Monday, July 1, 2013

Freedom Foster Drive: Interview with Teresa Butler, OBG President

We're very excited to share our first foster interview with OBG President, Teresa Butler.  We hope these interviews will help you consider becoming a foster.  If you have any questions, please contact Teresa at or click here to reach our fosters coordinators.

How long have you been fostering for OBG?

12 years! My husband and I have lost count of how many dogs we have fostered, but I know that the total is over 300 dogs.

What is your favorite part of fostering and why?

Fostering touches my heart in ways that other volunteer positions in OBG cannot begin to do. To me, fostering is the heart and soul of rescue. When I bring a dog into my home to foster, I am blessed to be able to experience firsthand the pleasure of knowing that I had a direct impact on saving that dog’s life and I am able to help to see that dog blossom as he/she learns what it is like to be taken care of and loved. That is incredibly rewarding.

When it is time to place your foster dog, how can you stand to give the dog to someone else?

Good question! I was thinking about fostering for many months before I took the plunge. My family and friends all told me repeatedly that they did not believe that I would ever be able to foster a dog, then adopt the dog out. To say that they were not encouraging me to foster would be an understatement – LOL. Then another foster parent gave me the best piece of fostering advice I have ever received. She told me that instead of focusing on giving up the dog that I’m fostering, I should focus on the fact that by placing this dog, I could save another life. I still do that today and I always find that the best cure for a broken heart after placing a foster dog is to bring another foster dog in as quickly as possible. Pretty soon I am so busy with the new foster dog and enjoying the new dog so much, that I don’t have time to grieve over the dog I’ve placed.

The 2nd best piece of advice that volunteer gave to me had to do with my children who were in grade school at the time. I was worried about how they would handle becoming attached to a foster dog, then having to give the dog up. This volunteer told me that she made it a game with her daughter to try and guess what the next dog would be like so that they would always look ahead with anticipation instead of looking behind with sadness. I did that with my children and guessing what our next foster dog would be like soon became one of their favorite games!

What is your favorite foster story?

Wow, I don’t know how I can possibly pick a favorite story. There are so many! I’m going to share a story about one of my most recent foster dogs, Bonz. This 5 year old dog is a natural comedian. Every time I would get on the treadmill, he would jump on behind me and walk along with me until I would make him get off (I didn’t want him hurt when I would pick up the pace!). Then when I would take a shower after working out, he would jump into the shower as soon as I turned on the water and stand under the water. I guess he wanted to be just like me and have his workout and a shower!

What tips can you share?

I’ve been fostering for so long that I could probably write a book filled with tips. Just remember that it takes a week or so for a foster dog to settle into a new home. If a dog isn’t housebroken and you want some tips for housetraining, we can provide those tips (we can also provide a crate which helps with housetraining). We can provide other training tips as well. Most importantly, have patience and a sense of humor and everything else will fall into place. 

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