Want to help out a dog, but not ready for adoption? Try being a foster family for a dog in need!
by BAR Volunteer Simone Jennings
I know, “I don’t think I could give up a foster dog,” comes straight to mind. You are too sensitive and get attached too quickly that it would be heart wrenching to give up a dog you have learned to love.
Well, let me tell you, if you weren’t a compassionate person and didn’t love dogs, especially boxers, then you wouldn’t make a good foster home. We want those that LOVE boxers, that become attached and make a connection with these dogs, to become foster homes. Your love and compassion and tears of joy as well as sadness is what it takes to make this rescue work. (more...)
Boxers need lots of love and affection in order to strive, and in some cases learn to trust and love again after what they may or may not have been through. A place to call “home” without that, isn’t a “home” after all. A foster home has that very important and very rewarding duty of bringing a broken soul back to life and preparing them for a new beginning. Think of it as with children. Those children without loving foster homes don’t get the one on one attention they need in a orphanage (much like a shelter with dogs) and may not strive as those that do in foster homes. Or think of it as the new kid on the block attending his or her first day of school, frightened and unsure. Yet if they have a friend or someone they know they can trust beside them, they have the courage to go on day to day. Dogs in my eyes are the same way. They need trusting and loving individuals by their side to carry them through the trials of a new life without their previous owners or lifestyle. They need to make a fresh start, but they can’t do it on their own or with someone that doesn’t care for them the way we do our own dogs. Love gets us through it all, like the song by Martina McBride goes, “Love is the only house big enough for all the pain in the world.” The sorrow you may feel when that dog leaves, will be showered over with the joy of what you have accomplished as a foster home. The happiness the new family has with their new family member and your foster dog knowing he or she has their very own special place at last, will overwhelm your tears of sadness.
To tell you a little about myself, I first started in the rescue of animals several years back, first volunteering for a local animal shelter, helping out with the dogs primarily, but also helping out with the cats and wildlife from time to time. But my love was dearly for the dogs, and my favorite breed was the boxer, since I grew up with the breed. When I first got started, I had 2 male boxers and soon afterwards had a third. Then, after 2 years at the shelter, I realized my overwhelming love for boxers and my desire to spend more time with my own, than at the shelter, leaving them at home. So I researched boxer rescues in my area. I had found several through the internet, and soon became attached to them on a weekly basis checking their updates, etc. I came across a female boxer that needed a home but had medical issues. From there I saw more and more dogs that needed homes. So my husband and I then had the idea of adopting another dog that needed us, because I too had thought, I could never foster and give up a dog. Well after several conversations with different members of rescue, I decided to give fostering a shot, and within 2 weeks I had my first foster, miss Nairobi, a sweet, and adorable white energizer bunny as I always called her. She came from a loving family that just couldn’t keep her and give her the attention she so desperately needed. As you may know, boxers are a very energetic breed and require lots of human attention, which is why people give them up and why they do not do well in shelters.
Anyway, from there we continued to foster one after another. Was it difficult to give them up? Of course it was. I had brought in a dog that had suffered from one way or another, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally, and watched the dog change from a frightened or insecure soul to a very happy and exuberant boxer. One that was near starvation, to a healthy and beautiful boxer baby, or a shy, non-active pup to the most playful and responsive dog you can imagine. With that, I had given them my love, my patience and my attention. Sure, I fell in love with some of them. But I also had dogs, I was eager to find a home for, (although I never pushed them out to an environment they would not excel in), and when they did go, I celebrated with a sigh of relief and a night out with my own boys to McDonalds or something. Then there were the ones, I cried for when they left with their new families, as happy as can be. But that happiness, especially after reading their updates of how wonderful they are doing and how much they are loved, that makes it all worth while. What good would I be if I kept every dog? I can only have so many and actually be able to care for them the way they deserve, and keeping them all would eventually cause me to stop fostering all together, preventing me from helping more boxer babies that need me. The three precious babies of my own where enough to fill the void. And before I knew it, I had another one, that needed me more than the previous one. I got a new dog and a new soul to work with every now and then. Yes, it takes strength to get through it, but as time goes on it gets easier and more rewarding because you see the change you have made in so many. And I’m not just talking about the dogs but the people that adopted them. Think of your best four-legged friend right now (which is probably sitting or laying by your feet as you read this) and how much you love him/her. And whether you bought or adopted them is not the issue, but think of the people that were involved in bringing them to you. Could you imagine life without them right now? Probably, not. Well what if that person that helped bring you two together, didn’t. Would you still have this dog? Probably not. For those that did adopt, know exactly what I mean. My husband and I adopted our first boxer (as adults on our own) just weeks before our wedding, when we found out he was going to be put to sleep New Years Eve. The thought of a boxer boy dying because no one wanted him, made me sad. So to say the least, we got him on December 27, 1993. Come to find out, he should have been put down weeks before, but the dog warden couldn’t do it and because he wasn’t full, he was able to hang onto him time and time again. He would have taken him home himself but already had 3 dogs, and his wife absolutely refused. He didn’t know about rescue groups or didn’t care, but all I know is that he ultimately saved Samson’s life and enriched ours. And if it weren’t for him opening his heart and holding on for as long as he could, I would not have had the pleasure of knowing and sharing my life with such an awesome dog. Unfortunately he has made his trip to the bridge prematurely in June of 2001, but for those 8 years we nearly had him, were the best years spent. So think of your friend beside you and think of those foster homes that make it possible for sooooo many people to find those best friends they have been searching for. If there weren’t any foster homes available for these dogs to go to, then there would be no rescue, and ultimately, as cruel as it may sound, no future for that dog. Due to the overwhelming numbers of unwanted dogs in shelters today, hundreds are PTS each and every day, no mater what breed or what age. They are just considered a statistic. How sad is that? And to be honest, that is what has kept me and many other foster homes going. Because if we didn’t, your next best friend or our own next best friend would not exist. Sure there are plenty out there that we would fall for, but that very, very special one may just be the one waiting in the shelter, outside in the cold and damp weather, or locked up in a crate, waiting for a foster home to become available for them to go to. Wouldn’t you love to help that little one get to their ultimate destiny? A home where they will be loved, spoiled and cared for as you do yours? If so then you know what rescue is all about and are ready to take that step into the wonderful world of fostering. And trust me when I say “you’ll never regret it.”
Find more helpful information here:General Information