At this age, all day and all night, they play, eat, sleep, and potty. I'll keep them for three weeks, until they are neutered. Hopefully, they'll all be adopted during the pre-adopt period, and their new families will pick them up immediately after their surgery.
|L to R: Buttercup, Lily, Sweet William, and Dandelion. Daisy is not in the shot.|
Today I want to answer the question: what does it take to foster a litter of puppies? Short answer: a LOT of time, energy, and money. Yep, even though the foster organization is covering all the medical expenses, it still costs a surprising amount of money to foster! The food, toys, and utilities (mostly, running the washing machine every day) are all on me.
Also, you need a spare room that can be ruined. In my case, the upstairs bathroom will some day be remodeled. Until then, it's a great "nursery." If the puppies gnaw on the cabinets or poop on the wall, it's no big deal. Other benefits to a bathroom: I have a sink in the room—great for filling water bowls and cleaning—and the floor isn't carpet.
The daily work is extensive. The pups constantly need fresh food and water and a clean potty area.
This is what I see every time I check on the puppies (every couple of hours):
The puppies are excited to see me—because they've spilled all their water (no-tip bowls are pointless, they put their paws into the bowl no matter what, then "walk" the water everywhere) and eaten all their food, and they know I'm about to hook them up.
|L to R: Dandelion, Sweet William (on bottom), Daisy (on top), Lily|
Every couple hours, I change the puppies' paper. Even in the middle of the night: I change the paper at 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM. The puppies make the biggest messes during the day when they play on the newspaper. They mostly sleep at night, so I don't have to change the paper as frequently. Four-hour gaps are okay, so I can get some sleep!
Newspaper is worth its weight in gold to a puppy foster! I go through a 1-foot stack of newspaper in a few days. It's a perfect size when spread open, and it's absorbent.
|My dogs were more interested in this pile of newspaper than they were interested in the puppies. :-/|
My dad also donates his and his neighbor's newspaper. The Wall Street Journal that I get from him covers a lot of area and doesn't have a lot of useless ad pages.
I bought a 1000' roll of butcher paper from Sam's Club for $20. This goes under the newspaper. It makes cleanup very quick. Every day, I cut about 15 long pieces off the roll.
Once a day, I do a more thorough cleaning. The puppies all go into the empty kennel so I can pick everything up off the floor, vacuum, and wipe the room down with bleach water.
I run a load of puppy laundry—towels, stuffed toys, blankets—every day, on the "sanitary" setting. I have a LOT of old towels, so I have half of them clean / used in the puppy room while I'm washing the other half in the machine.
Aahh, fresh paper on the floor and in the shower! The puppies go back into the room after everything is clean.
|Five seconds in, someone already peed on the paper.|
|Hanging out. Already a mess in there.|
|Buttercup. Teething. On my hand.|
|Lily. Teething. Also on my hand.|
|Lily didn't quite make it into the shower, so she's just peeing down the side... ah, puppies...|
I can only foster once in a while, and this is only my second litter. Some people foster litters all the time. I have no idea how they do it! I need a LONG break to recover. :)