Why I Foster, by Tari
George I have been involved in rescue for quite a few years now. For me, things started out a little slow, just one dog at a time. My mentor at the beginning was a woman with about 30+ years of experience in Cocker Rescue. She was very well established and organized. She held my hand patiently while I stumbled thru the first few dogs and never failed to encourage me to keep trying when I wanted to give up. Since then, I have fostered for several other people and organizations and finally found my home at PUP.
As we were getting ready to pull our second batch of California dogs, I have done a lot of reflecting. How did I get from owning one dog and fostering one at a time, to owning 6 and fostering 2-5 at a time! I could tell you a hundred stories, but I guess what it all boils down to is pushing myself (and my family) to learn a little more, to try a little harder, to learn to do "whatever it takes".
In the beginning it was new and exciting and I hadn't seen the big picture, so I wasn't aware of the suffering that was happening in shelters and in puppy mills. I was able to focus on just the dog in my home. In the first couple of years of fostering, I learned about inbreeding in certain breeds (especially Spaniels and Dalmatians, thanks Disney!) and how it affected the health and mental stability of some breeds. I saw a lot of very cute dogs, some with sweet personalities that made you wonder who could give them up and some that were unstable and would become Cujo in an instant with no warning. I have helped Momma dogs give birth and cared for the Mom & puppies, and I have sat with dogs in my arms as they were put to sleep. I cried at the miracle of the beginning of life, and the sadness of seeing the end.
I don't have any way to measure the joy rescue has brought to my life. I used to be jealous of people who had a 'passion' for something, because I thought I didn't have one. Turns out I just didn't know it. This is my passion. The big question on the minds of people who find out what I do is always the same. "How can you let them go after fostering?" My question is how could I not? There is no feeling in the world like when you see your foster walking out the door with the absolutely perfect adopter. The realization at that moment that YOU made the difference for that dog AND for that family. Because of YOU, that dog was not euthanized and because of the microchip will never spend another night in a shelter.
None of this really prepared me for Stockton, California. I was part of the 2nd transport that went down. We stayed in Stockton from Tuesday night til Saturday morning. I have never seen anything like it. The ladies that work there are amazing. They treated us like celebrities. We spent three full days walking the corridors and looking at all the faces.
The first day started out kinda fun. The initial walk thru, picking out this dog or that dog, bringing them to the room we were given to do temperment evaluations, all of it started out with excitement. We were going to SAVE SOME DOGS!!! I was a little sad at all the faces, but more excited about meeting the ones we were planning to take.
The second day I found a tiny kitten in the parking lot when we pulled in. He was tiny and adorable and scared. I took him in to Jenifer and went about the rest of my day. I spent a lot of the day in the back of the van putting the crates together and getting things put in order. I walked the corridors that day and realized for the first time that most of the dogs I saw were not going with us. We had pulled more than we were supposed to already and there were still so many left. Slowly the situation became real to me. I began to absorb the understanding that a lot of these dogs would be leaving through a different door, and they wouldn't be getting out alive. I have to say, the harsh reality of that was horrific. This was only my second day at the shelter. Jenifer had been there for 10 years. There are just no words. And at times, there still isn't.
Rescues and shelters working together to save as many lives as we possibly can every year. Year after year. To end the suffering that wouldn’t be if people would be responsible and spay or neuter their pets. And truly provide a forever home.
For more information on our foster program, please download our foster brochure and our Foster Flyer.

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