There are many ways of rescuing a dog. One would be to actually go to a shelter and pick a dog out. Then there is one step removed from that process - adopting from a rescue group. A rescue organization houses its pets a couple of different ways. One is they have a facility where the animals are housed and cared for until they are adopted. The other involves foster homes, and just like with children, these fosters open up their homes and hearts to these dogs. The later was the route we took in adopting our dog Oslo. We have been able to know Oslo almost from the day he was born; his mother was rescued while pregnant.
These great volunteers took in his mom, cared for her, helped her deliver and care for the pups. And while this rescue took one dog off the street, they had now one mom and all her puppies to care for and adopt out so none of them would ever end up on the street again. These volunteers spend countless hours caring for these dogs, as you would care for your own, loosing sleep and worrying about finding them the best home. I did not realize the extent of care and worry till we decided to foster.
I volunteered for the group that we adopted Oslo from and I was not going to foster at first. Our group has an email system set up that alerts volunteers of things needing done in the organization. This includes the dogs that are currently in area shelters. I had no idea how many there would be, week after week, face after pitiful face that needed help. So after saying I wouldn’t, I did; then off to the shelter to “pull” my first foster dog.
The shelter: I have always been an emotional person, so I have avoided these places that I deemed as sad so I wouldn’t turn into a giant bawl bag. I tucked emotions aside and went in; knowing that at least one of these dogs was coming out with a better life. After seeing all of them, row after row, cage after cage, I could realize how overwhelming it would be to come here to find your next furry love. But that is what I was there to do. I help out a breed specific rescue so I knew who I was after, they took me to a huge bouncing ball of energy and excitement, and I started thinking; are you truly crazy? You really know nothing about this dog that you are about to take home, have I let my heart talk me into something completely nuts?
He was laying down after we completed all the paperwork and didn’t even get up when I went in to put on the collar and leash I had brought with me. Here I am, about to take this 75-pound stranger home with me. He happily trotted out with me and loaded in the car like he had always been my dog.
The whole first night, as he slept in his kennel, I worried what had I done, how is he going to be with my dogs, does he like kids, is he potty trained, is he going to bark all night? I’m happy to say we made it thru that first night and all the others since.
His name is Hurley, a tribute to the character from J. J. Abrams hit show LOST, and he is a very good boy. It has been thru this experience that I have come to realize the great importance of foster homes. You open up your house to a furry stranger, they don’t know what to think of you and while you might be thinking your crazy, they are just as afraid.
A foster dog is like buying a car with a [Car Fax Report]. This dog has been living in someone’s home for weeks to months, they know all of their good points, and they know all of their flaws. When I walked out of the shelter with Hurley I didn’t even know what I was going to call him, let alone how we were going to get along. Adopting a dog from a foster home eliminates all of those fears for the next person.
He’s been test-driven. He’s had any repairs needed, he’s micro chipped and neutered, he’s put on weight if needed, and he has been loved. And unlike a shady car dealer, the foster home loves this dog; they want him to go to the best family and to be a successful match. You become truly vested in this dog.
While a potential adopter is thinking about all of the information on the “Dog Fax Report” and falls in love with a cute face, the foster parent and the rescue group are looking the adopters over like a dating service would. Are they right for this dog? How is he going to get along in their family? Are they willing to put in the work if needed? Will they love him forever? Like it or not, try as you may, you fall in love with these dogs, and they fall in love with you.
So whether you are adopting from a shelter or from a rescue group realize that people are on your side and looking out for the best interest of these dogs. Any method of saving a dog in wonderful, but if your nervous about introducing a strange dog into your house, know that you have options thru rescue groups. Your perfect match is out there, maybe even napping on someone’s couch till you find him or her that Forever Home.
Sarah - TrueDrool.com
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