There will be no adoption event on Saturday, April 19th. Enjoy your Easter Weekend!
While Ellen is on vacation visiting my high school classmates (her daughter and son in law), I'll share my most recent musings. Regarding my busy schedule and my fostering, I have heard, so many times, “I don’t know how you do it!” I’ll let you in on a little secret: I am not alone. Like many in the rescue world, I race against time to find solutions to the impossible. My recent foster dog, Duke, is a perfect example of how a life and death challenge can be solved by many people pulling together.
First, you have the advocates-those who take a stand for welfare and communication. After Duke and Callie’s owner died, a neighbor stepped up to feed and water the dogs. He reached out to rescue groups in hopes of saving them from having to go to a shelter. A ten year old lab with severe allergies and an 8 year old Dane with severe separation anxiety issues would not have made it out of most shelters. I forwarded emails and followed up with our primary contact to see how much time we had and if the dogs still had a need.
Secondly, you have the transporters. The rescue organization who contacted ours had no foster space, but was able to drive Duke and Callie to meet me partway. Transportation caravans come in many shapes and sizes, and are a vital link in saving lives with only a few hours’ commitment. It’s heartening to meet likeminded dog lovers from all over, if only for 10 minutes in a lifetime.
Third, we had to find short-term foster homes. Both Duke and Callie needed a place to go, but St. Louis Senior Dog Project had no foster homes available before the neighbor had to leave town for business. Space in my home and hopefully, in another, would be available soon, so two close friends stepped up to foster the dogs for a week. We pieced together Callie's second and third homes as she was in her first. Some people cringe at dogs being “bounced around”, but Callie and Duke will take belly rubs from anyone. When the alternative is death, a bit of bouncing is just fine, especially if they can sleep in the bed.
Fourth, oh, my, I couldn’t help any dog without the backing of a rescue like St. Louis Senior Dog Project! Ellen’s grant writing, fundraising, advertising, and networking must be a full time job. I think she must have a twin in her basement. I’d only be able to save a dog every few years with my own finances, but St. Louis Senior Dog Project places nearly 500.
Fifth, I am able to keep up the pace due to those on the sidelines; the non-rescue folk. I’ll tell you another secret: I love dogs, but I get saddened by cruelty, discouraged when another need presents itself, and sometimes do not want to clean up any more nervous urine puddles. More than one foster parent has quit to live a normal life, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But, then…a foster dog enters a therapy dog program…a previous adopter gives you a happy ending update a year later…a neighbor’s child asks for supply donations instead of gifts for the most heartfelt thank you ever. Encouragement, happy endings, updates, and transformations, keep the fires burning.
Lastly, the eyes of the dogs keep me from quitting. Seeing beautiful dogs matched with doting families eases the feeling of loss when they are adopted. But, there’s always another one for whom I’m trying to find space; another who can only be helped by the network. What a wonderful web of hair-covered loving people.
Terri Montgomery and the pack