About Me

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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my forty seven years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I am a dog trainer because of them. I met my friends because of them. My husband and I are are forever bonded by our mutual connection to them. As a dog trainer I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to share in their unique relationships. The dogs make me a better person by forcing me to closely examine my motivation, my actions and my choices. Everything I do affects their behavior, safety and happiness. It is an awesome responsibility. The dogs keep me honest.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why do I foster Dogs?

I sometimes wonder what foster dogs think - Suddenly finding themselves in a strange place with strange people...often residing with strange dogs...What goes through their minds? Tucker is 9 1/2 years old.  He had been in 3 homes and a shelter before he made his way to me.  He is understandably anxious, but in just 9 days he has settled into our home.  At day 4 he started "listening" to the girl dogs, backing off instead of repeatedly mounting them and getting snapped at.  At day 5 he stopped pacing.  At day 6 he stopped staring at me intensely, his eye contact becoming soft, rather than frantic. At day 7 he started settling elsewhere in the house rather than insisting on keeping me in sight.  At day 8 he started barking in the yard at outside noises, protecting it as his own.  At day 9 (today) he started picking up toys and playing. It is a process.

I have fostered a lot of dogs over the years.  Time and again I have offered unconditional acceptance, appropriate exercise, consistent expectations, predictable routines and plenty of love to dogs whose previous lives were sadly lacking in those areas.  Some dogs settle into foster easily.  Others take time to accept their new environment and housemates.  But all of them go through that change in their eyes.  Their expression always changes at some point. Confusion becomes clarity.  Fear becomes trust. Panic subsides.

When people ask me why I subject myself to the emotional upheaval that fostering dogs creates, I tell them that it helps dogs find loving homes.  But in truth, it is as much for me as it is for them.  I am addicted to seeing that transformation in their eyes.  There is nothing better in this world.
 

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