How We Became A Dog Foster FamilyFamilyPet
I’ve always wanted to help the homeless animals I see on the ASPCA commercials. They look so sad and lonely. I work full-time, so I can’t volunteer at a local shelter. I have to support my own family and our dog, so giving away lots of money isn’t an option. What talents do I have that can make a difference?
One day I was at the vet with our dog and overheard a woman talking with the receptionist. “How’s it going, many adoptions lately?” asked the receptionist. “We’ve had a few,” answered the woman. “But what we really need are foster homes so we can save more from the shelters.” As I sat there, I began to wonder what was involved in being a foster home for a rescue.
At dinner that night I brought up the subject with my family. “What is a foster?” asked my daughter. “Well,” I answered, “I’m not really sure but I think it’s like fostering a child. You bring an animal into your home and give it love and safety until it is adopted. I’ll look into it if everyone is in agreement.” After more discussion, we agreed to contact some local rescues to see what we could do to help.
I called the vet office and asked about the lady I had heard speaking the previous day, receiving her contact information. I contacted her and found out fostering really is as easy as it sounded. So we filled out the application to become a foster family for a rescued dog or cat.
After meeting the foster coordinator, discussing our application, and a home check we were ready for our first foster pet. The rescue provided any supplies needed, handled all the vet needs, and we had the option to be as involved in the actual adoption as we wanted to be. We simply had to provide a safe, loving home and make the pet available to meet potential adopters.
Our first foster was a sweet, young dog named Flower who had been rescued from a local shelter. It was obvious she’d had a difficult start in life because she was shy of people and would shake terribly when we put in her crate at night. We worked with her daily, sitting quietly with a treat in our hands waiting for her to come to us for attention. When she went into her crate, we were upbeat and gave her treats. Basically we just let her explore on her own and discover she was safe. Our own dog helped by giving gentle kisses and often curling up next to our little foster for a nap in the sun.
Over the next few weeks, Flower learned how to trust again. She’d willingly trot up to people to be petted. At bed time, she’d go to her crate with a simple command of “bed time.” She was ready to find her fur-ever home. On the first outing to an adoption event, she met a family with a single child who loved dogs. It was love at first sight.
If was difficult to say goodbye to our Flower, but she had bloomed into a wonderful, loving dog and it was time to let her go. Not to worry, we soon had our next dog, and then another. As a family, we had found a way to share our love of animals with those that needed love and a second chance. We can’t help every homeless pet, but we make a big difference for each one we bring into our home. Along the way our family too changed for the better, appreciating what we have and learning to love unconditionally.
Lou is an avid supporter of Pawzitive Petz Rescue.