Here is my story on how I became a foster mom to a Basenji/P*t B*ll mix, just four days ago.
The Husband and I had been planning on moving to a new apartment for quite a while. A larger apartment, perfect for another animal. Thus the debate began on what kind of pet we were going to bring into our life. I was solidly team cat, not wanting to deal with another dog in the house just yet. The Husband was team dog, thinking that bringing another pooch into the house might alleviate some of Indiana's naughtier behavior. This debate began months ago.
|Indiana helped us pack.|
At the end of June, we moved into our new apartment. The animals quickly acclimated, and we started thinking about what kind of furry addition we wanted for our family. With vague plans to move out of state in the next few years swirling in my head, I still didn't want to commit to another dog. (We might have to move to a smaller apartment! What if there wasn't a dog park nearby?!)
And then it hit me; it was time to foster.
When I first moved to Colorado, I started looking at all the rescues for a dog to adopt. Denver seems to be a hub of LOTS of breed specific rescues. Pugs, Dachshunds, Boxers, Labs, Cockers, Basenjis, and Shibas. Think of a breed and you can pretty much find a rescue nearby Denver to adopt a new dog. (There is even a puppy rescue.) These rescues pull dogs out of the local shelters and provide them with an escape from the gas chamber and the opportunity for a new life. Even if you are not nearby, transportation can be arranged to bring a dog to a new area and waiting family. These rescues are pivotal in saving dogs from shelters, where they might end up put down.
Of course, I also need to mention the National Mill Dog rescue, which saves dogs from puppy mills, rehabilitates them and finds them great new homes.
A pivotal part of this process is the foster home. Rescues work with people in the area who have space and time to take care of a dog, but can't or don't want to adopt quite yet. These homes provide a loving environment for a dog that may require some training or rehabilitation or simply a place to land before finding his forever home.
And now I am one of those homes.
A week ago, I received an email from the Colorado Basenji Rescue (where we had adopted Indiana.)
Suzy needs a foster home. She is a year and a half female Basenji mix, friendly, loves people, ok with cats, ok with submissive dogs. Saved from euthanasia but still needs a place to land.
I immediately contacted the lovely woman in charge of the rescue and a few days later we brought Suzy home, to a set of stairs, which she would not climb. Suzy was afraid of stairs. And that was not the end of her list of quirks. Suzy has no leash experience, and her 24 pounds is a lot to handle. She has no manners training and her attention span is worse than Indiana. Plus, she isn't very food motivated. Suzy is over exuberant during play time. She and Indiana have to be watched over closely because Indiana does not like wrestling. She definitely can't be trusted with the cat quite yet.
Basically, fostering is something that shouldn't be agreed to lightly. I'm hoping to keep working with Suzy (who we have renamed Norah) and make her the perfect dog for a new family when she is ready. Until then, she is on a very strict schedule of crating, supervised in-the-apartment roaming, and walks and playtime every few hours. It has certainly affected my schedule and my sanity a little bit. But she deserves the chance. Every dog deserves a chance.
Fostering is not an option for everyone. But promoting adoptable animals and never buying dogs from pet stores is something everyone can help with! Donations are always helpful, and if you are short on funds, donate some hours by volunteering at a shelter or with a rescue. Rescues are constantly working to get the word out for their wonderful animals.
Make a difference in an animal's life. This story is about fostering, but there are so many ways to help.