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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.