People ask me all the time how I can bring dogs into my home, get to know and love them, and have to give them up again. In return, I ask them how they can look at a cat or dog in need and walk away, knowing they could mean the difference between life and death for that animal.
People tell me all the time that they could never foster because they are too busy with their own lives or their own pets. In return, I tell them that I gladly devote an extra hour or two a day to bring joy and love to animals who quite possibly have never experienced the love of a caring human being.
People stop me all the time and want to hear the story behind the latest temporary resident in my home. In return, I stop and share the unique story of each furry friend who needs my help this day, this week, this month. I am an ambassador of sorts who brings home the stories of abuse, neglect, ignorance, and irresponsibility.
I just finished page 30 in my fostering scrapbook with the successful adoption of my 30th foster dog. As I look back through the pages, I remember the sleepless nights listening to a barking dog who was scared the first night in my home, but who learned to trust and cherish the rhythm of living with a family. I recall many sessions of vaporizing dogs with pneumonia, every one of them looking at me with love and thanks in their eyes because they seem to understand that I am helping. I laugh at the memories of ice packing wounded dogs with bags of frozen vegetables from the freezer. I smile and remember all the dogs who left my home knowing how to walk on a leash, sit for a treat, trust children, enjoy a car ride, and simply relax on a dog bed. Each moment is an opportunity to remember that life is nothing if you can’t find ways to give back and make a difference.
Opening my heart and my home to one dog at a time seems like saving one grain of sand when there is endless miles of beach. The truth is, the foster dogs are the ones who really need me, the ones who cannot hang on another minute under the stress and loneliness of kennel life. This is the best way I know to be a safe haven for that special dog who will hopefully find that special family he so deserves.