This is a follow up post to last Friday’s Perfect Picture Book about “Animals as Carers”. Many of us intimated that we would love to consider hosting a guide puppy for the deaf or the blind. Well, I want to suggest another way we could care for animals who care and give so much to us, and that is to become foster families. Maybe the 1-2 years seems too much of a commitment for a guide dog, well what about fostering a dog or kittens from a refuge for just a few months? – enough time for the animal to readjust to home life, hopefully shortening its time in a refuge and freeing up limited space for another needy animal. Many refuges cover food and veterinary costs for their foster animals. You as a family (and maybe your pets too) can have the joy of giving love and attention to an animal who has sorely missed out on this, and it can be a great step for a family to see whether they are ready for their own animal. I will give you a few addresses of organizations which do this, but the best would probably be to check out your local refuge. This can be a very rewarding voluntary project for your family.
My Foster Dog
by Unknown Author
My foster dog stinks to high heaven.
I don’t know for sure what breed he is.
His eyes are blank and hard.
He won’t let me pet him and growls when I reach for him.
He has ragged scars and crusty sores on his skin.
His nails are long and his teeth, which he showed me, are stained. I sigh.
I drove two hours for this.
I carefully maneuver him so that I can stuff him in the crate. Then I heft
the crate and put it in the car. I am going home with my new foster dog.
At home I leave him in the crate till all the other dogs are in the yard. I
get him out of the crate and ask him if he wants “outside.” As I lead him to
the door he hikes his leg on the wall and shows me his stained teeth again.
When we come in, he goes to the crate because that’s the only safe place he
sees. I offer him food but he won’t eat it if I look at him, so I turn my
back. When I come back, the food is gone.
I ask again about “outside.” When we come back, I pat him before I let
him in the crate; he jerks away and runs into the crate to show me his
The next day I decide I can’t stand the stink any longer.
I lead him into the bath with cheese in my hands. His fear of me is not
quite overcome by his longing for the cheese.
And well he should fear me, for I will give him a bath.
After an attempt or two to bail out he is defeated and stands there. I
have bathed four legged bath squirters for more years than he has been
alive. His only defense was a show of his stained teeth, that did not hold
up to a face full of water.
As I wash him, it is almost as if I wash not only the stink and dirt away
but also some of the hardness. His eyes look full of sadness now. And he
looks completely pitiful as only a soap covered dog can.
I tell him that he will! feel better when he is cleaned. After the soap,
the towels are not too bad, so he lets me rub him dry.
I take him outside. He runs for joy . . . the joy of not being in the tub
and the joy of being clean.
I, the bath giver, am allowed to share the joy. He comes to me and lets me
One week later I have a vet bill. His skin is healing. He likes for me to
pet him ( I think). I know what color he will be when his hair grows in.
I have found out he is terrified of other dogs, so I carefully introduce
him to my mildest four legged brat. It doesn’t go well.
Two weeks later a new vet bill for an infection, that was missed on the
first visit. He plays with the other dogs.
Three weeks later his coat shines, he has gained weight.
He shows his clean teeth when his tongue lolls out
after he plays chase in the yard with the gang.
His eyes are soft and filled with life. He loves hugs and likes to show
off his tricks, if you have the cheese.
Someone called today and asked about him. They saw the picture I took the
first week. They asked about his personality, his history, his breed. They
asked if he was pretty. I asked them lots of questions.
I checked up on them.
I said yes.
When they saw him the first time they said he was the most beautiful dog
they had ever seen.
Six months later, I got a call from his new family.
He is wonderful, smart, well behaved, and very loving.
How could someone not want him?
I told them I didn’t know.
He is beautiful.
They all are in agreement!