Happy New Year Wags family! For our first Foster Friday of 2018, we have the wonderful foster, Jess Wilton to introduce to yourself. Despite having a young child and multiple animals, she still finds times to help us give our rescue pups a safe and loving home. Read on to learn more about Jess and her time with Wags and Walks:
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Jess Wilton, and I live in Inglewood with my husband Matt, my son Quinn (4), our dog Sydney, two cats Comix and Sadie, 5 chickens and a couple beehives. Can you tell we’re fond of animals? We had another dog named Ona, a black Lab who was our youngest, who we lost to an aggressive form of Lymphoma in June of 2017. We love getting outside for gardening, walks, hikes, you name it. We geek out on growing our own food and herbs for cooking, pickling and making beer, mead and cocktails. My husband has been living on our property since he was born and has proudly planted over 30 varieties of fruit tree here!
What got you started fostering for Wags & Walks?
My friend is a foster for Wags, and I’ve enjoyed watching him help dogs get acclimated to home life, solve any training issues they may have left over from shelter life, and see them off to a loving home. I fostered here in LA for both dogs and kittens several years ago, when I had just one cat and no family yet, and after Ona passed we decided to give it another try. My Mom is probably to blame for my interest in fostering- while I was growing up she was always finding strays and abandoned kittens and bringing them home for us to nurse back to health and find homes for.
To date, how many dogs have you fostered for Wags? Do you have a favorite? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell the others!)
So far just one for Wags- Joey the 7 month old pittie mix.
What has been your biggest challenge fostering?
Since we have so many animals and a young son, we have a lot of variables to which a new animal has to adjust and not as much time to shower a dog with individual attention if she has significant training issues. It just means we need to find the right fit, and be willing to admit if it’s not working out. Even if we can only improve a dog’s life for a few days or weeks, though, it’s worth it.
How has fostering affected you?
Being around animals in general has made me more patient and empathetic. You have to see the world through an animal’s eyes in an entirely different way than through a human’s. Fostering allows you to encounter a wider range of animals than just those that you choose to bring into your family. Each one is an interesting challenge and puzzle to find the way to get through to them and help them be the best they can be.
What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?
Everyone I’ve talked to says “don’t you get attached?” but that’s never really been an issue. I guess since I know it’s not “my dog” I just don’t go into that mindset.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in becoming a foster?
Just give it a try! You’ll get everything you need, and with Wags and Walks having their own facility they can always take the dog back if it doesn’t work out. Fostering isn’t for everyone, but it can be an incredibly rewarding way for someone who isn’t ready to bring a forever pet into their home to help out homeless animals and get some experience working with a variety of dogs.
We can’t thank Jess, and all of our fosters, enough for taking the time out of her busy schedule to help us save more dogs. We couldn’t do it without people like her.
If this has you inspired and you want to make a difference of your own this year, check out our foster page. We’d love to have you!