I wanted to share with you my story of being a Lort Smith volunteer foster carer, and my time with Maui.
I’ve been a Lort Smith volunteer for about six years. Maui is my first foster — a bit of a challenging one to start with! He’s certainly been keeping me on my toes, but he’s just such a beautiful dog.
I remember seeing him in the kennels. He’d had a couple of operations, first to remove a bone that was stuck in his mouth, then they found a lump on his testes while they were desexing him.
He had a cone on his head, and he was very barky. But as soon as I entered his enclosure, he became this big softie. I just knew he wasn’t a big scary dog — he was a gentle soul. He was just anxious because of what he’d been through.
The first night I took Maui home, he was like a little bulldozer. He needed to investigate every inch of the house, knocking things out the way, sticking his head under the couch — he sniffed the entire house clean!
But that night, he just became a big snuggle bug. He wanted to be as close as possible to me and he just stared at me all night. If he’d been kept outside his whole life, he probably couldn’t believe that I’d let him cuddle on the couch with me.
I knew Maui had some incontinence issues at the shelter and I’m lucky that I have floorboards! But he’s gotten a lot better — I haven’t found any wet patches on the couch or on his bed, so I think we’re ok now.
Maui was doing really well … and then, all of the sudden, he wasn’t. I knew he was a bit off one night, that something was up, but I thought maybe he just needed to sleep it off. Then at one in the morning, he fell off the bed and the sound woke me up. His eyes were darting side to side, and he was vomiting and peeing everywhere. I was totally freaking out … I just kept thinking, ‘Oh goodness, he’s going to die’.
But we were very fortunate. I was able to rush him to emergency at 3am and Lort Smith picked him up in the morning and took him to ICU to run tests. I’ll be honest — it was a really scary experience.
They’re still running tests on exactly what the problem is. He was in last week and he had a CT scan and a spinal tap — he’s got some beautiful little shaved patches on his body from all the tests! — and I’m hoping they’ll get some answers from that, because he’s a bit of a mystery at the moment.
He’s still head tilting and a bit wobbly. When he’s calm, he seems to be ok but if he sees or smells something interesting, or if there is someone at the door, then he’ll tilt a bit more and that causes him to lose balance.
I don’t know how I’ll go with saying goodbye to Maui. People have asked me, ‘how can you give him up?’ and I’ve thought, ‘well if he gets a loving home, then I can keep my home open for my next beautiful foster’. I’ll be very sad, I admit.
Even with all the bumpy stuff we’ve gone through, I think it’s made me a bit more attached to him. Because he’s fought and overcome so much … he’s really special.
It will be a happy day and a sad day when the time comes for Maui to be adopted.
I hope this gives you a small glimpse into what it’s like being a Lort Smith foster carer, and why donating is so important. It gives animals like Maui a second chance.
Lort Smith couldn’t save so many animals’ lives without the help of our incredible network of foster carers — or the kind support of our community. Please donate to our Christmas appeal today.