If you have even talked to me for more than five minutes, I’ve probably brought up dogs in some way or another. I am definitely the type of person to interrupt a conversation to point out a dog walking by, or see a puppy video come up on my Facebook feed and definitely start crying.
Last October, my 12-year-old cocker spaniel passed away. When I came home from school for the summer, I found the house eerily quiet without a dog. The idea struck me to begin fostering dogs. I found a local shelter called Unleashed Pet Rescue, which is based in Kansas City, KS. After talking to my parents about it, I went to a fostering class as soon as I could.
The next day, I drove to the shelter, and they asked me to go to the Animal Control facility to pick up a puppy from there. I got to the Animal Control facility and asked for the puppy. In a few minutes, they brought out the skinniest, most afraid little animal I’ve ever seen in my life. They told me she had gotten out of her spaying surgery an hour ago, and had not eaten since yesterday morning. My heart shattered from looking at this poor baby, a 4-month-old lab-Pitbull mix. I filled out some paperwork, and took her home, where I gave her a bath, being extremely careful of her visible ribs, bloody ears, and surgery scar. Within hours of being fed, bathed, and loved on, she became more active and less terrified.
I ended up keeping this puppy, Juno, for a month before she found a home. I walked her every day, and made sure she was getting housebroken and more well behaved. The big, loving, sweet puppy that finally found the perfect home looked almost nothing like the timid, malnourished, neglected dog that I had picked up from Animal Control 4 weeks earlier.
If you have the means, I definitely would highly recommend fostering. Seeing all of my pups change from skinny and scared to healthy and sweet, and eventually sending them off to their forever homes, was so incredibly powerful. Fostering gives you privilege of caring for your own puppy without the long-term commitment of adopting, and saves the dogs from spending time in a shelter (where she would be more susceptible to illness and have less opportunities for socialization) before they found forever homes.
People neglecting to neuter or spay their pets, plus the inhumanity of pet stores using puppy mills means that shelters are often overcrowded and underfunded. Fostering provides solutions to these issues. Reach out to your local shelter to volunteer or even begin fostering your own pup to help out!
If you’re looking to officially adopt, always remember to check out your animal shelter instead of buying from pet stores or breeders! Instead of supporting pet stores which often use puppy mills for their dogs, you’ll be sure to find a new best pal at a shelter, and you can rescue them from a life of uncertainty in your loving home.