How Can You Foster?

How can you foster? It’s a question I get all of the time.

“How can you let the dogs go?  I would get too attached” is another thing I always hear.

“I could never let them go” is yet another thing I hear.

I’ve been fostering dogs for about six months now.  Oh, my word…I love it.  Fostering totally fits me and my lifestyle.
-I like being busy.
-I like breaks from busyness.
-I like fixing bad or hard situations.
-I like flying under the radar.
-I like sharing my blessings.
-Chaos doesn’t scare me.
-I’m not afraid of vomit or poop.

Another truth…I love volunteering and being part of a bigger group, but I hate meetings where people argue over the color of the curtains in the kitchen at church.  I hate meetings where everything is tabled for the next meeting because there are too many “feelings” involved.  I hate being any part of anything where someone says, “this is the way we’ve always done it”.  Once someone says something like that, I’m headed to the exit sign.

I’ve been with the rescue now for 6 months.  Never once have I heard anyone bash another person.  Never have I heard arguments over anything.  I love it.  Everyone has a common goal of doing whatever we can for the dogs and for the families who are going to adopt.

My own kids have kind of laughed and rolled their eyes saying, “Can you believe my mom has five dogs at her house right now?”…Then Kalissa went with me when we met Connie and handed off Rusty to her.  Oh my.  To see their happiness…to see Rusty go to like Connie like they were meant to be.  Kalissa said, “Yah, I can see why you do it.”  She even got teared up over it…I did too.  We both got attached to Rusty, but seeing Connie, was priceless.

Kalissa and I talked about it on the way home.  I told what I have to tell myself over and over again… If I keep another dog, that means I can’t help all of the other dogs that need help.  That’s why I can give them away.

You might remember Annie…She was the first pup that I fostered that I gave away.  I got her after I got Izzy.  She’s the pup that Carver latched onto and was really upset over when she went to her new home.  When Carver got upset, I thought again about if doing foster care was the right thing.  I decided it was.  Carver, and all my grandkids, need to learn to be helpers even if in the end, there is a little pain.

Giving Annie to her… family was totally a magical experience.  I wish I could videotape it and show you all.  There were two kids and they were just giddy with excitement.  Both of them were talking at once.  Annie took two steps forward and the kids were yelling, “Look mom, she’s walking.”  It was just amazing.  What is even more awesome is that every time a foster goes to their new family, I see the same giddiness no matter the age of the adopters.  Every dog deserves that…every family deserves that.  Seeing people at their happiest is wonderful.  (It’s so much better than arguing over the color of the kitchen curtains)

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I’ve been blessed to be on the giving and receiving end of foster care.  Here is my Izzy when I first got her with my grandson Gannon.  I was so blessed and lucky to be able to adopt Izzy.  I had that same giddiness knowing I was getting a new pup.  That let me see that fosters are so necessary and I truly do need to give the pups to their new families and not “keep them all”.

Now that I’ve done this for a while, the grandkids are all much better with it.  I will Facetime with them and they will ask which dogs I have at my house.  They always play with the pups and I stress to them that they are part of the process.  It’s their job to figure out if this would be a good dog for a family with kids.  So far, every dog or puppy that has been here has passed the kid-friendly test.

I’ve been so blessed to make a living as I do.  I have a flexible schedule.  I’m home all day and can easily foster pups and work on housetraining.  I can get to the vet at most any time of day.  This is the perfect way for me to volunteer.  I feel like fostering is my thank you for the lifestyle I’m been blessed with.

As said the people I volunteer with are awesome.  People pitch in and help.  No one is bossy or pushy.  Everyone is thankful for help no matter how it comes.  Maybe it’s a trip to the vet to pick something up.  Maybe it’s volunteering to bathe dogs when we get them in…however a person can help, they are welcome.  I’m sure every group isn’t as easygoing as mine is.  They all make fostering easy.

I love fostering as it’s a volunteer thing that you can “be as busy as you want to be”.  I don’t have to take dogs as often as I do.  I had to laugh, in early January I contacted the coordinator and said, “Hey my house is pretty quiet.  Are there any dogs on the horizon?”  On the other hand, I didn’t volunteer for dogs over Christmas as I knew we were going away to the waterpark.

I’ve learned so much from fostering.  I’ve mostly learned that I love dog personalities more than I love specific breeds.  Previously I was only a beagle girl.  Oh my…after Izzy, I’ll always be looking for a dog’s personality WAY more than the breed.

I still get surprised I have a black long-haired dog that needs to be groomed.  Previously, that was not me.

I used to wonder who would like to have an old dog like Susie or Rusty…old dogs that I had previously viewed as “dried up”.  I’ve learned that they still have LOTS to give.  I’ve learned that I like them more than puppies.  They are just so thankful for attention and love.  I’m not afraid of old dogs anymore.

I’ve learned that training can help almost everything and it isn’t that hard.  Mr. Mork was such a howler but he’s not anymore.  Izzy was a little growly towards Susie but that’s all okay now too.  Patience, training, and consistency can do wonders with any problem.  That has made me not afraid to take any dog.  Previously, I focused more on puppies.

Of all the volunteer things I’ve ever done, I’ve never been so rewarded by volunteering.  I am blessed with puppy kisses, puppy eyes…old dog thankfulness, and even warm snuggles on the couch.  Then on top of that, I get to see families meet their new family members…it’s a whole other reward.  I get to see my own dogs grow and mature as they get new playmates.  I get to see my grandkids’ happiness…The rewards are worth so much more than anything I give with fostering…so yes, I can give a dog away because every time I do, I get so much more!!  I have seen the saying, “Who rescued who?”.  Being a foster care provider for dogs and puppies has me living that statement every day.

12 thoughts on “How Can You Foster?”

  1. Hey Jo, got my Noel Christmas auction kit. I cannot believe more people didn’t bid. This is gorgeous and a full size quilt with SIMPLE instructions on one of the panels. Also I fostered several hundred dogs while living in Arkansas. We were a foster based non profit and it turned into a full time volunteer position. We had very few pedigrees from mostly back yard idiots. We offered reduced spay or neuter also. I won’t go on because it also begins to get to be personal when you see a truckload of euthanized dogs in the back of the pound pick up truck go to the dump. Please don’t think you can save them all as i began to feel, you cannot. Pedigrees are easy cute dogs, it is the older, larger, mixed breed and uglier dogs that get left and then there is the black dog syndrome, last to be adopted and first to be euthanized. Don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer just want the readers to know there are more dogs than fosters or adopters. Help if you can.

  2. Cynthia from Nebraska

    I have volunteered with English Springer Rescue America for many years; for 3 years I was the Nebraska Coordinator. I’ve fostered, too, but only a few dogs. For us, it wasn’t hard to give them to the adopters because…we carefully checked out the applicants and didn’t adopt out until we found a good match (it’s not first asker gets the dog), and the dogs (none were puppies) weren’t really a good fit with our family (for example, one needed a more active family, one wasn’t a great match with our own dog) – they found families that were better for them than we would be!

  3. Hi Jo. I fostered older dogs. It was not hard to pass them on to their forever homes as I knew most were not my dogs . I ended up
    Foster failing with an older shepherd mix. We were meant to be together. I am looking forward to fostering again. Each dog in a foster home makes room for another dog in the shelter. You are the best ❤️!

  4. Bless you for fostering fur babies! I can understand the joy of seeing “homeless” dogs be homeless no more as they meet their forever families. We have always had 2, sometimes 3, rescue dogs and they add so much to our lives. Also, I’m so with you on the meetings (why I don’t belong to a quilt guild). I follow Connie’s blog so I keep up with Rusty; she surely is a wonderful doggie mom!

  5. So glad you are able to foster the dogs. You do such a wonderful job with them, as you did with your daycare kiddos. Keep up the good work!

  6. Hi Jo, I think is so awesome what you do not just in fostering but in everything. It was so neat to meet Kalissa and you when we picked up Rusty. I can tell you that he is the best dog and it feels like we have had him forever. When his cherry eyes came back we immediately took him to our vet and were told the surgery could be done again but only once. We took the chance and Rusty was such a trooper having to wear a cone again for almost 3 weeks as he got ulcers in his eyes. So far, the surgery has worked! He is our third older rescue and each one is so precious. You don’t get as long of a time with them, unfortunately. You always wonder what a rescue dog’s life was like. Rusty would never come downstairs with Mickey and I when I was quilting. Once the cone was off his head, I picked him up and carried him downstairs. He cried, whimpered and struggled while I was carrying him and once downstairs he stayed right by me for a bit. Then he explored. What a change! Now everytime Mickey or I go downstairs, he is right with us. Thank you for what you do! Connie

  7. I follow Connie too and like to see Rusty updates. I have been on church committees where they would discuss things till I could scream and then “table” it. I worked full time and wanted to go home. I don’t think I will be sucked into that again. I help with lunches for the home bound and we all get along just fine. We are all retirees now a good group to work with. I think doing the fostering would be very rewarding. I think I like animals better than people.

  8. Every dog we’ve had except for my husbands 3 service dogs have been rescued from a terrible end. My current best friend Midnight is getting old and I do cry knowing I won’t have my best friend forever. I like my pets probably better than people- lol- to be honest. It does take a strong kind hearted person to do what you are for the pups and for others. And I too agree that it’s more important to make a difference in the world than to “Argue about the color of the carpet “… We thought about making our five acres into a rescue. We call it Darcy’s Haven after our service dog who developed diabetes and went blind. We’ve taken in some chickens, cat and kittens and mini donkeys. We feed the deer-not to shot but to keep from getting shot. Maybe next year we will try to foster. I’m sure your grands are really making a difference in the pups lives too. I think they are also learning a good lesson on how to love animals and be responsible too. A lot of people get animals then decide they just don’t want the responsibility and dump them. It’s really cruel to an animal when that happens. They really are smarter than we give credit for. I’m glad that you also get joy from doing this too.

  9. Beryl in Owatonna

    I’m glad there are people like you!! We all have a gift, fostering would not be me though I love dogs.
    Thanks for what you do! You do it well.

  10. Years ago, my husband and I rescued a dog from a sad existence. He was the best dog we ever had. Somehow, he seemed to know we would love him and take care of him. Thanks for fostering!! It truly makes a difference.

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