I wasn’t expecting to find anything special at the Pet Expo in February of last year. Maybe just a few toys and treats for our Molly, our resident Golden that we rescued as a wedding present from my husband a few years prior. When I caught sight of the Roger’s Rescue booth on the way out, I thought to myself why not look at some volunteer opportunities. Here was my chance to serve needs bigger than my own.
After I completed my online training, I joined the ranks of the phone interview and home visit team. Being a human resources professional by trade, I thought it would be a nice fit. As I learned about fostering from the other members, I remember thinking to myself what an incredibly admirable, special thing to do. Yet, the very thought of it made my heart ache. How could I bring such a loving creature into my home and my life only to have to give it up? I had a certain comfort zone that I just didn’t like to step out of; it just wasn’t me.
Fast forward to one Saturday in August. I was laying in bed watching Molly thrash around wildly with a rope toy in her mouth. Suddenly, I got to thinking, can anyone ever have too much of a good thing? I answered my question with a resounding no and thought maybe it’s time to consider a sibling for my little girl.
Having gravitated towards Goldens all my life, naturally I began to explore my options with Golden rescue groups. No luck. Our yard was too small to satiate all that crazy energy. I guess nobody believed that I would stick to an exercise plan either. Hello people! Did I mention that I do dog rescue?
Have you ever been so focused on something that you forget to notice what’s right in front of you? What was stopping me from pulling a dog from one of our shelters? Could I step out of my element long enough to see the life that I would be saving, right from my own rescue? Could I learn to love and cherish a dog that was completely foreign to me? I was about to find out.
When I came across his picture on Petfinder, I was immediately taken by his warm smile, beautiful multi-colored coat and stunning amber eyes. His name was Tonto and he was a 3-year old, 70 lb husky mix. I had agreed to take him on as a foster at first, with the hope that ours would eventually be his forever home.
As we waited there for the PAWS van on that beautiful October afternoon, the anticipation and questions in my head were overwhelming. Would he get along with Molly? How would he take to his new environment? Could we nurture him enough to help him grow into a thriving part of our family? Most importantly, would I be able to let him go if it didn’t work out?
Nearly 3 months and a dozen accidents later (throw in some ripped blinds for good measure too), Buddy (fka Tonto) is officially ours. Simply put, it just felt right. Maybe it was Buddy’s love of snuggling as if to say thank you for loving me and saving my life. Actually, he (and Molly of course) saved mine. Thank you, Roger’s Rescues!
So, what did I learn from this experience? Fostering is an emotional investment, but the reality of it is that you are changing the world for these creatures that fill your life with unconditional love unlike anything you’ve ever known. Whether they’re with you 1 week, 1 year or a lifetime, those pawprints will be forever imprinted in your heart.