Why I Keep Foster Dogs (Part 1)

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Dog pictures motivate people. I’ve reconnected with a lot of friends through posting pictures of the foster dogs I keep. They want to know why I’m doing it.

The same question comes up with strangers at the dog park or on the sidewalk.

And as I’ve described my reasons in the midst of  frigid November evenings on the sidewalk and fumbled through them on Facebook, some kernels of truth have started to sprout in my soul.

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I guess I got started fostering dogs because of my aunt. She adopted a golden retriever mix several years ago and made good friends with the lady who had fostered her. I hadn’t realized that people fostered dogs like children until they could get adopted, and I admired her for doing that, especially because Sophie, my aunt’s dog, was kind of a tough case, and still is, because of all the abuse she suffered.

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When I moved to Nashville I wanted a pet and as I was looking around I realized that there is a golden retriever rescue here too that only rescues goldens. Since that’s what Sophie is, I’m kind of biased in that direction.

My first dog, Ginger, was about a month ago. She was awesome and I just got hooked on doing this, for several reasons:

Reason #1: Redemption These dogs, for whatever reason, have been neglected, abused, and uncared for. Ginger came microchipped, but she’d been running with a wild pack of dogs and caught by a shelter. Willow, who just got adopted after two weeks in my house, grew up neglected in back yard until she was surrendered at 11 months.

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But they can be rehabbed into pets that will make someone else very happy. It’s also a good reminder of how God cares for us.I figure if His eye is on the sparrows (which Willow loves to chase) like it says in Matthew 6, it must be on these dogs too.

And the Bible says how much more He cares for us. It is so hard to the dogs go. I spent the weekend in a blue funk eating popcorn and frozen yogurt depressed that Willow is gone from my life.

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It was hard to let her go. When Willow came to my house, she spent the whole first evening running around the house, scared to go through my door or up my stairs. She’d never been on a walk that I could tell, because I had to drag her around the neighborhood for three times  before she learned to follow me. She was afraid of car engines, my vacuum cleaner, and being left alone. In the days before she was adopted, Willow spent 8 hours in the crate with minimal fuss, went on numerous highly energetic walks, and played her heart out with some of her new dog friends.

It was hardest to let her go because I know how much time, energy, and love I poured into her. And it was worth it. It really made a difference.

From what I’ve heard, it only took that puppy one day in her new home to learn how to use the doggy door which, it was clear, she was terrified of before I left her there.

I want to watch her keep on growing. It was so hard to let her go.

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But it’s also really neat to see a family so happy to get one of these dogs. Willow’s new family is really awesome, with another dog, a fenced in yard, and lots of love to give her.

And she’ll forever be a symbol of redemption in my mind.

Stick around tomorrow for reason #2 I keep foster dogs.

 

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Snowy Day

 

Waking up late and freaking out is not conducive to calm and reflective dog walking. And calm reflective dog walking is the thing I’ve been most desiring to cultivate lately. With Ginger, my first foster dog from MTGRR, I noticed that walking produced a lot of time to reflect and pray. More on that soon.IMG_2531.JPG

But Willow, my current 11 month old golden provides the opposite of calm and reflection. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a fantastic dog. In fact, I imagine she’ll go down in history as one of my all time favorites because of the time and energy and hearth I’ve thrown into her. But she’s not easy to take care of. In fact she takes about all I’ve got at the moment. I’ll do a separate post on her soon as well. IMG_2530.JPG

So this morning I was ready for another strained walk around the neighborhood before delivering her to what I’m calling puppy preschool. She was doing pretty well in the walking department though so I had a chance to look at the sky. And there was something…odd. About the clouds, about the light. Something. IMG_2526.JPG

Then I looked at the tops of the cars and I realized…SNOW! EEP!IMG_2532.JPGIt may be November and it may be the South. But we can still have some snow! And in the crystal clear quality of the air, and the extra bright, sharpness of the cold itself as it worked it’s way into my bones, I felt for a moment that winter isn’t so bad after all.