Last night my fortune cookie read: “Big journeys begin with a single step.” This got me thinking.
Four years ago I took a small step that has led to an incredible journey; I brought home my first foster dog for Pet Rescue By Judy in Orlando, FL. She was a skinny little Walker Hound mix named Ella. Ella was only about a year old and had already had puppies. No one knew where the puppies were. Ella and a van load of other hounds had just been rescued from a high kill shelter in Georgia. Little did I know that this small step of bringing home a hound was the beginning of the most rewarding experience I have been involved in. I fostered Ella for six months before she was adopted by the most adorable empty-nesters in Miami. In my two years in Orlando, I fostered more than 20 dogs – hounds, boxers, labs, and every other kind of mix you could think of. Even though my friends and neighbors thought I was a crazy dog lady, I am officially hooked on fostering dogs! As long as I am capable of doing so, I will continue to foster an animal in need.
The general reaction when you talk about fostering is, “Oh I couldn’t do it. I would get too attached and couldn’t let them go.” I will be the first to say that it can be tough to see them leave. However, the reward of giving these animals a chance to heal, socialize, trust, and learn to be a happy dog again far outweighs any temporary emotional struggles that we go through in the process. Going back to my fortune cookie- the small step of getting into a foster home is the beginning of a whole new life for an animal. I read an article in Bark Magazine that said, “After all, we do dogs a serious disservice if we love them so much we cannot bear to help save them.” Fostering saves lives. Fostering is a lot like giving blood — there is a little discomfort involved, but this quickly fades and by the time it is over you have saved a life. Incredible!
Fostering an animal is one of the greatest gifts that we can give them. There is nothing better than the look in your foster dog’s eyes when their new family gathers around and hugs them for the first time. Pull out the Kleenex, folks!
Rescue organizations all over the country are in dire need of foster homes. Did you know these organizations typically pay all costs involved (food, vet bills, flea/tick and heartworm prevention, etc)? In order to foster, all you need is a willingness to nurture and be a temporary safe haven for an animal in need. Based in Nashville, Agape Animal Rescue has created an amazing Foster Parent Seminar to teach you everything you need to know. Agape works hard to always match the right foster animal with the correct home and family. Agape is just one of many rescues in our area that survives off a network of foster families. Nashville Paw Magazine has compiled a great Directory of Shelter and Rescue Groups to consider working with.
I urge you to find a rescue in your community and consider fostering. It is a big commitment but with even bigger rewards! Let the journey begin.
Oh! And don’t forget to send in your submission for our session giveaway! We want to hear your dog stories.
Cassie is the studio manager for Adrian Hitt Photography. She keeps things running smoothly behind the scenes and frequents the blog often with her tips on what’s going on in the dog world. In addition to her work here, Cassie freelances in the local music scene, volunteers with animal rescues and enjoys being outside with her pups. She lives in Nashville and is the proud parent of Jeffery, Ittey and Banjo – two rescue dogs and one awesome orange cat!