Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Freedom Foster Drive - 2013

As we close out our Freedom Foster Drive 2013, we want to welcome our new fosters and encourage those still thinking about it to give it try.  We also want to send a big thank you to OBG fosters for the countless hours and energy they devote to the pups as they prepare them for their forever families.  It is truly a very special thing to open your home and your heart to an animal who may be sick or suffering and/or who had no where to go.

Today we share a interview with Sarah C who had a special fostering experience with one of OBG's favorite little girls, Macy.  

If you have any questions, click here to reach our foster coordinators. If you would like to apply to be a foster, click here for the application.  We look forward to hearing from you!

How long have you been fostering for OBG?
Some people can foster all of the time. Some people can never foster. But a lot of people are like me: we can foster some of the time. I will never have stories of dozens of foster dogs coming & going. What I do bring to the table is a love of dogs and a belief in rescue. I know that fostering is such an integral part of helping dogs find their forever homes, and so when I can, I like to help a dog who is on this journey.

What is your favorite part of fostering and why?
Of course, I love dogs, so I love to have another one in the house! But when I think about my favorite part of fostering, I actually think about my own dogs. They came to us as a bonded pair, after having been abandoned by their first family. I think about how scared they must have been, and I think about the kind woman who fostered them. I try not to imagine what could have happened to my dogs if she had not given them a safe place to rest until we met them.

So my favorite part of fostering is knowing that I am helping a lost dog to realize that it is never too late to let go of the past, to give & receive love, and to find a forever home.

When it is time to place your foster dog, how can you stand to give the dog to someone else?
Before I started fostering, I always assumed that I would be a "failure" if we ever tried it (meaning that I would always insist that we keep the dog!). I was surprised to find that two reasons really make it possible for me to give the dog to someone else: (1) the forever family is always so excited to adopt the dog, and we always make sure it is a great match; and (2) although my own dogs are happily content to add a friend to the house for a visit, they really are happiest as a pair. We all love being a stop on a dog's journey!

What is your favorite foster story?
Macy was blind & in a lot of pain when she arrived to OBG. I had never met a blind dog in my life, nevertheless taken care of one, but there I was bringing her home. As it turned out, Macy was easier to take care of than my two dogs who can see!

But Macy did more for me than she will ever know. I had recently experienced a loss, and some people might think — oh, that's a terrible time to foster. But there are times in life that we have a lot of extra love to share, even if we do not understand it. What I learned is that helping a homeless dog on the journey home can help us to heal our own grief.

I adored Macy and always will (my friends still ask after her, she was such a big hit at our house), but in my heart, I knew that she had a forever home waiting for her. There were no tears when Macy found her family, only happy smiles. I am honored to know her and am so thrilled that she is living such a wonderful life.

What tips can you share?
Don't be scared! OBG has a terrific foster program. I have fostered with other groups, and I can say with confidence that OBG provides a tremendous amount of foster support. I am certainly not an expert, but a few practical tips that were shared with me:
  • My dogs are shy seniors, so I always introduce a visiting dog to them in our backyard, where everyone can have their space and not feel threatened.
  • I always keep my foster on lead in the house at first. It makes everyone feel more comfortable, and I learn a lot about the dog because of the proximity.
  • Paying attention to the energy level of the foster can help avoid a host of problems.  Fellow OBG volunteer Jen K. taught me early on that more exercise is often the answer!
  • Do not be afraid of a dog who seems to have "special needs." A challenge for someone else might be no problem for you & your schedule.
A little secret about me: we do not actually have any cocker spaniels of our own. My husband grew up with cockers, and we have a special place in our heart for them, but our two dogs are beagles. In other words, you do not have to be an OBG adopter to foster for OBG. OBG does a great job matching fosters with dogs that fit their situation.

If you can, please consider fostering, even just on occasion. You might have more time & love to give than you realize. Helping an animal truly gives special meaning to any day!

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