Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Make a Difference - Foster an Animal in Need....by Lisa of OBXPuparazzi
Fostering an animal is a fantastic way to help special needs animals find their forever home. The process of fostering, which is usually done through a shelter or rescue organization, buys time for an adoptable animal that needs a little help becoming a better companion. Some dogs also need to be away from the stress of living with so many other animals at a shelter, and they are happier and more ready to meet their forever family outside of the hectic shelter environment.
I have fostered several animals over the years and have enjoyed having them in my home. I tend to work with special needs animals as we seem to have a good environment to assist them. In addition to our foster dogs, we have a very stable pack of our own dogs, which helps in working with dogs that are not used to people or have been mistreated by and fear people.
At one time, including fosters, we had nine dogs in the house - all lab mixes of some variety! My current pack consists of four dogs. Scamp is a white Labrador mix rescued at age 3 weeks with a broken leg. Five weeks later, we adopted her sister, Corky, a black lab mix who was in danger of being abandoned Dusty is my handsome red merle lab/Aussie mix adopted from my son - the Army told him he could only take one of his dogs to his new duty station! Finally, there is Occy, a lab/Husky mix who is all white, whose owner had health problems and could no longer keep her and her sister. Occy’s sister Xena passed away unexpectedly this summer.
Scamp is the “momma dog” who takes fosters under her wing and teaches them the rules of the house. She will show them how to use the dog door and how to sit for a treat! The other dogs let them see that behaving earns rewards, that they can trust people to be gentle, and how to play with toys.
Some of our foster dogs have needed some work on basic skills like asking to go outside when they need to go do business, others have needed to learn the basics of living indoors with people, and a couple have come from abusive homes, and have needed extra time to learn how to trust people again.
Missy was a memorable foster who had been abused. A kind-hearted person rescued her from the situation, but couldn’t keep her. Over the course of 6 weeks, she blossomed into a very playful girl. She found her forever family on the Outer Banks, where she lives with an active young couple and another dog to play with on the beach.
Mercy was a pit bull/Boston terrier mix who was thought to have been used as a bait dog for dog fighting. Once she settled in, her personality blossomed into a character with a sly sense of humor. If you told her to sit, she would - on the sofa! She liked to be busy, and she found a forever home to live out the remainder of her days with a family with a young son. True to her pit bull roots, she was a self-appointed “nanny dog” to the child and was happiest following him around, cleaning up the Cheerios he dropped. Sadly, she died 6 months later from complications from the treatment for heartworms.
If you would like to make a difference in an animal’s life, fostering is a way to make a big difference. If you have room in your home and heart to help, the best way to start is checking with your local shelter or rescue groups.