Monday, July 30, 2012


(Sorry ya'll, this may be a bit long...)
People always want to know how I got into fostering and some of you have asked exactly how things work.  This post will be about my experience then I'll answer all questions tomorrow.
To be perfectly honest, I fell into fostering on a whim.  Growing up, I always liked dogs, but I wouldn't say I was a dog lover.  In fact, in middle school, my dad and sisters REALLY wanted a dog.  I remember sitting at the dinner table one night and my Mom said "Okay guys, it's either me or a dog..." I was the only one who chose my Mom.  :o)
Anyway, I got into fostering after I friended a local shelter on Facebook a few years ago.  It amazed me how many dogs needed homes.  I always knew they were out there, I just had no idea how bad the situation really was.  It broke my heart.  And I started to feel really guilty that Toby wasn't a shelter dog.  Neither was our family dog, Brandi. 
I contacted the shelter, originally wanting to volunteer.  When the shelter e-mailed me back, they said they really could use fosters, would I be willing to do that?  I didn't really know exactly what that meant but after I said I needed a bit more information, they sent me the name of a women they worked with frequently. 
She owned an out of state rescue, but due to the high volume of shelter dogs in our area, she had several dogs in her rescue that were local to me.  I had to fill out some paperwork and give her 3 references.  We talked a bit, and my basic responsibilities were to take care of the dogs and socialize them.  In other words, get them used to a "normal" life.  I fostered both Ali and Trixie (at different times!) with this rescue.  They were posted on Petfinder and I believe that's why they got adopted so fast.  Not to mention, they were super cute and their personalities were adorable!
I stopped fostering while I was house hunting/buying and contacted a local group when I was ready to foster again this past January.
While I loved working with the out of state rescue, the benefits of a local group fit my lifestyle better.  I had to fill out paperwork, get a home visit and give 3 references again, but honestly, that's just protocol.  And I wouldn't trust a rescue who wouldn't check out someone they were giving a dog to anyway.
A few benefits of working with a local group:  there's support with adoption events, volunteer opportunities and a list of people who will show up at your door anytime, any day if you have a problem with your foster.  For me, that's key and comfort and I prefer that over being "on my own."
To sum up the experience, fostering is the most selfless, rewarding and difficult thing I do.  It's time consuming, fun, frustrating, entertaining, and bittersweet.  I love each of these little pups like they were my own (and yes, I cry every single time I take one to their permanent home.)  I really, truly love it and I wouldn't do it if I didn't.  Saving a homeless animal is an uphill battle.  You feel like you can never do enough, especially when you know how many are out there.  But, at the same time, you have to realize a life saved is a life saved.  And that life does matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment