Puppies are A LOT of work. When ALIVE takes in puppies, everyone gets excited, but we quickly remember how much time they need, how much poop there is and how razor sharp those tiny teeth are. We love our puppies and we give much credit to the fosters who raise their hands and bring puppies into their homes.
Saya and Pete are some of those people, and we are so lucky to have them say “yes” to us time and again. Read their foster story, as Saya describes below ...
“I didn’t have a dog growing up. And I never wanted one as an adult, besides the occasional thoughts like, ‘I want a puppy snuggle!’ or, ‘the dog park seems like a great way to meet people, would it be weird if I brought a fish?’ But all of a sudden, inexplicably, a few years ago, my favorite pastime became scrolling through the “dogs available for foster” section of rescue websites.
I was surprised because many of the things I hold high on my list of loves —
- Uninterrupted sleep
- Leaving the house for however long I want
- Distraction-less work
- Bite-free furniture
would be severely compromised with the addition of a foster.
But after talking to my husband, who was 100% on board even though he hadn’t had a dog since he was a kid, we decided to take the leap. The feeling that we had so much to give and were an ideal candidate — no other pets, no kids and I work from home — coupled with the never-ending stream of dogs needing support was the final decider.
Two years and twelve puppies, ranging in age from a few weeks to seven months old, later, we are TeamFoster4Life. It’s been wonderful! Also, hard. But mostly wonderful. Because even the ‘THIS SUCKSSSSS!’ moments are valuable and appreciated lessons. My problem of cleaning up pee off my wooden floors for the seventh time in as many minutes compared to [insert a real problem] isn't that much of a problem at all.
After a week with a broken washer dryer and two puppies, I went to a laundromat for the first time in 17 (?) years. While it was interesting just because I hadn't been in forever, I never, ever, ever want that to be my regular life again — Perspective! Gratitude! Appreciation! Fostering is fabulous on so many levels. Add to those benefits new friends, new clients, newly-met neighbors and business owners (it's amazing how popular you become when walking puppies). Plus cuddles, unconditional love, pride when they learn commands, they're gentle with children and your entire neighborhood knows their names and yells them from across the street, and the joy felt when you offer a comfy home alternative to the shelter. Oh yeah, the saving of lives of those you're fostering and of the new dogs a rescue can save because of the space you freed up by opening up your home? That’s pretty fabulous, too.
If you want a dog but only occasionally, if you're strapped financially and having a pup would stress the bank account, if you have no clue what to do with a dog but have all the love to give (which is where we were when we started), if you want to test the waters, you should try fostering. Rescues make it as easy as possible on you. Don't have a car? They'll drop the pup off. Going out of town? They'll find someone to temp foster. Gonna be gone for a really long time one day? They'll get you a dog walker. Have to take a long foster break? No guilt tripping there, they’ll just tell you to come back when you’re ready. And on and on.
Warming my wee heart to no end, so many of our network have become fosters after hearing about our experience. Two of them even foster failed and adopted their nuggets. We’re in touch with many previous fosters, and it is everything to watch them grow up. We've gotten birthday and holiday cards from our previous fosters, been invited to playdates and swimming lessons, and an absolute highlight of my life is seeing them in person post adoption and having them remembering us and treating us like they don’t treat anyone else (according to their new owners).
If you're like me and you value my list of loves but you also want to do good in the do-goodiest way possible, in a way that fits you and your life, consider making a spot on your couch for foster cuddles. Fostering truly is the most ‘Life of Yes’ type of volunteer opportunity — the fulfilled lifestyle I live and help others live — and is so very win-win-win.
We look forward to continue filling our Foster Puppy Wall with many cuddlebugs!”