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Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Karen is a beloved member of our foster team who has opened her home to multiple ALIVE dogs. Whether they have short or long stays in her home, she helps these animals feel safe and develop the confidence they need to help get them adopted.

Read Karen's story, below…

"I began fostering a little more than three years ago. My own dog, Bob, is a rescue who would have been euthanized had it not been for his foster mom opening her home to him. I am so grateful for that and decided that I wanted to be a part of forever stories for other dogs.

My very first foster with ALIVE was Oates, a darling chocolate Chihuahua with bat-like ears. Even though Oates was only with me for three weeks (my shortest foster to date!), we bonded very quickly. The resilience and trust inherent in dogs always amazes me. No matter what circumstances they come from, they are willing to trust and love. It is very humbling to have that love and trust placed in you.

My current foster, Gidget, has had a tough road. A tiny chiweenie, ALIVE rescued Gidget from the streets of Memphis. She was homeless and pregnant. In her first three weeks with me, she was diagnosed with ringworm, gave birth to six puppies, lost one of her puppies at 3 days old, almost died from eclampsia and had to be separated from her pups permanently due to the risk nursing them posed to her health.

In spite of all that difficulty, Gidget is the sweetest, happiest, most loving tiny mama. Her journey has been harder than most, and ALIVE has been there every step of the way, never hesitating to give her the medical treatment she needs.

Each foster is unique and rewarding. One of my most memorable fosters was Goat, a scruffy little terrier mix. When I picked Goat up from her spay appointment, the vet tech cautioned me that she was very vocal and difficult to handle. It soon became clear that Goat was essentially feral. She didn't know how to live outside her crate and everything was a new experience for her: stairs, furniture, toys and leash walks.

Goat is a good example of having a confident resident dog showing a foster the way. I was having a difficult time housebreaking Goat. It finally clicked for her when I took her on a walk with Bob. She watched him, picked it up, and never looked back. Another favorite milestone with Goat was watching her with toys. When she first arrived, I gently rolled a ball to her and she ran away in fear. The first time she started playing with and genuinely interacting with a toy, I got teary-eyed. I was so proud and happy for her! Goat, now Phoebe, was adopted by an ALIVE volunteer and is living her best life.

People often tell me that they can’t foster because they'd fall in love with the dog and not want to give them up. Yet that is exactly why I foster. All dogs deserve to be loved. My heart breaks at each adoption, but that is nothing compared to the joy it brings me to have been a part of their journey and know that they are going to the very best home. And then I get to do it all over again for another dog who might not have made it if it weren't for fosters like me opening their homes. Just like Bob's foster did for me." - Karen


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