Having a full-time dog is a long-term decision and can be too much of a commitment if you aren't fully ready. Bringing foster dogs into a house thinking about making that decision is a great way to not only get in the experience, but also make a huge difference in the community. That is what our latest Foster Friday feature is teaching us this week. To learn more about Mary and her time fostering, read on:
What got you started fostering for Wags & Walks?
I was about to head into hiatus from work when I saw the viral Sir Patrick Stewart and Ginger video. It had never occurred to me to foster before, but my husband and I bought a house in part so we could have a dog, and I thought that it would be mutually beneficial - we could see what we need to work on before we get a dog of our own, and give a few dogs a place to stay while they search for their forever homes.
To date, how many dogs have you fostered for Wags? Do you have a favorite? (Don't worry, we won't tell the others!)
We’re on our sixth dog right now. And the favorite is a toss-up between our current foster Miranda, an adorable mini-pit who just wants to love on everybody she meets, and our first foster, Popeye - he was a pit-corgi mix who loved to stretch out and cuddle on anybody willing.
What has been your biggest challenge fostering?
Every dog comes with new challenges, sometimes it’s medical issues, sometimes you have to battle barking, sometimes you have to stop them from mouthing during playtime, sometimes we get accidents in the house, and no dog we’ve fostered likes a bath!
But it’s always so hard to say goodbye. I’ve shed more than a few tears, and my husband has accompanied me on meet and greets for much needed emotional support. But I recently saw one of our latest fosters, Battalion, with his new mom, and I was delighted to learn that he didn’t even remember me. I was just another person to him, no big deal. He just wanted the love from his mom. I would have thought that would crush me, but it really made me so happy. He doesn’t miss me!
How has fostering affected you?
It’s a learning process, but my husband and I feel stronger with every dog. We’re more confident as dog parents, and we feel like we are giving back to the community. Every foster we take in, gives the rescue a chance to pull another dog from a shelter. It’s extremely fulfilling, and encourages us to be even more involved in our community .
What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?
Dogs who love their crates. It’s the best surprise when we don’t have to bribe them or push them to get in. They’re all, “Oh, go to bed? Okay then!"
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in becoming a foster?
I like to tell people that this is a scam in our favor. Wags and Walks provides the food, toys, crate, meds, everything you need - and in return you get all the puppy love! You’re totally capable of fostering. It can be sad to say goodbye, but it’s so fulfilling! And trust your instincts. If something seems off, email the wags team and get their advice. They’ve seen it all.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Mary. We are so happy to have you as a foster!