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FosteringThe Joys of Fostering

Fostering dogs has been a joy for my husband and me – and for our dog Kirby! We have three cats who refuse to play with Kirby, although they’re gracious enough to tolerate him. So Kirby gets his fun and socializing from the parade of dogs and puppies that come in and out of our lives.

Many of these dogs are strays who were starving - let go by their families to fend for themselves. With no real reason to hope that humans would be kind to them again, but still forever hopeful that someone…perhaps a boy or girl who needs a best friend…will give them their forever home.

As much as I would love to adopt each and every one of them, we can’t. So we do the best next thing and open our home and hearts to these wonderful creatures who are so forgiving. We feed, love, and play with them. It’s not too much for them to ask for, is it? And yet, it’s more than many ever dreamed of having.

It’s a fantastic feeling when you see a dog who has been with you from just a couple of hours to several weeks finally get their forever home. We started with Little Man, Party, Fancy, and Jenny; Labrador siblings who were quickly adopted. Party we had for one night, and Fancy and Jenny for a few hours. Little Man, who I called Maxie, stayed with us for a few weeks. I loved him! He was such a good pup and I did shed a couple of tears when he got adopted. Bubbles, a bull mastiff mix, was the sweetest dog…and he was adopted the day we got him.

Two brothers, Crockett and Davy, were with us for a couple of weeks during the holidays. We had to send them back because they started going after the cats. Rex, a jack Russell, was also sent back, he had a thing for my black and white cat. Chasing her and trying to get her tail.

The Humane Society wants all of us to be comfortable with the animals we foster. If you are not, then they will find a different home for that dog or cat.

It’s amazing to me that these dogs and cats would even give us humans a second chance to get it right. Buster was a three legged dog. Lost his back leg to a mower, but he did do very well with just the three. Again, I cried when he was adopted. He jumped into his new owner’s car with real joy. It might be that he liked the two female dogs that he was going to be living with. Buster never looked back.

Little Rusty was missing his front leg. We think he was hit by a car. It took a little while for him to be comfortable with us. He was leery of people. Can you blame him? He was abandoned, left alone to fend for himself, with a bad leg. How can someone abandon their pet? Cats, dogs, birds and any other legal pet depend on their humans to take care of them; not to leave them to find their own food, shelter and love. Or to leave on the streets to get hit by a car or abused, because there is no one to stand up for them.

Our Kirby was left in a drain in the street starving, just a little pup. He was rescued and we are so lucky to have him!  
As I write this, Trudy, a five month old stray, is sitting next to me. She likes to be able to feel me; she needs that physical bonding. At night she sleeps in a crate in our bedroom. As long as she can see us she is happy. Roscoe is lying on the floor in front of me. He also needs to have to feel me. He tries to sit on my husband’s lap. I think he just wants my husband’s chair! I don’t know his entire story, but he is a quiet dog, just happy to be near us. He wants that human contact.

The love that goes through our home is fantastic. Knowing that we are helping animals who have been abandoned or abused is very meaningful to us. We are so lucky that we can foster; so lucky to discover the satisfaction of knowing that the animal you are taking care of is going to a wonderful forever home. Maybe it will be yours!

By Jo Anne Benware

Interested in fostering? Check out our Foster Pets Page for more information.