block or so and then I rolled down the driver’s window. The State Trooper checked out the registration and inspection stickers and then leaned over to talk to me. Before I could warn him of my cargo, Gunner took this move as either and introduction or a challenge. From the passenger’s seat he launched himself onto my lap, threw his head out the window and with his body across mine, he let out a volley of barks and howls. He was leaning on the horn at the same time and the 6 foot 4 inch, 280 pound serious faced trooper  in his Stetson and bullet proof vest, flew backward through the air, with a single yell…. “A DOG!”

Not to be outdone, at this particular moment, the other three riders held an impromptu body slamming contest to see who could get his or her head through the partially opened back window first and who had the loudest bark. Resigned to fact I was about to face arrest for assault on a police officer, or perhaps scaring the crap out of one, I put the car in park and didn’t even try to quiet them down. They had me better trained by that time. The trooper stood about 3 feet from the car with his left hand planted in the middle of his chest and half breathing and half panting, he coughed, “You can go, Ma’am.” Gee thanks! I took the first entrance ramp, shook my head and then almost wet my drawers laughing.

My next door neighbors all but ignore Gunner and Bear, but the four of them running around, drew a lot of attention. The girls love to come over to the fence and pet them all. Gunner reminds them periodically that he can climb the fence and loves to play tug of war. They brought their Dad over to the barrier mid week and made him ask if they could take Gunner to the park across the street. We compromised by agreeing that I would bring the pack to their baseball game the next afternoon. I should have seen it coming.

Gunner ran up and down the fence line, barking, yapping and laughing. I kept him on the lead attached to the car. Problem was that his collar was just a teenie tiny bit loose. He twisted out of it and almost tried to catch the runner between home and first. Not to be outdone, Dakota took off across the infield and stopped the game. 24 screaming 7 and 8 year old girls scattered across the diamond and finally caught Dakota. Gunner, the instigator by this time, had returned to my seat and sat there as innocent as you please. I’m waiting on the letter from the Baseball Commissioner banning me from the bleachers.

By the time the visit by D&D’s visit was over there was a huge tally: 1 king sized bed taken over, and moved in part or totally 9 times, 24 car rides, 37 new kid friends, 3 pillows, 1 doggie bed and two comforters de-fluffed, 21 stuffed animals sent to fuzzy toy heaven with at least a dozen socks. 9 chewed bones of varying weight, 15 balls of all sizes, a full bag of flying fur collected off the floor, 1 call to the vet, a slight case of “the trots.” 2 softball games, 3 T-Ball games. We went through 25 pounds of dog food, 10 pounds chicken and 14 bags of ground beef and 7 bags of vet treats. There were at 11 plastic bottles that didn’t make it to the refund machine, 7 trips to the dog park, 35 billion muddy paw prints, 9 extra loads of laundry and 3 extra dishwasher loads. I only hit the floor once, went on-the-butt down the deck steps twice and Gunner made it over the fence 3 times.

He and Bear met hens the people next door bought. Gunner almost had that chicken the last time. I know he’s strong, but I think having him live here is making me faster!  Whether I like it or not.

– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.