Monday, July 26, 2010

Dreams Be Dreams

I guess that I'll start off by saying that I've always wanted to foster dogs. In the past, not only would my parents not allow it, but I was also sure that I'd never be able to foster a dog and actually give him or her up when it was time to. Over the years, I've come to realize that I won't be "giving up" anything. I'll be giving a dog a chance. Some of these dogs just need time. That's all. By fostering, I can give them those extra weeks or months that they might need to find the perfect home. What could be more gratifying than that? I won't deny that giving up an animal you've bonded with is going to be hard... but it's totally worth the tears. Every single one of them.

Throughout my 23 years here on this earth, I've been known to gravitate towards dogs. It seems like they gravitate towards me, too! I'm a dog person. Through and through. I just get along with them. For the most part, we get each other. As a child, I was always returning lost dogs to their homes... and usually fuming about how their owners were not being careful enough. I still get mad when I bring dogs home and don't get receive the gratefulness that I'd offer if someone returned my dog. Half of the people don't even seem phased that the dog went missing in the first place. I'd be beside myself...

The passion grew even stronger when I attended a boarding school in Costa Rica. It's like a smorgasbord for someone who likes to rescue dogs! They were everywhere... and most of them were extremely malnourished, covered in fleas and ticks, and pretty scared of people. The streets and beaches of the more rural parts of Costa Rica are no place for a stray dog. A lot of people don't treat them very well. Anyway, along with a few other dog lovers, quite a few strays made our school's campus their permanent residency. They were all vaccinated, bathed (many times!), spayed or neutered, and fattened up! When it was time to leave school, each person took "their" dog home. Most of us claimed a certain dog as our own. Jackson was mine. And Jackson is perfect. He's sleeping in my bed right now with his head on the pillow like a little person. There's nothing better than a rescued mutt!

A few months after I lost my childhood dog, Gonzo, Brody came into my life. He was the result of a pregnant stray. Needless to say, I was more than willing to give him a home. I got kicked out of my dad's house because I wouldn't "get rid of the puppy". Although Brody was a little demon puppy, I'm still glad that I didn't budge in my decision of keeping him. He had to go out usually twice an hour. I was up quite a few times throughout the night! I got very little sleep. Sometimes he had these "episodes" and barked and snapped at me and wouldn't let me near him. He chewed on EVERYTHING. Who knew that raising a puppy was so hard?! I had to constantly watch him. It was a rough time... but now he's a really good boy. He still occasionally wreaks havoc, but he's potty-trained to perfection, gets along with dogs and cats, is awesome with kids, super sweet, and really just a character! I wouldn't trade the little rat for the world.

Not long after getting Brody, Princess came into my life. She was a Pit Bull... maybe a mix of some sort... that found her way into the barn where I worked at the time. She was so hungry that she was rummaging through the horses' supplements. She was very thin and covered in fleas... but as sweet as could be. If I could have had another dog at the time, I would have kept her in a heartbeat. She was extremely gentle and sweet. She was great with dogs... even Brody... even though he was only a few months old and tiny. She was very shy when it came to being around men, though. I had to walk each dog separately. Brody was just learning how to walk on a leash, so I couldn't walk him with Jackson. Princess probably had never been walked on a leash before and pulled like a train! One by one, each one got walked. It was like it was time to walk another one by the time I got back with the last! Princess handled walking around in the city quite well. While she was very scared of men, she never once growled or snapped at anyone. After having her for about a week, one of my friends found a home for Princess. She's now fat, spoiled, and happy! She trashed any negative comment anyone should ever have towards a Pit Bull. She was fabulous.

Then there was Benji. Benji's owners were not taking care of him. He pretty much lived inside of a crate... or tied up to tree all day. He wasn't receiving the proper care that a young dog needs. He was getting a can of Alpo a day or something... which is clearly not enough food for a puppy... not to mention the fact that Alpo is probably one of the worst foods you can feed your dogs. My roommate and I took Benji in, got some weight on him, and started searching for a new home for him. We already have 3 dogs, so it was difficult to add another one to the mix. We definitely had our days when we wanted to rip our hair out with 3 very active 6-month-old puppies! But... still... I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. My friend got me in touch with a local dog rescue, K9 Justice League, and they so kindly found Benji a home! We had him for a few months and had no luck with finding him a home. We clearly needed someone who had a little more experience in finding homes for dogs! Benji now has a good home, and I couldn't be happier. My roommate and I cried when we had to part with him, but we were happy that he'd have a good home at the same time.

I've kept in touch with Jessica from the K9 Justice League through Facebook for awhile now. I told her that I could foster, but I ended up not being able to due to not knowing about my living situation. Now, however, I've made it so I have 6 more months in the house I'm in. So... I'm finally ready to offer my home and my heart to a foster dog by the end of August! I'm extremely excited to finally be a part of this. I'm ready for the end of August now...

I'm currently housing two kittens. I already have 3 cats, so I can't keep these two. My friend keeps her horse at her friend's house, and she discovered that there was a mother and two kittens a couple months ago. I went to feed her horse one night and discovered that there are more than two kittens! They are... 5 more... I think. Maybe 4? I'm not sure. I caught two of the kittens. They were sick when I first brought them home, but they are quickly regaining their health! Time to start looking for homes for these two. I'll miss the buggers... but there's no way that I can keep 5 cats! That's 5 too many! No... I'm kidding. I love my cats. But someone else out there needs these little kittens to touch their lives.

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