Shayla is one of our dog fosters and we have chosen to spotlight her as our volunteer of the month. When asked why she chose to volunteer for Paw Patrol, here is what she had to say: I’ve always loved animals, but growing up poor and renting meant we couldn’t have pets. For a time, that didn’t stop my parents, mostly my Dad before he disappeared, from getting us dogs, but it did stop him from keeping them. I can remember at least 4 dogs that came and went during my childhood. I would like to believe my Dad rehomed them all to loving families, but in my mind I know that driving them to the country and just letting them out of the car may have been the fate for a few of them.
Growing up like that leaves a mark.
We eventually moved to a place that allowed cats and we got a few that we loved dearly and had well into my adulthood. To see my Mom love them, take care of them and grieve over them as they passed showed me that she no longer thought animals were disposable. Maybe she never thought they were, but had been forced to make bad choices while trying to raise a young family without much money or support. I’ll never really know.
Watching this, I decided I would not go down that same path, should I ever be ready for a dog. I would never buy one, I would rescue. Of course, I really didn’t know what that entailed or how to go about it. But it didn’t really matter. I quickly learned that rescuing just kind of happens.
About 13 years ago I began to talk about wanting to adopt a dog. A co-worker of mine mentioned her young Schnauzer-Terrier mix that she had gotten from another co-worker’s daughter who had been deployed overseas shortly after adopting the puppy. She said her teenage boys weren’t really interested in the pup and it spent a lot of time in a crate in the basement. She jokingly asked me if she ended up on my porch with a bag of dog food would I take her. Well, that’s pretty much what happened. I fell in love instantly.
Shelby became the family dog, and still is to this day. Of course, now she is chubby, well-groomed, and more prettier than that first day. She is also missing about 8 teeth, but that doesn’t slow her down.
Fast forward about 6 months. We got a call from the police on a Saturday morning in December, the day before my birthday. My cousin had passed away and her 11 month old puppy was alone and frightened. This puppy, a Pharaoh Hound came to me on a plane on New Years Day. She was timid and quiet and instantly became my shadow. She was glued to my side for exactly a decade. Sticking to the Holiday theme, she passed away last Thanksgiving; leaving me as suddenly and unexpectedly as she had arrived.
Molly was mine-all-mine, my first true-love and of course my first real heartbreak.
Obviously, when you have dogs you meet people with dogs. Long story short, I became FB friends with Karen who had started the Dayton and Surrounding Area Lost and Found Pet Page on FB. She had spent some time on my street trying to trap a stray dog. Living in a small town with not much to do, the police got involved and helped her with the trapping. One police officer had 4 dogs of her own, so she also became FB friends with Karen.
About a month later that police officer was on her way to work when she found a Beagle running the streets. He had on a torn-up leather collar attached to a leash attached to a 25 foot long chain. He was exhausted from running and jumped right into her car. Fortunately the Dog Warden was busy and the officer had to get to work. So she messaged Karen to message me to see if we could keep the dog until she got off shift. Thinking we would just have him for the afternoon, I said sure. Funny thing? The officer never came back for him. We spent a week looking for his owners, another few days trying to rehome him. That new home only lasted about 4 days until they brought him back, he was already so attached to me, and he’s been my little man ever since. He’s stubborn, but so smart and empathetic. I love his little face and he has a way with the ladies. Well, this lady at least.
I already know Sage will be my next big heartbreak. But he’s only 5, so I pray to have many more years with him before then.
So, that brings me to why I Foster. Of course, Karen was always posting dogs that needed fostered. I thought about it many times, but never applied. I had 3 dogs and 2 cats at the time. My hands were full. But one day she posted a picture of a dog that reminded me of my Sage. Something about the look in his eyes, so I filled out the foster application for Paw Patrol. And wouldn’t you know it? Someone else took that dog first. So I thought no big deal. What’s important is that he was saved.
Then the next day I got a message from Paw Patrol about an elderly dog thrown out like trash. Did I want her? And it dawned on me. Oh yeah, I didn’t just apply for that one dog that caught my eye. I applied to rescue whichever dog was in need at any given time. And that was that. I became a Foster Mom.
Marge was easy to love and a great dog.
Yumi was the perfect puppy.
Zuma died way too young, and was well on his way to making me a Foster Failure.
Rubble has cured me of puppy fever 😉
I would recommend fostering to anyone that has the room and the time. Yeah, it’s tough sometimes. It can disrupt the household for sure. I’m blessed to have dogs that are tolerant of just about anything that walks in the door. But it still takes work. And of course it is for sure hard to say goodbye when they go, but it’s worth it.