It was the face of a brown fluffy lhaso apso that showed up on my facebook news feed that led me to fostering dogs. My mom had been looking for a dog at the time and I thought she would fall in love with this guy if I could just foster him for awhile. TRAIN rescue was bringing him from a puppy mill, a long with several other dogs, and needed a temporary home for him until a permanent one could be found. This particular puppy mill breeder usually just destroys the dogs when he’ done using them. The vet tech had to euthanize seven fairly young dogs in one day. That takes a toll on a person. She eventually found people to network with. When I first saw Finn, even though I have 7 years of experience in the animal care field, I remember thinking, “I may have gotten in over my head.” He was not brown, he was a whitish/gray color. The brown was the from the dirt and filth he had been living in. That was after 3 baths. He still stunk, was a shaggy mess, and had urine stains all over his fur, and he was TERRIFIED. He wouldn’t look at me or anybody. I immediately brought him here to work and gave him a bath. Later that week our groomer Lori groomed him and oh my gosh, what a difference. TRAIN got him neutered, vetted, and a dental cleaning (his teeth were very worn from chewing on his kennel). As a foster you are just a loving temporary home. You are not responsible for the financial aspect of their care.
Finn had lived kenneled his whole life. He fell on grass because he didn’t understand how to walk on it and couldn’t take stairs. It was just very sad for 4 years of his life he never got to just be a dog. The first time I saw him run around and play was amazing. The first time he took stairs was a celebration. He was very sweet, but very terrified of people, but he loved dogs and other animals. I watched him blossom. I loved him, he trusted me. The first person he had ever trusted, and I didn’t know how I was going to be able to let him go. I had Finn for 3 months until a wonderful couple adopted him Halloween weekend 2015. I knew this family was perfect, but the thought of them walking away with him while Finn looked at me wondering where I am tore me up. And that final day they walked out with him, I sobbed. You can explain to an animal that you loved them, you’ll always love them, and these people will love them too. Like I said, I sobbed. I had intended for Finn to be for my mother but I knew with his issues he needed somebody more educated on how to care for his type. He got that, and I still get picture updates often.
My heart was broken. Fostering is hard. But eventually I took another, and I loved that one too. And now it’s a high for me. Saving lives and matching them with loving homes. It’s my passion. I am more involved with TRAIN now. I am in charge of the social media aspect, I mail out applications, answer questions. Finn turned into much more for me than a dog maybe for my mom.
I encourage people to consider fostering. It is extremely rewarding. It can hurt. But it hurts more knowing if we don’t help these babies they end up with their lives taken away. We can’t save them all. We want too, and we try. But it’s day by day one by one.
You can get more information about the rescue I work with and apply to foster by visiting facebook.com/TRAINteamrescuinganimalsinneed.