Have you heard of animal rescues?
There is a local animal rescue in my town called Ruff Start Rescue. It’s run by a young woman with a heart as big and radiant as the sun. Since starting the rescue in 2010, they have grown to over 600 volunteers and have saved over 5,500 animals. I do my best to volunteer when I can, although it is not nearly as often as I wish I could. So, I donate dollars and I foster animals in need, as often as possible.
I love our local rescue because they are not like other shelters or rescues. Ruff Start Rescue sets dogs and cats up for success in a home-based atmosphere by asking volunteers to foster them in their homes as part of their family. This allows the animals to learn manners, be potty trained and get vetting needed; while giving the animal the opportunity to be loved by the family that hosts them.
I have learned so much from the dogs I have helped find forever homes for. Some of them broke my heart. Yes, I cried and wished them well on their journey into their new lives. It was all worth it though; all the tears, all the messes, vet visits, laughs, cuddles, slobbers and love. All worth it!
We have had such great, heart opening experiences, that I just had to share the top five reasons you should foster too! The number one question/statement I get from friends when they find out I foster is: “I don’t think I could foster because I would fall in love and it would be hard to let them go. How do you do it?” Here is what I tell them.
1. “You” get to choose the right family – Ruff Start Rescue lets you, the foster, pick the best family for your foster animal. They trust, that since you have been loving and caring for the animal, that you will know what kind of atmosphere it will thrive best in. If you don’t think the dog will do well with little kids, then the dog does not go to a family with little kids. The point of the rescue is to give the animal its best chance for success and not to put it in a situation destined for failure. You get to go through the adoption applications and interview the families. It it’s much safer for the animal then just allowing anyone to pick and purchase them from a website.
2. You will fall in love – The truth is, as a foster family, we do fall head over heals in love. That’s the point! To show love, compassion and consistency to the dog/cat that may have never been loved before. This is a soulful connection that doesn’t just make emotional growth and stability possible for the animal, it helps you too! To love another living being enough to let them go to a forever family where they belong, is selfless. Helping them find their forever family is much like raising your kids to be prepared for the world. It’s the right thing to do and so rewarding to see them happy and healthy; living their best life.
3. Be fully prepared for the possibility of a foster failure – Foster Failure happens when you foster and end up falling in love with an animal that just fits your family. Then you decide to adopt the animal yourself. I have done this twice. The most recent foster failure was our dog Hank, who was found as a stray. He was held in impound and his time was up. I saw his face and plea for help and I just knew we had to help him. He was almost like a wild animal when we got him home, he needed lots of training and love.
4. It’s hard but worth it – We even had to do a couple weeks of shutdown acclimation before Hank got to meet my resident dog Gus. Hank got to sleep, eat and just decompress in my daughter’s bedroom until he got comfortable and relaxed with his new living situation. It took him a couple weeks, but I believe allowing him this time to feel safe, made all the difference when we introduced him to our family dog. It was hard keeping everyone separated at first, but we were dedicated to Hank’s success. Hank has paid us back for not giving up on him with love and loyalty and he is a wonderful addition to our family!
Hank after adoption
5. Letting go – I like to think dogs are like people, although I love them all, some are easier to get along with then others! So, this means some are easier to let go then others! There was a little dog named Rosie, we fostered several years ago, who had contracted Parvo. Parvo is a disease that kills puppies. This little stinker beat Parvo but the battle was scary and heartbreaking.
There were sleepless nights and a whole week where all we did was just cuddle her, while praying she would live. We had to hydrate her by injecting fluids subcutaneously, which it hurt her to do so. Listening to her cry, while we tried our best to keep her alive, was just as hard as letting her go to another foster family.
We nursed Rosie through Parvo and our resident dogs helped to potty train her and teach her manners, while we loved her very much. She was the coolest little dog I have ever known. But, one day out of the blue, we had to let her go to another foster family on very short notice. One of my dogs, Penny, started to get aggressive towards my other big dogs while playing catch. We felt that it was just not safe anymore for little Rosie, in a house of big dogs that just became unpredictable.
So we called the rescue. They came and got Rosie immediately, because they are dedicated to keeping their foster dogs safe and healthy. It was hard for me to love Rosie for so long, only to have her gone in a flash because of my own pack. It was the best thing to do for Rosie, but it was hard on all of us.
It is true that not every story ends on a happy note, but most of them do! Rosie found an amazing family soon after leaving our home. We have had foster dogs who’ve had Cancer, Parvo, broken limbs, worms, and broken spirits but have gone on to live great lives. The rescue we work with understands that life and animals can be unpredictable and have helped me through many situations throughout the years. I think of the starfish story when I think of fostering animals. You may not be able to help all that need rescuing, but you can help one at a time, and that is better than none.
If you have the time, energy and enough love to share; I recommend you try fostering too. It is such a wonderful experience that I keep going back when our family has the time to dedicate to a rescue animal. I keep going back to Ruff Start Rescue because they have always been there to help me when I need them. They are local hero’s in my mind and this is a cause and crew I love to support. Maybe you would consider opening your home and heart to a furry friend in need.
Please donate if you can to a wonderful and deserving organization! http://www.ruffstartrescue.com
Wishing you an abundance of blessings and love,
Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister