Fostering has been on my mind for a long time now. It is something that is near and dear to my heart and I love sharing foster stories. Amy Dietrich is a dog lover and writer at woofster.net. Amy reached out to me and wanted to share a little about her experiences with fostering.
Fostering Dogs May Be The Purpose You’ve Been Looking For
I spend a lot of time in dog-related Facebook groups. The members’ passion for their pups are off the charts. Their hearts are big for their dogs, treating them like children. These are generally warm-hearted people who want to do good things in the world.
My husband and I rescue and foster Schnauzers. It’s a cause I am especially proud of. So, naturally, I bring up topics around fostering. A Facebook group member responded, “I’m not sure I would bring enough value to a foster dog.”
That response has really stuck with me. I believe people don’t know how much they can do with very little effort. These foster dogs just need to see what you do every day with your current dogs. Sometimes they desperately need to be socialized.
Here’s a story about Buddy.
We were asked to foster Buddy, a six year old Schnauzer who was rescued from a puppy mill in Ohio. He had some owners lined up, but they were not ready for him. So, we offered to work with him for a few weeks.
Buddy had a terrible life. He didn’t know how to use stairs. He never was touched by a human except when he was required for breeding. He was fed terribly. His hair was a tangled mess. He didn’t know what to do with dog toys.
When we got him, he stayed far away from us. He would study us from a distance. Initially, he never let us get more than 20 feet to him. But as a few days passed, that gap would close to 19 feet. Then 18 feet. By the time our time was up with him, he was at 10 feet. That’s amazing progress for a lifetime of neglect.
Buddy watched intently. He watched our other dogs play with toys. He watched them take treats. He didn’t participate in the activities, but he was learning. We did a lot to let him feel security, allowing him to always have his crate as his safe space. Before Buddy moved on, we actually caught him playing with a toy one time. And caught him playing with our youngest Schnauzer, Mollie. He doesn’t know we saw that, but we did. And we felt a lot of pride helping Buddy become the dog he should have been.
In the end, when I think about the effort I put in, it really wasn’t out of the ordinary. I was essentially just bringing him into a universe that was already established. I treated him like another family member. The pride I felt was extraordinary. Even though I knew Buddy wasn’t going to be a permanent member, I can take pride in my addition to Buddy’s life. He may forget me, but I won’t forget him.
One of the biggest reasons I hear from dog lovers is that they don’t want to have to give away something they become attached to. I can’t sugar coat it. It’s a sad day when you have to part with your foster, but it’s really a unique feeling. Yes, there’s sadness, but there’s more pride in knowing you were a hero to a beautiful creature. So the day may not hurt as bad as you think it might.
I hope I gave you something to think about. If you’re interested in fostering, a Google search should help you find your local program or fostering group. If you want to add a bit more value to your life, please consider adding to the lives of these wonderful animals.