This week’s Foster Friday is an extra special one. Today we are chatting with Courtney Rohde, an all-around dedicated volunteer at Wags and Walks and a 15-time foster parent! Courtney is an unbelievable contributor to the Wags and Walks mission in so many ways, and her generosity is never ending.
Courtney’s journey into fostering really exemplifies how unique of an experience it is. Every time we interview another one of our fosters we learn something new, and we hope that Courtney’s story teaches you something new about the highs, lows, and above all, beauty of fostering!
Without further ado, meet our Foster Friday spotlight, Courtney Rhode.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I am originally from Illinois, went to school at The University of Iowa, lived abroad sometime in there, and ended up in Los Angeles! I currently work as a Marketing Specialist for a durable medical equipment company but spend my free time volunteering with Wags and Walks, visiting the beach, traveling, and cooking.
What got you started fostering for Wags and Walks?
I grew up with numerous dogs throughout my childhood of all sizes and breeds. Animals were always part of my life, but through college and my early adulthood, it was hard to have pets. When I moved to Los Angeles, I knew I wanted a dog but was traveling a ton for work and couldn’t commit long-term. I decided that I would start fostering for a few weeks at a time in between trips. I’ve been fostering for about a year and it has fueled a passion for a rescue.
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 April 2016, we have had 15 fosters. I might be biased, but my favorite would have to be my foster fail, Pippen. She came to us as an anxious pup terrified of men, yet we had an instant bond. She fit seamlessly into my life and I knew it would be impossible to say goodbye so we adopted her a few days later. She ended up being my perfect match. Other than Pippen, we have fostered many incredible dogs. It’s hard to pick just one. My first foster, Marnie, will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ve been able to watch her grow up which is fun!
What has been your biggest challenge fostering?
While we love having puppies around, they are tough! I can’t leave the house as regularly, never get enough sleep at night and am constantly cleaning up, but it’s worth it. When you invest so much time in these dogs, it’s hard to say goodbye. The reassuring part is knowing they are going to the perfect family. Receiving text and picture updates always makes it easier to let them go.
How has fostering affected you?
Fostering is incredibly rewarding and has changed my life in so many ways. I have become more passionate about rescues because I see the direct impact that it has on the dogs’ lives. It’s hard to put it into words how much happiness it will bring you until you foster. Throughout my time fostering and adopting Pippen, I found myself wanting to invest more into Wags and Walks. I have found a passion through volunteering so that more pups have a chance at finding forever families.
What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?
I’m shocked I haven’t wanted to adopt all of my fosters! While each of them is incredibly special and unique, I know my lifestyle isn’t perfect for all of them. I’m now more confident that each dog has the perfect home out there.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in becoming a foster?
If you’ve been thinking about it, do it. You won’t know how it will change and affect you until you take the opportunity to welcome a foster into your family. Yes, it will be challenging and frustrating at times, but it is one of the most special things you can do.
Thank you for sharing, Courtney! As Courtney said, if you have been thinking about fostering, don’t be afraid to try it out! Fostering is crucial to helping save dogs who otherwise may not have the chance to find a forever home, but we often forget how big of a positive impact these rescue dogs have on their foster parents’ lives too.
Many people, like Courtney, start fostering because they would like to adopt their own pup one day, but are not ready yet, for whatever reason. And there are definitely those foster stories that end like Courtney and Pippen! The foster experience is so diverse and unique ,that it is truly hard to capture in just words - or pictures.
We are eternally grateful to all of our foster parents who have dedicated their time and love to caring for and helping our rescue dogs find forever homes. If you are interested, you can learn more about fostering or apply to foster directly online on through our foster page.
We hope you enjoyed Courtney’s story! To stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?