Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why foster!

Because if you do
  • The cuddly little scared thing waiting in some kennel at a shelter somewhere will get a chance to live in a warm home and a chance at adoption.
  • The little thing who is scheduled to get that injection which will suck the life out of him, will get another chance to find someone who he can call home
  • The scared and confused thing will be calmer and happier, and will give you and everyone he meets, all the love back and hence be more adoptable than the scared and snappy one he is at the shelter
Fostering is NOT difficult. A crate, food and toys, and some time from the daily schedule and some love is all that is needed. You can foster for as little as 2 weeks in a year to all the 52 weeks. After fostering once, you realize that it does not really affect the daily routine much.

I know foster parents who have fostered 100s of dogs. It has become a part of their life and it is difficult to imagine a schedule without a foster dog in it!. Foster parents become a bridge between the adopters and the dog. That dog might end up spending a good part of its life in a kennel, because the family who wants to adopt a dog like him might not know that he exists. The dog might be put to sleep because of a simple reason like lack of space in the shelter, even though the right family is waiting out there somewhere.

Our rescue gets a lot of small dogs from California Shelters with a kill rate as high as 80%. A lot of the small dogs are chihuahuas. That's because everyone in and around Hollywood wants a chi. So there is always a chi explosion in all California shelters. But in this state, we have more of bigger dogs in shelters and the smaller dogs usually get adopted within days. There is always a demand for small dogs and families who don't find one in shelters or rescues end up buying puppies from bad breeders or pet stores!. By getting some of the small dogs from California, the rescue tries to meet some of this demand. But there are only so many dogs that we can get here and we have only so many foster homes for those dogs.

Most of the foster parents in our rescue are seniors. They all have their own problems. One of them I met recently had had a bypass surgery and she was back to fostering 3 dogs at a time within a month. Most of the others have seen some or the other pain to realize that, life lived without trying to help others is not as meaningful. I don't know if it has something to do with sudden realization of mortality that makes one think about what good he/she has done. But It definitely is a different thought process, as I have not been able to influence and inspire anyone in my friend circle! I have at least influenced some people I have met here and there, and that is keeping me on track. It is very easy to lose hope and get depressed. A small step at a time, one life saved at a time and that happiness you get is something you would have never felt before. Hopefully, someone will read this and look at the sad eyes below and give up some of their time to doing something, anything !

I recently got a mail from the rescue with a list of 71 dogs with their pictures, and only 14 of them would get a chance to fly to Seattle into foster homes and then get adopted into forever homes. I will never be able to make such a decision. Those 57 pairs of eyes who will be left behind will haunt me forever. But this is what the rescue team does, every other week. Save a few and find them great homes. I hope some of you think of those lonely and scared eyes and decide to help some of them.