It’s an understatement to say that fosters are integral to our mission at Wags and Walks. To date, we’ve rescued 2,308 dogs (and counting!), and we wouldn’t have been able to do that without the dedication, compassion, and sacrifice of our fosters. With the exception of a few dogs who temporarily stay at our Wags Club, every pup we rescue goes straight to the home of a loving foster to help them decompress and get ready for their new life to begin.
This week, we’d like to highlight one of our devoted fosters and volunteers, Shannon Hanrahan. Shannon has been fostering with us for almost a year, and since then she has helped us save the lives of eight wonderful pups. In addition to fostering, Shannon also finds the time to volunteer at our adoption events and helps lead the blog team.
Shannon took some time from her busy day to tell us about her experience with Wags and Walks:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am originally from Philly and moved to Santa Monica 4 years ago. I work at Teleflora as the SEO/Content Specialist, but still try and get in as much pup time as I possibly can working with Wags and Walks. I grew up with 3 dogs and a horse, so you can say I am a bit of an animal lover. I have a 14.5 Lab/Rottweiler mix who lives at home in luxury with my parents since she was a bit too old and settled to take the cross-country trek with me.
What got you started fostering for Wags & Walks?
I learned about Wags actually on Lauren Conrad’s instagram and contacted them about volunteering. Eventually I stepped in when they needed an extra hand for fostering and just haven’t stopped yet.
To date, how many dogs have you fostered for Wags? Do you have a favorite? (Don't worry, we won't tell the others!)
Since July 2016 I have fostered 8 pups (currently still with my 8th). It’s hard to pick a favorite since each has had something different about them that I’ve loved. Moe and Heartly I fostered as young pups, so it was definitely fun to watch them pick up on their training and really grow into themselves. But I have honestly loved every single one of them and still follow up on how they are all doing with their forever families.
What has been your biggest challenge fostering?
I’d probably say trying to not get too attached is my biggest challenge to date. My dog is 3,000 miles away, so it is hard to give up a dog when I’ve had them with me for so long and become part of my routine. A lot of my fosters have needed recovery time before adoption, so I keep them over around a month at a time. But with that said, I love seeing updates once they get to their forever home and hearing about how much they have settled.
How has fostering affected you?
It’s hard to put it into words exactly, but fostering really does give me all the feels. It is amazing to see how each and every one of the dogs flourishes once they are in a safe and loving “home”. It’s hard not to smile knowing that you’re changing his/her life for the better...which I can’t say happens in my day job. Plus, I love seeing how happy families are when they are taking their new dog home. We truly do bring happiness home with every adoption, for both the dogs and the humans. I enjoy being a part of that.
What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a puppy and I forgot how much puppies are like small children. I’ve had plenty of sleepless nights, training setbacks, and “precious” items used as chew toys. But even after all of that, I’ve never gotten upset or angry, which really surprised me because I’m not a huge person for unpredictability…which puppies are plenty full of. It has really shown me what my level of patience can be.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in becoming a foster?
My advice is to go for it. If you have thought it all through and are ready to take on the responsibility, then it isn’t going to be something you regret. It isn’t always easy, but it’s fun and heartwarming to know you are doing good for something so innocent. Just make sure everyone you live with is on board so you can keep the peace!
If you’re interested in joining Shannon as one of our amazing fosters and helping us save lives, you can learn more on our website. We’d love to have you!
Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?