Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bunnies and Coyotes and Beagles, oh my!

I feel privileged to welcome a foster beagle into my tiny, tiny home.

I've wanted to foster dogs ever since I found my dog, Ellie, being fostered at a friend's house. Sure, she wasn't my dog then (in fact, she was adopted be another family temporarily before joining my family), but I fell in love with the idea of fostering rescued dogs.
My Elliepup started it all.
Rescuing dogs from inadequate, and sometimes even cruel, environments is a rather romantic notion. Not everyone loves dogs, of course, but I haven't met a person who has said that rescuing dogs from neglectful or abusive humans is ridiculous or a waste of time.  Strangers on the street have been known to hug me when they find out that Ellie is a rescued dog.

But fostering? Bringing a neglected or abused dog who has no training - or worse, behavioural issues - into your home?

That seems extreme to some people. Isn't the pound is a perfectly reasonable place for dogs to live until they're adopted?

Well, yes. Many kennels are alright places for dogs who are awaiting forever homes. However, animal shelters are filled to the brim and most simply don't have room for any more dogs. Dogs are social animals and animal shelters can be stressful environments - the dogs are often better off in home environments than waiting in a kennel.

Since my Elliepup was a puppymill breeder, she had absolutely no socialization skills and didn't know how to interact with other dogs or people. She needed a loving home as soon as she could get one -- even if it was a temporary home until her permanent home (mine!) could be found. I wanted to be a part of that experience for dogs in need.

I also want another dog, but as I'm unable to financially commit to another dog right now, fostering is the perfect option for me. The rescue organization takes care of the vet bills, while I get the excitement of a new dog without the long-term commitment. I get to use and improve my dog psychology and training skills while also helping to save a dog.

Sure, it'll be difficult to say goodbye to the dogs I foster, but it'll mean that they're going to good homes. Plus, every dog I foster instead of adopt is another dog saved.

Both of these red dappled mini dachshunds were rescued from puppy mills!

So, Ellie and I have welcomed a beagle into our lives, for now, and we're loving it. Ellie is a bit annoyed that she has to share her beds (poor pup - she has, like,three, plus the laundry pile) but she's thoroughly enjoying the hound company on walks and having a warm body to snuggle up to.
How could someone not care for these dogs?

Finally, someone else is around who understands Ellie's love for sniffing and tracking. Ellie and the beagle, Alex, found a wild bunny hopping out of the hedge this morning, and they ran into a pair of coyotes on the street last night! They've also found many-a dead rodents, bits of rotting food, and discarded underthings. They're having a ball.

The beagle is learning really quickly and by the time he's adopted, he not only going to be a fantastic dog, but a well-mannered one too!

Alex, a newfie beagle, loves the CBC and is looking for a forever home!

Also, my buddy Zoe from A Giraffe in a Scarf fosters cats. She's such a great kitty mama. She often writes about her fostering experiences, and she always includes adorable photos of her snuggly feline brood.

If you're thinking of adopting an animal, please check out your local rescue organizations as well as the shelters in your area. You can often find breed-specific rescues (like the Beagle rescue I volunteer for) if you're interested in a specific breed of dog, bunny,  horse, or other animal.

Would you consider adopting from a rescue, or fostering?


Zoe said...

Hurray for you! I just know you'll find fostering the most rewarding thing ever! I think fostering for dogs is even more important than for cats, they can be properly socialised, and even more importantly, properly trained! I look forward to meeting more of your temporary fur-babies.

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