This week’s Foster Friday features Adam whose journey with Wags and Walks started when he found us while looking to adopt a dog. It’s because of his adoption experience with us that Adam thought of us first when he wanted to start volunteering sometime later. The rest of Adam’s story shows how there are many paths that lead to becoming a foster, but we’ll let Adam take it from here!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m from the Midwest but moved to Los Angeles five years ago after graduating from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. I started working at Creative Artists Agency and spent 4 ½ years at the company, mostly working in the talent department. I started a new job at the top of 2017 at a production company with a first-look deal at Universal Pictures. When I’m not at work I’m usually at the gym, in the Santa Monica Mountains, or inside the movie theatre with popcorn and a Coke! I am also the proud dog-dad of a five-year-old Papillon mix named Henry (a Wags and Walks alum!).
What got you started fostering for Wags & Walks?
I was looking for a way to be of service; I realized that was missing that in my life and felt that I had the time and the energy to do something more. Since I had such a wonderful experience adopting my Henry, I immediately sought out opportunities with Wags and Walks. I started by volunteering with Wags Club, which is the organization’s temporary housing for dogs until they are placed in foster care. I would go to the office 3-4 times a week (and still do!) and feed/walk/care for the dogs. There was an utterly amazing pup one day, named Bowie, who I really wanted to adopt. I took him home for the weekend but ultimately decided it wasn’t the right time for me to take on a second dog; however, I really wanted to take care of Bowie until his forever family came along, and decided to carry on fostering after that remarkably positive experience.
To date, how many dogs have you fostered for Wags? Do you have a favorite? (Don't worry, we won't tell the others!)
I’ve fostered four dogs and plan to foster a lot more! Bowie was definitely my favorite. He was so sensitive and smart. He even learned how to open doors! He’s an incredible little guy.
What has been your biggest challenge fostering?
I wouldn’t call it a challenge per se, but the four of the dogs I’ve fostered have shown signs of timidity or mild anxiety. That said, I love being a person who is able to help them and make them feel more comfortable. My last foster, Chip, wouldn’t budge on his leash initially. He would clam up and refuse to move. Helping Chip gain some courage and confidence was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, and he was walking steadily within a couple of days.
How has fostering affected you?
It’s definitely made me more patient; I can sometimes be extremely Type-A, but never with these animals. It’s all about patience and understanding and sympathy for the experiences they’ve been through, which have not always been positive.
What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?
The biggest surprise for me has been how receptive my Henry is to the flow of dogs joining us in our apartment! He’s amazing with them – he’s almost like their therapy animal. He shows them how to walk on a leash; he sleeps next to them on my couch; he shares his water dish and food bowl, and he stands over them on the sidewalk when they’re afraid. It’s almost like he’s showing them how to be a dog! He’s a great partner.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in becoming a foster?
I think the most important thing is to focus on the positives of the experience. Specifically, don’t forgo fostering because “you’ll get too attached.” It can be sad to see them go, but you’re doing this for the dogs, not for yourself!
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Adam! Stories like Adam’s remind us of how lucky Wags and Walks is to have such a strong community of alumni and volunteers. As both a foster parent and an adoptive parent, Adam has experienced the many ways that rescue dogs can change your life. What’s especially inspiring about Adam’s story is how his dog, Henry, who is a rescue himself has played such an important role in helping those dogs Adam fosters feel more comfortable in their new environments.
Like Adam, many people who end up fostering, start off by volunteering with us in other capacities! If you are interested in getting more involved with dogs but aren’t yet ready to foster, volunteering with Wags is a great way to start spending more time around dogs. Whether you are looking to adopt, foster, or just find out more about what we do, check out our site or stop by our adoption center for more info!