The Pet Collective Podcast Episode 7: Fostering & Pet Custody

Alison Sieke:

We at the Pet Collective Podcast are not medical professionals. We do offer advice, but please always consult your veterinarian before making any medical decisions. This week, we're talking about fostering. We'll give you some crucial dos and don'ts why adopting during the pandemic might be a bad idea and how to prepare your home for fostering. Also we're discussing pet parents who have shared custody of their pets, myself included and how it affects your pet emotionally, because it does, oh, it does. Hi, I'm Alison Sieke.


Kyle Kittleson:

And I'm Kyle Kittleson. 


Alison Sieke:

Welcome to the Pet Collective. This is the podcast for pet parents and the pet obsessed.


Kyle Kittleson:

Alison how's your week been?


Alison Sieke:

It's been an interesting week, but that's pretty normal for me. I'm doing fine. How are you?


Kyle Kittleson:

And they can't really see it, but your hair is strikingly purple and beautiful. 


Alison Sieke:

Thank you. I'd jumped in a-


Kyle Kittleson:

Did you redo it since I last time I saw you?


Alison Sieke:

No. Actually, I redid it right before I last saw you.


Kyle Kittleson:

Oh, so I'm just now noticing it?


Alison Sieke:

Yeah. 


Kyle Kittleson:

The cliche mistake.


Alison Sieke:

You just weren't really seeing me before, but it's okay I'm used to that from men. It's actually just something I've been doing during quarantine, I think because I don't have to look like my headshot, but also like having a mild quarter-life third life crisis.


Kyle Kittleson:

Oh, fun. 


Alison Sieke:

Redefining myself, I don't know. 


Kyle Kittleson:

You got to get those out of the way so you can get back to the hustle and grind.


Alison Sieke:

I agree, better have the breakdown earlier on because then he can recover and thrive.


Kyle Kittleson:

I had my quarter life crisis after my breakup to my ex, we were together six years and I had never gotten a credit card. So I went out and I got a credit card because I thought I am 31 or however old I was and I have never had a credit card and I need one. And then they were like, "Well, if you spend all this money, we'll give you like $200." And I was like, "Looks like I'm going shopping." I bought a probably a $4,000 photograph of two penguins that now hangs in my house. 


Alison Sieke:

Worth it. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Probably not, but it really brings me joy and I certainly learned my lesson about going into credit card debt.


Alison Sieke:

Yeah. I feel like that's maybe why you didn't have a credit card before, right? Because like [inaudible 00:02:32].


Kyle Kittleson:

Yeah, I can't trust myself. I need a six foot leash, tight, keep me in bounds. 


Alison Sieke:

Non retractable. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Non retractable leashes are the way to go. Well, our first topic today is fostering and we're going to go into some do's and don'ts but first, Alison, have you ever fostered a pet?


Alison Sieke:

Not on purpose. I did have to take one back once. 


Kyle Kittleson:

On accident. 


Alison Sieke:

It was extremely aggressive. 


Kyle Kittleson:

What does that mean, take one back?


Alison Sieke:

It was a rescue and wasn't a match in our household. So we ended up just watching the dog for just over a week and then having to return it back to the rescue.


Kyle Kittleson:

Yeah, that happens. There's this delicate balance that rescues have to manage between adopting dogs out, but not just adopting them out to anybody anywhere because if those dogs aren't a right fit, it's not good for the people it's not good for the dog. And that's where training comes in. This is full disclosure, I offer all my training services for free to shelters and rescues who need it because when shelters can implement training the returns, as you say go way down because the dog is so better behaved. Why are you laughing?


Alison Sieke:

Because I sound horrible. When I hear myself from outside myself, I'm like, "Oh, that's terrible. You don't return a dog." But I was like eight and I wasn't equip to train it.


Kyle Kittleson:

No, you can return the dog if it's not the right fit. In fact that is the responsible thing to do. Would you rather have a dog who has a miserable life because it's the wrong fit. Some dogs just need a little space, need a backyard or shouldn't be at home with a cat or something. 


Alison Sieke:

Totally. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Don't feel bad. 


Alison Sieke:

Thank you. It did take me a while to release myself of that guilt. But yeah, it is the responsible thing to do. The irresponsible thing to do is leaving your dog somewhere in a box or by the side of the road. You know what I mean? So it's okay.


Kyle Kittleson:

I've never understood that. I understand there are circumstances, I understand life happens, but there is nothing I can imagine happening to my life that would make me say, well, now I've got to re-home Cali. Like re-home? No, are you kidding? Wherever I go and if she can't come I won't go. It's a no brainer to meet. 


Alison Sieke:

I'm glad we are on the same page. 


Kyle Kittleson:

We are, thank goodness about something. We're on the same page about those things. But right now I've noticed a huge increase in not only dogs that are finding new homes, whether they're puppies or rescues, but an increase in people fostering. I think it's because of Corona and COVID people are like, we're at home, we're kind of bored maybe we could do some good and also have some company by fostering dogs. 


Alison Sieke:

And cats. Cats too. 


Kyle Kittleson:

And cats. In fact, all animals really can be fostered, but Katie Hanson, who's the communications director for the Animal Care Center in New York. She says that usually at any given point they have, I don't know, like 600 or so animals in their care. But they made a huge call on their social media right before COVID was starting to ramp up and they were expecting to get 50 applications and they got more than 5,000. Now instead of hovering around 600 dogs that are hovering around about 100 dogs. Now, I don't know if you've got 5,000 applications. I don't understand why your dogs aren't at zero.


Alison Sieke:

And also why you aren't reaching out to other places to find temporary homes for those animals. But hey, that's what's up. That's great. I'm happy to hear that people are taking in some furry company.


Kyle Kittleson:

Where did you find get Peaches, your dog?


Alison Sieke:

Check it out. I got Peaches off of Craigslist.


Kyle Kittleson:

Oh, wow. The producer, I noticed he loved that. Is he like an investor in Craigslist? Love Craigslist. I'm a big Craighead.


Alison Sieke:

It was Peaches was listed under a rescue that was using Craigslist. But I actually adopted her when she was six weeks, which I believe is two weeks too young, according to the law. So this was not a legitimate rescue, but it was very clear I was rescuing her from something. So I felt cool with it. I still had to pay a bit but 100% worth it. She was in horrible, horrible circumstances. She was abandoned in a backyard covered in fleas and ticks. Now she's living the life, I literally have a leather recliner back there dedicated to her. So you're welcome.


Kyle Kittleson:

Absolutely. Yeah, of course, as she needs. When you brought Peaches home, I know this isn't a foster situation, but when people bring any dog home, whether it's for fostering or adopting or getting a puppy, they have to prepare their house. What did you do right with preparing your house and where did you go wrong?


Alison Sieke:

I don't think I did prepare my house. I think I just kind of like hovered like a hawk and watched every move and then very early on disciplined negative behaviors. She's never chewed on anything that I own past that first time that she did because she was disciplined not to. But yeah, absolutely I'm way more mindful now of having a dog safe space and not just for my own dog than I was before. So there are a lot of things you need to do in preparation for fostering a dog, kind of like when you're having a human baby and you got to like baby proof your house. Kyle, can you give us a rundown of the do's and don'ts of fostering?


Kyle Kittleson:

Sure. Well, I say you can get some melatonin first because you might need it to sleep that first night because you're going to have a lot of stress. 


Alison Sieke:

That one's from mommy or daddy not for-


Kyle Kittleson:

Yeah, not for the dog, for the people. Especially if you're fostering, we're assuming this is an older dog, not a puppy. You're going to want to remove anything that they could get to before they come home. So if you leave your shoes by the door and normally, before you bring that dog home put those shoes away where they can't see them it's not even an option for them. Over time. You'll be able to bring your shoes out and go back to your normal setup. But I like to have a dog intern environment where the dog can be successful. If I'm bringing a dog home and there are shoes on the ground, why would that dog know not to play or to up those shoes? They probably wouldn't. 

So I just don't even have that as an option, instead when they come in the house in their area, in their crate or in their bed, whatever's set up there's toys and stuff for them to do. So if they get into that, like you brought Peaches home, disciplined her for not chewing on the couch or for chewing on the couch. I'm saying, bring that dog home, have toys available when that dog goes after the toys, reward them for playing with the toys. 


Alison Sieke:

That's better. 


Kyle Kittleson:

The dog then is going to go, I know where to go when I want to have fun. I go right over here. In fact, when I go over here, dad might pop in and give me a treat. So I'm not interested in the couch even a little bit because I got Disney World over here in the corner. 


Alison Sieke:

I love that. 


Kyle Kittleson:

So setting up your dog for success.


Alison Sieke:

That's definitely better. Positive reinforcement is always going to be a better experience for you and me and the animal.


Kyle Kittleson:

Well, and it gets results. Look, punishment is effective. Punishing your dog is effective, but punishing your dog really hurts your relationship. It teaches your dog to live in fear. It doesn't build trust between you and your fur baby. What it does is it creates an environment based on I'm going to get in trouble, I'm going to get hurt if I screw up. I don't want to live in that environment and your dog probably doesn't want to live in that environment. I could train you to run a marathon if I put a gun to your face and be like, "Just run, baby." You're just going to run. 


Alison Sieke:

Yeah, it's terrifying. 


Kyle Kittleson:

But you would hate me afterwards, and you'd be like, "This experience sucks." But if I instead said, "Hey, Alison, let's go out, let's just run a mile today and then afterwards I'll take you to PF Chang's." Then you're going to like, all right.


Alison Sieke:

I'm so down. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Lettuce wraps maybe. So there's plenty of ways to encourage your pet. People, they give me a laundry list of all the stuff their dog does wrong. I go, "Give me a laundry list of all your stuff your dog does right." And when they do those right things, reward them. That's how you train an animal, not by punishing them for the bad things. But here's what I want foster parents to know, this is my personal experience is not backed by scientific studies. When you bring this dog home, it is going to act like an angel for the first few days, because it's feeling out the environment and it's like, all right, Mr. and Mrs. Miller, what do we got over here? You don't want me on the couch? Maybe I won't go on the couch for now because I don't know what I can get away with.

Oh, I need to be quiet when the bus comes by. That's fine. I've never been here. I don't really know what that bus is. I'm going to be quiet. Around day two, three, four, the dog gets a little bit of confidence. The dog's kind of feeling their oats. They're like, "Oh, I kind of run this house." And then they're like, "Mr. and Mrs. Miller, I'm getting on the couch. If the mailman comes, I'm going to bark and when I walk on leash I'm going to pull." All of these bad behaviors come out. 

So this is why that matters because you bring home the dog and the dog acts like an angel, and then you're just like, "We don't need any training. We don't need any routines. We don't need to teach them anything because look, this dog is great." And then on day four, you're like, "What? Why is this dog ruined in my life today?"


Alison Sieke:

Totally. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Then you call me or your dog trainer of preference, and I'm like, "Oh shoot, we miss such a great window to introduce your dog correctly and now we have to play makeup."


Alison Sieke:

So just the fact that they're not getting the treats with the same force that they were the first day, isn't going to be enough to keep them in line?


Kyle Kittleson:

Well, I don't look at it more so as keeping them in line.


Alison Sieke:

I know. It sounded harsh. I heard it when I said it and I was like, "What am I running a private school?"


Kyle Kittleson:

Yeah, exactly. That's so funny. It's more about, they don't know the rules. We assume these dogs are supposed to know what to do. They don't, they're just responding to their environment. So if in their environment they can get your attention by barking, they're going to bark. If you don't have enough toys for them or don't stimulate them or exercise them, they're going to find ways to entertain themselves and that's going to be chewing up your $900 leather shoes. So if you don't want to lose your $900 leather shoes invest $899 in dog training and have a great dog for 10 years and you get to keep your leather shoes. 


Alison Sieke:

sounds good to me. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Great. Well, that's our show.


Alison Sieke:

That's all you need to know about fostering ever?


Kyle Kittleson:

And that's it, it's just about the shoes. 


Alison Sieke:

I just want to talk a little more about fostering because I've never done it. So the idea is that you're giving this lovely pet a temporary home until they find their permanent home, which may or may not be you. Do you have the option? Can it be a trial period for a full family?


Kyle Kittleson:

Yeah. It depends on the group. I have heard of rescue groups or fostering groups who go, "No, we do not do trials. You are a foster parent. This dog will leave you and you will get another one." It's just their rules. I would say most fostering organizations or rescue groups who have a fostering program will say, "Look, if you love the dog, we'd love for you to take it. Our whole deal is about finding dogs their forever home." So most of them are okay. 

But foster parents, first of all, they're doing a great thing. It costs money, it takes up time. I appreciate all the work they're doing. But to make it even more impactful focus on correcting any problem behaviors you can while you have that dog. So if you get a dog who's not potty trained, potty train that dog. It's going to be way more adoptable. The returns are going to be way less if the dog isn't peeing in the house. If you have a dog who's aggressive, a lot of rescue dogs are aggressive this is why they end up in a shelter or a rescue organization. If they're aggressive, yes can you absolutely as a foster parent train all the aggression out? Probably not. 

But can you put in a routines and systems in place that manage that type of aggressive behavior that decreases any incidents, that really reinforces calm, cool, collected behavior from your dog? You can. So these foster parents out there are doing a great thing, but to take it to the next level getting educated on how to properly positively reinforce your dog and get rid of some of those undesirable behaviors and increase the frequency of desirable behaviors is going to make you foster parent of the year.


Alison Sieke:

Totally. At that point I would just be afraid of being so emotionally invested in this animal that I could not imagine them ever leaving my side. 


Kyle Kittleson:

I get that. 


Alison Sieke:

But maybe that's just a me thing.


Kyle Kittleson:

No, I think a lot of people were just nodding when they heard that. Do you think if you both fostered a dog for a year. So you've had Christmas with the dog, you've probably like gone on a weekend trip with the dog. You've taken pictures with the dog. 


Alison Sieke:

I love that dog. 


Kyle Kittleson:

You love that dog, but then this great family pops in and they're like, "Alison, we love this dog too."


Alison Sieke:

I love that for them. 


Kyle Kittleson:

And you know it's going to a great home. Oh, you okay?


Alison Sieke:

I love that for them. That's nice.


Kyle Kittleson:

Then I think that's like your gift, you babysat this dog and now it has its forever home. 


Alison Sieke:

And I gave it tips to succeed. Yay. 


Kyle Kittleson:

That's right. There was another news story that or not a new story rather but a-


Alison Sieke:

Please, enlighten me. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Some things that people should probably be aware of when they're bringing any type of animal into their house. It sounds like, yeah, Kyle duh, but just do it, make sure you do it, don't forget. You got to look at the little things on the ground. Any pins, needles, paperclips, nails, staples, like string rubber bands. Anything that's on the ground needs to be picked up. Your Roomba should be able to just get everything out that you would need. Then you want to go double check all of the plants in your home to make sure that they are either out of reach of that animal or that they're nontoxic. 

For example, every year, oh my gosh, when it's the holiday season poinsettias are in everybody's home. Every time I get a phone call from somebody who has a dog, I'm like, "Pick up your poinsettias they're poisonous to dogs, they can't them." So you just want to go through and find all those things. That's not as difficult as baby proofing a house. So no stress, but you want to spend 15 minutes to just prep it for the dog.


Alison Sieke:

Totally. Because everybody has a random loose staple on their floor somewhere, and it's no big deal to you because you're walking around with your socks on. But if a dog happens to lick that and eat it, I don't want to see that vet bill. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Thank you. 


Alison Sieke:

Not to mention but the inner journey of that poor staple and your poor baby. It's very simple, but even food and stuff. I don't know, maybe I'm just a crazy chef, but when I'm cooking sometimes like pieces of food go flying all over the place and then I'm like, "What if Peaches finds that in a week? That's food poisoning right there."


Kyle Kittleson:

Oh yeah. Maybe. For sure. I'm up at in this cabin right now in front of this gorgeous lake and I've been coming here with Cali, my dog for years. One of the first times we brought Cali up here we got into the house and I was just letting her run around, I did not take my own advice and she ate rat poison. 


Alison Sieke:

Oh, my gosh. 


Kyle Kittleson:

My ex founder and was like, "Oh my gosh, Kyle, she just ate rat poison." And I was like, okay. So I was like, "You call the vet I'm not a veterinarian, so anything I say is my opinion. I'm not giving you actual medical advice." But I had been told by other veterinarians that if you ever need your dog to throw up, you can pour hydrogen peroxide down their throat and that will cause them to throw up.


Alison Sieke:

That's safe?


Kyle Kittleson:

So I have a lab, safer than rat poison in your body. So these are the alternatives. So we did that. But then what happens with a rat poison is it doesn't really take effect immediately. It happens over days. So what people do is they're like, "Oh, my dog's been cool like for two days, we're good. And then eight days later, the dog dies because the rat poison finally took effect."


Alison Sieke:

Oh, no. 


Kyle Kittleson:

So we had to take her to a vet and then she was on this med for like, I don't know, a month or something that kept the rat poison from going. So guys, I say this story, just be like, this stuff happens. So just take a walk around, pick up the rat poison and avoid all of it.


Alison Sieke:

Because if your ex hadn't seen the moment when that happened would been too late for Cali.


Kyle Kittleson:

Thank God. Absolutely. That is good. Yes, absolutely. Well, speaking of exes, the second topic we're covering today is how to tell if he's cheating. I'm kidding. The second topic we're covering today is shared pet custody. Alison, you have some experience with this because you have joint custody?


Alison Sieke:

Yes, I do. 


Kyle Kittleson:

How did this happen? Tell me. 


Alison Sieke:

I had been wanting a dog as an adult for-


Kyle Kittleson:

I think you're going to say a divorce.


Alison Sieke:

Kind of, I was in a relationship for seven years and I wasn't happy, but I wasn't like urgently unhappy and then my father passed away. Literally, I was like I'm a pretty emotional girl and I was not in a good place and I was like, I just need a loving furry adorable thing, looking at my face and it wasn't my man. So I ended up leaving that relationship, but I had gotten a dog and instead of choosing who the dog would go to, we decided we could share. We could share the dog and it was difficult in the beginning and now it's great. Because before the virus-


Kyle Kittleson:

So what's the schedule? 


Alison Sieke:

Well, there isn't a schedule and that's the biggest issue that I have is that me and my ex have different parenting philosophies. So I am a schedule making person, he would never adhere to a schedule. I like to try and set my dog up for success, he often says things like, "She's a dog." So for me it's-


Kyle Kittleson:

I see why you got rid of this guy.


Alison Sieke:

Thank you. I never regret it. But it is challenging to parent the dog together, but having a shared responsibility is actually kind of nice and it's better for my dog because some days I'll work like 13 hour days and so she would much rather be hanging out with her dad. 


Kyle Kittleson:

I think that's a good point. A lot of people, we anthropomorphize everything with all animals but especially when it comes to our dogs and we have this idea that a dog who is sharing its life between two people is somehow not having as high a quality of life if it was just with one person. But we're not preparing this dog to go to college and get a job and have a life and a family, we're just hanging out with the dog. So in most cases, as long as the no one's abusing or hurting the animal, most dogs are like, this is cool. I get to go to this house and I get love here, and then I go to this house and I get love here and then that's their life. 

But you're not alone, according to the New York Times, the entire United States has seen a 27% increase in pet custody cases. These are legal cases in the last five years. 


Alison Sieke:

I can't imagine. That's quite an extreme to take it to, I can't imagine like what kind of dispute-


Kyle Kittleson:

I know. 


Alison Sieke:

You could have that would, but hey, everything's a possibility. 


Kyle Kittleson:

That's true. Most people, at least people I talk to on a day to day basis, don't view their pets as an object to be owned, they view them as just an extension of their human family. So these pet custody battles judges are now looking at the cases to see which home would be best for the dog. Instead of just saying who gets it. It's not like a car, it's not like a car, like who gets the car? Who bought it? It's like-


Alison Sieke:

Who is the more suitable parent?


Kyle Kittleson:

That's right. Who takes them on walks? Who travels? Whatever. Now that makes me a little nervous because I get you're a judge and you get to make these decisions, but I'm like, "What's your background with animal care? Do you know what goes in to taking care of an animal?"


Alison Sieke:

Totally. Just because one pet parent might want to take the dog to The Bahamas three times a year. Does that mean that the dog cares to be in The Bahamas? Is that even better? What is better? Because they're judges.


Kyle Kittleson:

How do you think a judge would rule on you and your ex if you guys like both had to go and say, "Judge, I want peaches." And he's like, "Here's why I want peaches." How do you think the judge would rule?


Alison Sieke:

100%, I think the judge would go with me of course. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Yeah, of course. Good. 


Alison Sieke:

But yeah, I have a lot of reasons to back that up. I just don't want to sound entirely bitter, but I'm happy to share if you want to know.


Kyle Kittleson:

Well, I mean, of course the nitty gritty drama details is what would keep me listening. So what are they?


Alison Sieke:

I care to be an extremely thoughtful and responsible parent to my dog. It's important to me, I wouldn't overlook any details in doing so. Recently my ex informed me that he was going to be relocating to Paris and we faced the decision of who's going to get the dog. He was trying to insinuate that I was not ready for such a responsibility and I brought up the fact that he wasn't even aware that the dog would need papers filed on her account in order to have her in a foreign country. So had I just thrown my hands up in the air and said, "You know what? You can have Peaches." She would've probably ended up locked in a cage for four months in France, like barking until her vocal chords didn't work anymore. So that's just one example. 

I love that more people are having pet custody battles though, because I really do feel like it has a negative stigma attached to it. People, when I tell them that I share my dog and that it's not with my mother, I can immediately see them project extra baggage onto me, and I don't love that. So if more people are doing it, great.


Kyle Kittleson:

You're excited that people are breaking up and having pet custody battles so that it lowers the stigma you face as a shared custody pet parent. 


Alison Sieke:

100%. That's right. Let's normalize it because [inaudible 00:27:06]. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Good, break down the stigma. I was very lucky because I was with my ex for not... you were with yours for seven, I was with mine for six. He actually got Cali. So he brought her into the relationship and now I have her obviously. But when we broke up, that was the conversation I was dreading. Because I'm like, this guy is not going to... I was like, this is where we will be one of those people who go get an arbitrator to figure this out. 


Alison Sieke:

Because you find yourself more fit, but your ex probably would have fought for the-


Kyle Kittleson:

I'm hosting a podcast about dogs, of course I'm more fit. What are you talking about?


Alison Sieke:

I don't know your ex, your ex could also do that or have their own pet shop. 


Kyle Kittleson:

I wasn't dating Jack Hannah. No, he's a perfectly fine pet parent, but not compared to me. So when we sat down, he goes, "Well, what do you think should happen to Cali?" 


Alison Sieke:

What do think?


Kyle Kittleson:

And I said, "I think Cali should meet with me." And he said, "I think you're right." And that was the end of the conversation. He was a great boyfriend, but he was a great guy to break up with because it was just easy breezy, beautiful cover girl, like all the way to the end. So it was awesome. So now I have Cali.


Alison Sieke:

That's great. 


Kyle Kittleson:

I stole his child. 


Alison Sieke:

Oh yeah, and I still wonder to this day, Peaches really is my daughter. So when she does see me and her dad fight I worry, I worry that she like feels the tension of that. Absolutely.


Kyle Kittleson:

She might, because dogs pick up on all of that. On some level they feel the environment. While it is our job to take care of our animals, it's also okay to let them take care of us. I think, especially when it's a breakup, yeah, take care of your pet, but don't be afraid to let them take care of you. If you're crying and your dog or cat comes over, you don't have to stop crying to save face with your dog. Be like, oh, it's okay, we'll get to it. You can be like, "This sucks." You can cry harder. I remember one time it was probably six months ago, and look, I had had a couple of glasses of wine. So just know that. 


Alison Sieke:

That's fine. Nobody is mad at that. 


Kyle Kittleson:

And then a sad song came on my little smart device and it was kind of late at night and then I saw Cali looking at me and then I started thinking about all of the shit we had been through. All of the stuff we had been through together and I started to cry and I like hugged her and she's licking me. And I'm just like, "Thank you so much for being there." So, did she notice something was off? Duh, but it's okay, we're allowed to have all of our emotions with our animals. That's the best part about having them is we don't have to hide our emotions. If something sucks in my life and then you and I sit down to record a podcast, I got to kind of push that back do this.


Alison Sieke:

Totally. 


Kyle Kittleson:

But with my dog I don't have to do that, with my dog I get to be, if I'm a jerk for a day, I get to be a jerk and my dog still loves me even though I'm acting like a jerk.


Alison Sieke:

Totally. You know what? It's funny and I'm really glad that you said that because I actually forget sometimes. I'll be having a hard day or during this virus, a lot of lonely, lonely days and I'll reach out to a friend or sometimes they'll reach out to me and then I'm like, "Well, you just stepped into that because here you go, I'm lonely. What do I do? Make me feel better?" And they'll say, "Well, don't you have Peaches?" I feel stupid, but I've forgotten, yeah, I have an emotionally supportive animal that I can turn to at any time, even if she doesn't come over to me when I'm crying, I can pick her up and make her hold me while I'm crying.


Kyle Kittleson:

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, do dogs remember? I actually get asked about any animal I've worked with like, do dogs remember? Do birds remember? Whatever. They do remember to answer the question. But I remember my ex and I hadn't seen each other for more than a year. He had some big life changes that he wanted to fill me in on and he asked me to go to lunch. So Cali and I walk up to this restaurant and Kelly is a very well behaved and well trained dog. So at the front of the restaurant, I asked her to lay down because I was going to go inside to see if he was there and she would not lay down. She wouldn't even listen to me or look at me. And I was like, "This is so strange."

I was actually getting frustrated. I'm like, "Hello, Cali are you kidding me? Lay down." This is two seconds. We do this all the time. She wouldn't do it and so we walk around to the outside of the restaurant because he wasn't in there. I peeked and he wasn't in. So I was like, "Oh, we'll walk around the outside." He was right around the corner. Exactly around the corner, maybe three feet away. I believe she smelled him.


Alison Sieke:

Totally. 


Kyle Kittleson:

And she's like, "I know that scent. I know this." She grew up with him. She's like, "I know this, I know this." So she wouldn't listen to me, I had none of her attention. When she saw him, of course, she's like [inaudible 00:32:43] and it was that moment, and then she was cool and calmed down again. So what that told me was that yes, she remembers, but there was no a lull in her behavior after him and I met, she didn't seem like, I hate saying sad and depressed because that's very anthropomorphic, but she didn't seem sad or depressed after that. Dogs, animals are incredibly capable, more capable than people when it comes to handling emotions.


Alison Sieke:

Yeah. That makes sense. Even though she remembered, it's not like she intellectualized it at all. It's just like, oh, familiar, love. It's not like, "Oh, I remember and I'm gonna hold on to a negative detail." It's all love. Let's take some questions, people have some questions for us. So I actually have this question too. What is the correct way to bottle feed a puppy or kitten that you're fostering? This is from [Ibajaci 00:33:46]


Kyle Kittleson:

That question catches me a little off guard because why are people fostering a puppy or kitten that young that would need bottle feeding? I'm sure it happens if they find a pregnant mother and then it goes to the rescue and they have all these puppies and they need help. But a puppy who's getting bottle fed if it has the option to be with its mother, it should be with its mother. You mentioned earlier in the segment, eight weeks old is the minimum age you would want a puppy to be separated from its mom. But if you have some circumstance where that's what you need to do, I am not a bottle feeding connoisseur, but my suggestion is two fold. 

One, the puppy or kitten will know when it's full. I see parents do this to their human kids all the time. Like finish your plate, finish your plate. I'm like, no animals in the wild are making their young finish anything. Animals just know, I eat and then I feel different and then I stop eating. So the puppy or kitten will know. Second is you do actually want to heat up their milk or the formula that you're using. You do want to test it on yourself. You might want to check with your vet to get the exact degrees. But I think it's like between 90 and 100 or something around there. So you do want to heat it up. And then from my understanding there are two acceptable ways to bottle feed a puppy, and I don't know if kittens have more. 

But one is just you would hold them in their hand so that their belly is in your hand and then you prop up the bottle and they'll just suck onto it normally. You can also do it where they're on their back. But if you have them on their back, you have to really make sure that your bottle is at a 45 degree angle, otherwise they can kind of choke on the milk a little bit. So I tell most people, if the puppy will take it, just right side up, do it that way. I don't have a benefit of doing it a different.


Alison Sieke:

Yeah, sounds super tricky. I feel like unless you're in a very special circumstance. Addy with a Y asks, my aunt is fostering two puppies and she has a seven year old dog any tips on cohabitation?


Kyle Kittleson:

Wow, good job Addy's aunt hanging in there with dogs two of them puppies. Look, they make puppies cute for a reason because if they didn't, nobody would get them. They are a nightmare. Their teeth are razorblades, they pee and poop, they sleep for 10 minutes and then have all the energy in the world. It is a lot so power to you. My big thing is I love that the puppies actually do have an older dog that they can interact and play with. Depending on that dog, the older dogs behavior, it could actually be a really good influence on those puppies. 

So assuming everybody is up to date on their shots and there are no health risks, I would say a really allow them to have interactions with each other. If the seven year old dog though is going out, especially to a place like a dog park or being around a lot of other dogs, I would really consider getting that dog bathed or at least wiping their paws down before I would have them going back and play with the puppies.

Again, all of this should be talked through with your veterinarian. I am not a vet. Anything your vet says trumps what any dog trainer says, okay? Veterinarians are much smarter when it comes to the health of your dog than dog trainers. But from a socialization standpoint you do want them to interact. So just clean up that older dog after outings and let them play. Other than that, animals typically figure it out themselves. More like that older dog is going to let the puppies know and they're being just too annoying and the puppies will learn and it's good for them to learn.


Alison Sieke:

Yeah. There might be a little initial tension, but I feel like after a couple of days it'll kind of sort itself out, like you said. I got just one more question today, this one is from Stephanie. She wants to know how she can even find a dog to foster.


Kyle Kittleson:

Wow. Well, like we said, Stephanie, it can be very competitive. So I will give you some recommendations on not only how to find a foster, but also how to give yourself the best chance of getting a dog to foster. First you can look up any local rescues. I love going local. Local rescues know how to stretch a dollar, they don't have as much funding as these bigger rescue groups do. So really to support them is really a job well done. I would just make sure that you are checking and reviewing the organization. It's very easy to do these days, go on their social media, do a quick Google search. If you're finding a lot of bad interactions, bad reviews. If the foster maybe it's brand new, tread lightly, tread carefully, I would rather go to a local established foster group with great reviews online. 

When you're ready you really... A lot of people are going to go, "All this work just to foster a dog?" And I go, "Yeah, kind of." You got to have everything in place. So you want pictures of your home, pictures of your backyard if you have one. You want to have your work schedule, who's going to be living with the dog? Do you have the financial ability to care for this dog? What is your time allowance going to be to care for this dog? Have all of that ready to go, show that you're prepared, show that you've been thinking about this. 

A lot of people get a dog on a whim. They watch Marley & Me and then on Saturday they go out and foster a dog. That is not the path a foster wants you to take. When you show up with a stack of files that has all your information, that foster is going to go, "Now, this is somebody serious. This is somebody who gets it. I'm going to make them a priority." You also want to talk about any other animals you have in your home. If you have some deal breakers, and it's okay to have deal breakers. If you have an allergy and you need a hypoallergenic dog to foster, tell them. If you live with a really old cat, so you can't deal with a dog that has a ton of prey drive, tell them. It's okay to have deal breakers they just need to know.


Alison Sieke:

Awesome. Cool. I feel like we have set up the world to get some great new foster parents. 


Speaker 3:

I have one more question. I have a sincere question I'd like to ask. So back in the '90s, I was living in the upper west side of Manhattan. I was running this chain of mega bookstores, it was like a Barnes & Noble type thing. I wasn't really dating or anything at the time though because I was like a man on the go. But I did meet someone in an over thirties chat room, I was over 30 in the '90s. Don't worry about the timeline. So I met this woman with the username shop girl and we really hit it off and things are going great, and now I know you're probably thinking, isn't that just the plot to you've got mail? But no, there was a crucial difference. Me and shop girl ended up moving in together and she had these two dogs. 

The dogs were always barking back and forth at each other. And I was like, "Are they speaking a language? Do they understand each other's tone? Or is it just exchanging nonsense?" And I never found out the answer. So I was wondering, do you know the answer to that, Kyle? 


Kyle Kittleson:

I do. I just need one follow up question. What happened with the girl? 


Speaker 3:

With shop girl? 


Kyle Kittleson:

Yeah, with shop girl. You met someone online and then moved in with them. 


Speaker 3:

Yeah. This was back in the day when online dating it was an unknown world. We were using AOL and it was-


Alison Sieke:

That's terrifying.


Speaker 3:

I don't even know if this woman is real, but she was real and she was wonderful, unfortunately it didn't work out. 


Kyle Kittleson:

That's why you put your hands up.


Speaker 3:

Yes. 


Kyle Kittleson:

That's why I like Craigslist so much. 


Speaker 3:

I'm an early adopter of online forums with a very basic HTML. 


Kyle Kittleson:

So are they speaking a language like you and I are speaking language? No. Are they communicating something to each other? Yes, but it's not in the way that you and I would communicate. Dogs are barking for one of two reasons. Either they have heard, smelled, seen, felt something that has alarmed them in some way and alarming doesn't have to be bad it can just be any range. Or they're trying to get attention because a lot of dogs bark for attention because what do you do when your dog barks?


Alison Sieke:

You have it's attention. 


Kyle Kittleson:

You tell them to be quiet or give it attention. 


Alison Sieke:

Is that an attention from their parent or from the other dog?


Kyle Kittleson:

Yes. From the parent. So you'll have dogs who have been actually trained to bark for attention. So no, your dogs were not going, "Woof, woof, woof. Hey, what do you think about this new guy who mom met on the internet? And she's  like, "Woof, woof, woof, well, I don't think it's going to last." They're not having that type of conversation obviously. 


Speaker 3:

They would have been right had they were.


Kyle Kittleson:

My dog just barked. Can you hear that? She's growling and she had a little bark, you might've heard that.


Alison Sieke:

Yeah, I heard it. 


Kyle Kittleson:

It's because right outside another dog, I'm watching this unfold right now live from [inaudible 00:43:09] Minnesota. 


Speaker 3:

Wow, what a presentation. How timely is this? 


Kyle Kittleson:

Yes. There is a dog who's walked into the yard. So my dog is deciding to bark. And a second dog. What is going on out here? Now there's three dogs out there. 


Alison Sieke:

Whose dogs are those?


Kyle Kittleson:

They do understand language. See they understand what we're talking about and they're coming to your house to learn,  Cali called them. Well, Alison, this of course is always great to talk to and I'm glad we touched on the topics of fostering because we're seeing a surge of it. I hope it continues. We need people who are capable of taking dogs to take them and so rock on. If people have questions, they should go to the app, the Pet Collective to get those questions answered because don't let a question keep you from fostering.


Alison Sieke:

There are so many different ways to have a pet now. You can foster, you can share your pet, you can be old fashioned and be a one pet girl or guy. Oh, what a modern world we're living in, 2020.


Kyle Kittleson:

An old fashioned one pet girl or guy. What is that?


Alison Sieke:

I don't know. I'm confused if I'm a pet parent or I'm dating animals. 


Kyle Kittleson:

In the 30s, you could only have one pet per person.


Alison Sieke:

Yeah, I know, and things are like crazy now. You can do anything and there's no judgment. This has gotten out of hand, but if anybody wants some more, please find us on social media. You can find me at Alison Sieke, Kyle? 


Kyle Kittleson:

I'm still @KyleKittleson. 


Alison Sieke:

Still there. 


Kyle Kittleson:

So hit me up there. I'm still there rocking it.


Alison Sieke:

But also remember to find the Pet Collective on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, posting all the time really, really funny videos and send us your questions. Guys we want to hear from you, we want to hear about your pet related questions and we'll answer them on the show. Don't forget to check out the Pet Collective store at petcollective.shop that's petcollective.shop for tons of amazing things for you and your full fury family. All right, see you next week, bye. 


Kyle Kittleson:

Bye. 


Speaker 3:

The Pet Collective Podcast is produced by Jukin Media and the Pet Collective. Head producer, [Anosh 00:45:28] McAdam, associate producer, Brandon Kendall, and our original score is composed by Cory Celeste.