Sometimes fostering turns into true love. Even when you least expect it. That’s what happened when Charles got to know Lucy.
This was your first time fostering. How did it come about?
I had worked at a previous shelter for 8+ years in the SF Bay area, before I moved to Oregon. I oriented at one large humane society to volunteer and then the COVID pandemic hit and the shelter was closed to volunteering. I had recently shifted to working from home and felt like it was a good time to foster a dog and help out our county’s animal care and control agency. They called me and let me know that they had the “perfect” dog for me and that’s how Lucy came to live with me.
What was your experience fostering a pet?
When I volunteered at a shelter in my prior community I felt that it was my role to help get dogs ready for adoption. This might be through socialization, leash training, working on reactivity or jumpiness, etc. I thought that my role as a foster would be similar—that I would provide Lucy with a quiet, loving home and work with her on her leash walking and social skills. Turns out she’s actually a perfect little dog and didn’t need anything besides me letting her know that she was the best dog in the world! She’s very confident and outgoing—loves to meet people and other dogs. She is very gentle and “chill” and just loves to be near me (but without being clingy or anxious). I knew that she was a dog who needed to be active, but I couldn’t have her off-leash as a foster. So I ordered a 75-foot leash so that we could go to a nearby field to chase tennis balls. She was so excited and now starts bouncing around if she sees me grabbing the backpack with the leash, balls, and water bottle.
What happened next in Lucy’s story?
I adopted her! She has been so good for me and is a wonderful companion. I went from doing 900 steps a day with the early shelter in place to doing 8,000 to 10,000 steps every day with her. I can only think of one negative, and it’s minor. She sometimes snores at night. It happened the first night she was with me and I forgot I had a dog. I heard snoring in my room at 2 AM and was about to reach for the phone when I looked over and saw her snoring away right next to me! She definitely makes me laugh at times.
What advice would you give to first-time foster pet parents?
I have worked with hundreds of dogs over the years as a shelter volunteer and the dogs have given me as much or more as I’ve given them. I really don’t think of being a hero when fostering. The dogs and I have a simple agreement—I love them and they love me. Be patient with your foster in the transition period to your home. They are coming from a noisy shelter and will need time to adjust. Let them determine the pace of getting to know each other, especially if they are anxious or scared.
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