The next morning, I walked Livie and Morgan and then set about preparing the children’s snacks and lunches for the day. I could tell the dynamic with Morgan had changed. Instead of wandering around the house on her own exploring everything like the day before, she was now right at my flank, matching my every move. She was comfortable and was making herself at home and after our night of cuddling together on the couch, she was taking her position as my dog. Livie was unsure about things. By my side was her spot. But Morgan was older and was shooting Livie looks that clearly told her to back away. Livie stayed in the doorway of the kitchen and watched.
Morgan followed me upstairs and waited on the bathroom rug while I took my shower and waited in my doorway as I dressed for the day. She followed me to wake the kids and to prepare breakfast. All day, Morgan was by my side and Livie gave her some distance.
Then, that evening, after our walk, Morgan was following me from the front door to the mud room to hang up the leashes. Livie was right beside her. In a flash, Morgan turned to the side and bit Livie on the neck. Livie squealed and ran away up the stairs. Morgan stayed right by me while I hung the leashes. Ryan asked what had happened and when I told him, he went to check on Livie. She had a bite wound on her neck that was about 2 cm long and of uncertain depth, though it was bleeding profusely. Ryan cleaned it and we had a long talk.
If Morgan was wanting to be the dominant dog in the home, would Livie now back down and stay clear? Would Morgan bite again? What would happen if one of the children was walking between the two dogs? I knew that we weren’t the right foster fit for Morgan. She wanted to be someone’s only dog. She wanted to sleep on the couch, be right by someone’s side, be adored and showered with love (I mean, who doesn’t?!). She had wonderful house manners and someone without a dog wouldn’t need to crate her at night or when they left the house. I sent the email to Ann. I felt like a failure. But I knew that taking Morgan back to the shelter and hoping she got a better foster fit was the right thing for her and Livie. Poor Livie. She was sitting on the landing of the stairs refusing to be anywhere near Morgan.
I spent the night on the couch again with Morgan. I stroked her fur. She slept peacefully.
In the morning, I took Livie to the vet where she got stitched up with a drain inserted. Then I took Morgan to the shelter. The front desk staff welcomed her enthusiastically and allowed her to hang out with them for the day. Ann assured me that she would find another foster for Morgan, no problem. I left relieved but still feeling regretful that our first dog foster had not worked out. Which signs had I missed? What could I have done differently? How could I tweak my dog set up in the future to ensure this never happened again? Could I ever host another foster dog with confidence?
Livie was happy to have me to herself again. She was exhausted after having had to work out the power dynamics with our house guest and was happy to get all the pets to herself.
And we still had two kittens, Shadow and Midnight, who needed love and care…and another lice treatment dip soon!