I’ve always loved dogs, been passionate about rescue, and wanted to do what I could to help. I started volunteering with Gateway Pet Guardians (IG @gatewaypets) when I moved to St. Louis in 2016, walking shelter dogs. Then I became more involved and started doing photography for the adoptables at GPG. Eventually, I convinced my husband to do a “slumber pawty,” or temporary foster, for a dog whose foster had to go out of town for the weekend. It was a nice way to ease into it without committing to an unknown dog for an unknown amount of time. After a couple slumber pawties, I finally got the go-ahead to do a full time foster. And I loved it, so we kept doing it, with a couple weeks break in between. I think the most important thing is to find a rescue that you believe in. Dogs will come and go, but the policies and people that you work with are permanent.
Just try it. You’ll never feel totally ready. You’ll always be a little scared you’re going to foster fail (aka adopt your foster.) You’ll always wonder if it’s the right time, right dog, right organization. But even if you do it once and never again, you’ve saved a life. Even if you choose to do it once every few months, you’re making a difference. Even if you have a bad experience and have to return a dog, you’ve given the rescue valuable notes about how the dog acts in a certain environment. And if your worst fear is that you foster fail, well, I can think of worse things than a dog finding a family to love them forever. Finding the right organization to foster for is essential, because there are rescues out there that try to use guilt and manipulation to keep a dog in a foster home that just isn’t working. And that just adds stress to the people and the dogs. One thing I love about GPG is their realistic and non-judgmental approach to placing fosters. Not every dog works in every home - and that’s perfectly fine. But at the end of the day, you’re making families. And that is the best feeling. My heart is never happier than when I see my fosters go to their forever home.
- THE FUN STUFF -