Employee Pick – How one Wrinkly Face Changed my Life

haloPosted by Heather

Dogs have been a part of my life since I can remember. I grew up with quite an assortment – Collies, Great Danes, Pugs, and Keeshonds. I took naps on the Great Danes’ bellies as a toddler, witnessed both birth and death for the first time in grade school and had my first experience with a rescue dog in high school. As an adult, my brother & I rescued a big, goofy, Rottie/Rhodesian Ridgeback/Mastiff/Chocolate Lab that was a stray in Vermont named Hooch. When I bought my first house, I rescued Deuce, who is a Catahoula Leopard/Pitbull mix. He was in Pennsylvania and had to find a new home when his owner was diagnosed with cancer. Then came Zoe. She’s also a Pitbull mix who was rescued as a former bait dog in Hartford, Connecticut. You would think that I would have realized by then that maybe I had a soft-spot for rescue dogs.

But it wasn’t until rescue dog number #5 that I figured out just how important rescue dogs were to me. Halo made it crystal clear.

I found Halo on Petfinder and instantly fell in love with his wrinkly forehead. My husband & I decided that we should add him to our pack (which consisted of Deuce & Zoe). We did a foster-to-adopt contract. The fostering part lasted a whole week before we made it official and adopted him. To make a long story short, Deuce made it clear after about 3 months that he wasn’t so happy having Halo around. So, adoption turned back into fostering until he found a new home with an amazing couple. Even after 5 years, they still bring him to visit us and I couldn’t be more thankful to them. It was heart-wrenching watching them drive away with Halo, but ironically, that’s when it hit me – I need to foster rescue dogs.

Dori-Dexter3Over the past few years, we have fostered 11 dogs and became foster failures with 2 of them, meaning that we decided to adopt them. After Halo, we took in 2 Black Lab puppies that were siblings from Arkansas – Dori & Dexter.

We had Dexter for only one week and then my cousin & his family adopted him. It’s great because we get frequent visits with him!  Dori stayed with us for about 6 months until her forever family found her. She’s living happily in Connecticut with 2 canine siblings and 2 human siblings.

 

Puppies2The next group really tested our motivation to be fosters!  We had 7 Plott Hound puppies from Arkansas that were about 12 weeks old. They had never been indoors, could not eat enough food and had no idea that they were only supposed to do their business in designated areas! These are the “C” pups in their favorite sleeping arrangement – Candice, Cain, Craig, Carson, Chelsea, Courtney & Caleb.

Cain2

They were only with us for a week before heading to a different foster home, but we became attached to each and every one of them. They all found homes in New England, but two returned to us before finding their families. Cain came back after a few months for us to foster again – it took my parents a few months to fall in love and make him an official member of the family.

Courtney-cain

Courtney visited us for a week until going home with her forever family – they renamed her Cricket and she is living the good life in Maine.

You can tell by the smile on Courtney’s face that she really enjoyed reuniting & playing with Cain for the week!

 

LilkaOur 11th foster came to us as a stray from a few towns away. Her name is Lilka and she is a beautiful cinnamon colored Pitbull.

Lilka & Cain got off to a rough start, but quickly became best friends. It became apparent that Lilka would not only be our 11th foster, but our 2nd foster failure!  Cain & Lilka now spend their time playing & napping together.

If you’ve Lilka-Cainever thought about fostering, but thought it would be too hard to let them go, I’m here to let you know how rewarding it can be.  It is awful watching them leave and it does become very emotional. But then you get the first call, email or picture of them with their new family and it makes it all worth it. By letting them go to their forever home, you open your door to the next one that needs help.  And if you can’t foster, there are so many volunteer opportunities, it will make your head spin.

I’ll forever be grateful to Halo and his wrinkly forehead for introducing me to an amazing organization and for sparking my passion for helping rescue dogs. I can’t imagine life without them!

If you want to find out more about fostering dogs (or cats), there is some great information available on Petfinder (http://www.petfinder.com/animal-shelters-and-rescues/fostering-dogs/).

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