Adopt Don’t Shop: Helping Friends

Cheeky Chinchilla

Cheeky Chinchilla

You may have followed my other two blogs about our the many foster animals who have been in our care since the start of 2016.  If not, you can read about them here and here.

Once the puppies left I didn’t have the opportunity to volunteer for fostering again for a month or so. This was because of my tendency to travel for work. Foster animals tend to need more stability than I could offer with the exception of some emergency cases.

However, much like buses, fostering opportunities seem to arrive all at once.

Next to join the Latifoo Foster care were a couple of chinchillas, Dusty & Rocky. These little balls of fuzz were incredibly hard to photograph as they took a bit of time to warm to us.

They came from a friend who was fostering them and needed someone to take them for a week while they had visitors. It felt more like pet-sitting than fostering, especially now that my friend has had another “foster fail” and adopted them both! It was the first time I’d looked after chinchillas. These funny wee creatures were a lot of fun despite their love of throwing their poo out their cage… I had grand ideas of clicker training them but I quickly learned that chinchillas have exceptionally delicate digestive systems and finding suitable edible rewards was no easy task. Plus, these guys were nervous and it took time to help them settle.  But settle they did and we soon had them running around the hall, using us as part of their parkour route as they bounced off of the walls enjoying the freedom to run.

dusty & ziggy

Dusty & Ziggy

At the same time, another friend was looking after two pups she and her fiance were thinking about adopting. To be able to spend that time with them, they needed an extra pair of hands for a couple of the nights. So I helped out again and we had a fun with two lovely little pups as well as the chinchillas.

Trust is a big thing for pet photographers. You have to understand your subject’s behaviour and be able to predict it fairly accurately.  You can’t explain to them why you want them to sit a certain way to get the shot. To get the shots I’m looking for, they need to be comfortable and relaxed.

When working with foster animals, I’ve learned quickly that taking a camera out in the early days of getting to know them doesn’t always work. Some of the animals are nervous and anxious after being abandoned or passed from pillar to post. We only had a very short time with these guys and so, I only have a couple of phone snaps.

Luckily though, they all found their forever-homes with two of my favourite people here in Madrid, so there will be more photos to follow! x

Adopt Don’t Shop: Puppies!

The other day I posted about my first foster experience… here’s what happened next…

I waited until life was a little more stable before volunteering again. I was due to travel a bit in January and February so the opportunity didn’t arise again until March. That’s when the Rugrats arrived.  My friend had been helping with a litter of puppies who had been thrown in a bin. They needed round-the-clock care and feeding every few hours. It was a demanding role and so it was split between a group of us over the course of a few weeks. I volunteered to take them on for a week and it just so happened, their arrival fell on my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

Puppies in a box

Puppies in a box

The box contained Chucky, Phil, Suzy and Tommy, named after the cartoon characters in the Rugrats. By the time they got to me they were on solid food but still needed a lot of care. And so the routine began, feed-pee-poop-run around like nutters-learn something new-sleep for an hour aaaannnnndddd repeat. With four of them running around we lived with puppy pads and a permanent mop bucket in the corner.

They chewed things, peed everywhere, barked during the night, pooped in annoying places, stood in their food/pee/poop and trailed it everywhere and I hardly slept.

But they also entertained us as they learned new things. We watched them get bolder and work out puzzles in their environment. Their different personalities developed and we got to know them as individuals. Plus they made excellent photography subjects, at least in the moments they sat still or fell asleep.

I loved it.

Tommy

Tommy

Suzy

Suzy

Chucky

Chucky

Phil

Phil

These guys were with us for a week before heading to stay with a lovely friend of mine. I was sad again, there were tears but I knew they were in safe hands before they went to their forever homes the following week. My other half had also planned a weekend away so our empty apartment was less of an issue. I visited them again before they left for their new homes. It was incredibly hard to part with them but it was a job well done by a dedicated team of foster carers. We did a good thing. x

Tommy

Tommy

Chucky

Chucky

The Boys

The Boys

Phil

Phil

Blue Eyes

Blue Eyes