I know we have all heard that statement many times, but I did not realize just how true this statement was, and its impact, until I became a foster. Fostering was something I had been thinking about doing for quite some time, but being a mom to 3 young children, I had to wait for the right time. That time was the summer of 2016, and I happened upon a picture of a scruffy, 8-year-old wire-haired dachshund that was quickly running out of time at the shelter. His family had moved and decided he was not important enough to take along. He was also having a skin reaction to fleas, so he was missing a lot of hair. Combine the skin issue and his age, and he was getting passed up at the shelter every day. My family and I had a discussion that day, of what it meant to foster, and what we would be doing for this dog, and we all agreed that we were on board to help. Tazz came to us a few days later…the day before he was to be euthanized. This was when I truly realized the impact of the statement “Fostering saves lives.” Tazz was alive because we took him in with the support of 4Life. Tazz started soaking up the love from day 1, and he gave back just as much. He bonded quickly with my kids and enjoyed playing with our dog.
I have a distinct memory (and photo) of the first day Tazz was with us. My husband was holding him, and he just looked so relieved; like he knew exactly what had just happened. Looking in his adorable eyes…it was like looking into his soul, and he knew he was safe.
Lots of love, good food, and some good old coconut oil on his skin, and he was as beautiful on the outside as he was on the inside. Tazz was with us for a couple of months before he was adopted. He went to a wonderful home that was looking just for him. There is no better feeling than to see these dogs, who almost missed their chance, find amazing, loving, forever homes. THIS is why my family fosters.
Our second foster came to us just a few weeks after Tazz was adopted. Sadie was a 4-month-old puppy who had never been out of a crate (ever) or known human contact. She was scared and had no idea what was going on. It didn’t take her long to realize how much fun was to be had in our house! She was adorable, spunky, and LOVED playing with our dog…talk about endless entertainment! My family and I would sit and watch the two of them play…lots of laughter! Sadie was fortunate enough to be adopted with her brother, who was being fostered by someone else. YAY! Another happy ending!
I could go on and on about all the different dogs we have fostered: Tazz, Sadie, Baby, Princess Buttercup, and Candy. Although very different dogs, they all had similar stories. Neglected and let down by the very humans they trusted to love them and take care of them. As a foster, you have a very important job of showing these dogs that they are worthy of love, kindness, a gentle hand, and that humans can still be trusted. Dogs that are taken into homes as a foster have a MUCH higher success rate of being permanently adopted. Instead of sitting behind the bars of a cage in a loud and scary place, they are cared for and loved in a home, which allows their true personalities to shine.
I often get asked how I let go of all these dogs that I love so much, it’s simple: there are more dogs to save.
My family and I have loved each and every dog that has come through our home. It has been an amazing experience for my kids. They have learned so much about what fostering means, and why we do it. I love listening to them tell their friends about their foster dog, and explain how to properly handle them. This past year-and-a-half has been an extremely rewarding experience for my family, and we plan to continue to foster. Why? Because fostering saves lives.
- Meghan D. - Volunteer/Foster Parent