At one point during the hottest summer I can remember in Memphis, we heard news of a nearby shelter that was desperate for foster homes. They had no air conditioning, poor ventilation and they were losing dogs due to heat stroke. The shelter was threatening to start putting dogs down if volunteers wouldn’t take them in.
Of course I heard this heart wrenching story over the radio, called up our friends and we caravanned out to the shelter to see how we could help. Since we already had Emi, we took her with us to make sure that the dog we would end of fostering would be a good match (I highly recommend this if you have the opportunity). After seeing the dogs in such miserable conditions it was hard not to pack them all up with us, but living in a one bedroom option that wasn’t an option. We were told that Rosie was a sweet dog that was an owner surrender and was terrified of being at the shelter, she was very underweight and was curled up in the corner shaking while the rest of the dogs around her jumped and barked loudly. I knew she would be a good companion to Emi and we had to get her out of there.
Emi and Rosie instantly bonded and were like two cats always cuddling with each other and rolling around in the most gentle way. The temporary fostering that we agreed to stretched out to more than triple the expected time. Although Emi and Rosie were total sweethearts when we were home, they both suffered from separation anxiety and were not a good influence on each other. On two occasions I came home to couches that were mutilated beyond repair and it became clear that it was time for Rosie to find her forever home. Thankfully a shelter in New England had arranged to come down and transfer many of the dogs to new homes in the North East. Rosie was one of the lucky dogs already lined up for adoption when they came to get her. While it was sad to see her go we knew that we had done our job as a foster family. While with us she reached a healthy weight, recovered from kennel cough, and learned to play with other dogs. Now she was off to a home where she could get the almost constant human contact she needed. Her new family was a retired couple that was looking for a good companion, I don’t think they could have chosen a more loyal and loving dog.
Our friends that joined us on the foster request ended up adopting the dog they took home. Although she was initially a bit much to handle they worked very hard to train her. Lilly ended up learning manners and gaining two doggie brothers that kept her in line. She turned out to be a great dog that might not have ever had a chance at finding a permanent home if she wasn’t given the chance through adoption.
What I learned through the experience is that fostering dogs from a shelter is an incredible way to make a difference in a dog’s life.
Five reasons to foster a dog:
- Fostering frees up room so the shelter or rescue can take in another dog
- Fostering gives a dog the time he needs to be ready for adoption (recovering from illness, staying away from possible illness, learning manners, getting potty trained, etc)
- Fostering helps the shelter or rescue learn more about the dog so he can end up in the best home possible (does he have allergies, does he need to be crated, etc)
- Fostering socializes the dog to a home environment, possibly getting him used to being around other pets and different types of people
- Fostering gives you the chance to see if you’re ready to handle an additional pet in your family