Nov18 Dogs and Bitches

Many people ask us why we foster.  Our initial reason was a selfish one.  We've been thinking about getting a second dog but we're not sure what type of dog we want.  Fostering exposes us to various types in the hopes that we'd fall in love with one.  What we've come to realize, however, is that if we followed our hearts in selecting a dog, we would have foster failed many many times.  On this brief journey of just three months, we've been emotionally challenged by them in ways I didn't imagine.  We were only able to stand our grounds because we had each other and West.  So if you asked me now why we foster, it is because we just want to help out as much as we can.  Brushing aside our personal emotions with the belief that they are going to a better place, that makes our efforts worthwhile and our sacrifices become minuscule in comparison.

When Pepe first arrived, he came with one piece of paper that had little to no information.  No name.  No age.  Just a physical description of him.  He didn't have a collar or a crate.  Nobody at the shelter knew his history.  He was a dog without an identity.  He was eager to please with his puppy face and playful personality.  We named him Pepe, after Pepe Le Pew, because he was black and white and had a fluffy tail like a skunk.  Pepe spent 28 days with us.  Every time I looked into his eyes, I wished he could talk and tell me where he came from.  But staring back at me, he'd give me a kiss and I knew he was trying to tell me 'it doesn't matter where I'm from.  What matters is now and where I go'.  On the 28th day, we drove him to a family in Port Perry that fell in love with him right away.  Our car ride home was back to normal - Albert, West and I.  For the next three days, I cried every time I thought of him.  After Pepe, I told myself we need to keep doing this because there are many dogs like Pepe who needs to find a home.

Next came Ace, the gentle giant.  He only spent 6 days with us but I already fell in love with him on the first.  His clumsy oversized paws made him awkwardly cute.  He loves to cuddle on people's lap forgetting that he doesn't quite fit anymore.  When you get down to rub him, he'll rub you back and eventually push you over because he's so eager to get his head into your palms.  We've never had a big dog in the house so West's little water bowl had to be filled eight times a day to fulfil his quench.  And after every drink, his drool traveled with him onto the floors and the furniture.  Eventually, we raised our arms in surrender because it was his home too and drooling comes with the package.  Not everyone is perfect.

And with us now is Octavia.  Her story made me cry before I even met her.  They believe she lived on the streets for a while after escaping from a home that overbred her.  She was physically and mentally in bad shape.  One thing I've learned after being a dog owner, however, is that dogs forgive and forget very quickly.  So it is important that we forget and move on with them.  Each time I look at her face, I see a lady that has lived a complicated life and has experienced more than she should at her age.  Beneath that, I see a dog that has a big heart (literally) and wants to be a dog again.  She is slowly building her trust with humans.  She is learning how good it feels to be touched and held.  Her tail wags every time we step outside.  She enjoys her walks, no longer a chore but a pleasure.  She is finding peace sleeping fully sprawled out instead of being on guard all the time.  She is happy and we are taking little steps to getting her healthy again.

T.E.A.M Dog Rescue is comprised of a group of volunteers who take dogs out of shelters, place them in foster homes so they can get the care and training they need to make them adoptable again.  They screen every application that comes through to ensure our friend gets adopted to an appropriate home with suitable owners.  This post is not intended as a promotion for the organization but rather to share with you my family's experience with fostering.  Whether it is this organization or another, spread the love to our canine companions.  They will surely return the love ten fold.

Comment from Jackie
Nov 21 2014 12:48 am

Sandy this made me cry is a beautifully written blog on this amazing journey that you and Albert selflessly committed to... Each of these dogs and every future dog will leave a permanent pawprint on your heart. Thank you for being the first step to their freedom and future.