A Pocket Full of Love

May 5, 2011  

One tiny pit bull proves that second changes come in all sizes

By Kim Smith

I remember when I saw Pocket’s photo on a mailing that went around from the shelter to local rescues asking if someone could take her – a 5-month-old pit bull, only 5 pounds with unknown medical conditions swirling about her. My heart skipped a beat. Could Pit Bull Rescue San Diego afford to take on the medical risks? If so, I wanted to be her foster parent. There was not a question in my mind, as my heart had already taken the leap.

I’ve had little Pocket with me for four months now. She’s endured hours of tests and procedures, a DNA test, scrutiny and research all to no avail in discovering why a dog that should now be 50 – 55 pounds remains around 18 pounds at 9 months old.

I see the joy that this dog I loved to life brings to their adopters’ lives, and I always know that I’ve done the right thing in giving them up.

She comes to work with me every day and has played submissively with every dog she’s met. However, who she has really won over – as pit bulls that are allowed to be pets always do – are the people. Other than her size, she is every bit a typical pit bull – people friendly, happy, playful, cuddly and spunky. Her ever-wagging tail, apologetic nuzzling nose and stretching, reaching eager tongue beg to be acknowledged whenever someone is near. Her size just makes her seem less threatening, so she’s a wonderful advocate for her breed.

This past weekend she attended her first adoption event. She was a trooper, kissing passers-by, smiling at the children, play bowing to the other dogs and posing for photos. Little did she know the twinges of pain each happy wag of her tail caused me. She has no idea that she needs a home. That’s because I’ve done what I was supposed to as a foster parent. I’ve given her love and training and rules and security and socialization and food and shelter – in other words, a home. She has given me love and kisses and laughter and companionship, and some amount of challenge and education. This is all the part of fostering that I love; welcoming a new being into my house, making her a part of my family, watching her become healthy and well adjusted and, dare I say it: adoptable.

The worst part of fostering, for me, is what’s coming up. She has now been cleared for adoption. I know I’ll be picky – too big of a home, too small of a home, too many dogs, too few, too perfect of an application so there must be something wrong … However, I know from experience that there will eventually be an applicant that comes in that outshines the rest, that is a home better for her than I could provide. I will start to feel like maybe, just maybe, I can give her up.

People often comment to me that they couldn’t foster because it would be too hard. It’s really only the giving up part that is hard. And how can it be harder than knowing a dog died because you were afraid that giving them up would be hard? Besides, once I give her up, my heart and home will be opened again to meet the next dog I’m destined to fall in love with. And I really do fall this much in love and have my heart break every single time. However, I see the joy that this dog I loved to life brings to their adopters’ lives, and I always know that I’ve done the right thing in giving them up.

Many dogs and cats are put down for no other reason than to clear space for incoming animals. Maybe they have medical issues the shelter doesn’t have the means to treat (like the testing that was needed for Pocket), or a behavioral issue that just needs a few weeks that they don’t have time or staffing for to correct, or there is simply too many of one particular breed in that shelter at the time. For most dogs and cats, they only get that one chance to prove they have a right to live. Rescue organizations give them a second chance – a voice where they have none. While all rescues need donations to fund their operations, one of the biggest reasons that most rescues cannot rescue all the needy pit bulls out there is a lack of foster parents.

Please look into fostering homeless pit bulls in your community because that truly is a gift beyond money.

Read more about Pocket here.

Note: Pocket was adopted in to a wonderful home where her new daddy just dotes on her and brings her everywhere with him, including to work every day.

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Comments

14 Responses to “A Pocket Full of Love”
  1. lauram says:

    I’ve got tears in my eyes after reading your wonderful story. We are “fostering” a mixed breed puppy right now, that came from a high kill shelter and wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise. She will be up for adoption soon and I am trying very hard not to get attached. She has fit in well with our three rescues, but we also know that the perfect home is out there for her too. Thanks for putting into words all my conflicting emotions 🙂

  2. pbhizzy says:

    My name is Jeff, I am the luckiest reader of this article as I am the one who adopted Pocket. She is now 35 lbs and as healthy as can be. I can not even begin to put into words the joy and happiness she has brought to me. She is the sweetest love bug that I have ever had and everyone she meets instantly falls in love with her. I recently bought a new house so she has a nice back yard that she loves to play in with my roomates blue nose pit Lily. I can not thank Kim enough for rescueing Pocket and then with Pockets help they picked me. Life is good.

  3. StubbyDog says:

    @pbhizzy Thank you so much Jeff for sharing this with us and for giving Pocket such a wonderful, loving home. We think Kim and Pocket made a fantastic choice in picking you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @lauram Thanks for your kind words, I’m sure you will be able to let go of your foster when you find the perfect home for her. Bless you for fostering, it’s such an incredible thing to do.

  5. KimSmith says:

    @lauram Hi Laura – I’m the one who fostered Pocket and I’m here to tell you that all fosters have that something special that makes you wonder if they’re the one you’re supposed to keep. However if you can find that home that has that one little thing you can’t provide for this pup, then you will be able to help the next one that “wouldn’t have a chance otherwise”. I always try to keep that front of mind even through the tears that I cry when they leave my home.

  6. lauram says:

    @KimSmith Thanks Kim :), our foster is a very sweet, smart little girl who my husband and I know will make someone a great companion. In the mean time, she is getting the attention she needs–even if she is wearing our pit bull mix out, to make her that great dog. I’m sure I will cry when she leaves, but you’re right there is always another one that needs help too.

  7. woofslc says:

    This is so wonderful, as foster parent, Kim put into words so many things we all go through. So happy to read Jeff’s comments below, what a lucky dog and lucky parent! I particularly appreciate this quote from Kim’s article, “People often comment to me that they couldn’t foster because it would be too hard. It’s really only the giving up part that is hard. And how can it be harder than knowing a dog died because you were afraid that giving them up would be hard?” Fostering is indeed bittersweet, but so rewarding and I love getting updates from all of the families who have adopted dogs that pass through my home…they will always be “my kids.”

  8. skreidle says:

    @pbhizzy Hey Jeff! Just wanted to say that Pocket is adorable, and you’re fantastic for adopting her. :DOne thing that lly concerned me in the Whisper Kisses article, though–“a pesky addiction to raisins”? I hope that you’re cutting off that addiction cold turkey, since it could kill her?

  9. KimSmith says:

    That actually was a reference to a previous post called Raisin Junkie (http://whisperkisses.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/raisin-junkie/) on the dangers of eating raisins. In his adoption interview Jeff commented that he doesn’t like raisins so thankfully it’s a non-issue there. @skreidle @pbhizzy

  10. skreidle says:

    @KimSmith Oh! Okay, then. 😀

  11. StubbyDog says:

    @woofslc Thanks for your comments, foster parents, like you, are the noblest, most wonderful people to do what you do. Giving love and a home to a dog in need and then finding them the perfect home. And then, doing it all over again. All the while, finding it so rewarding.

  12. pitbull friend says:

    I agree! I’ve tried so many times to communicate that idea, but I’ve never managed to phrase it as beautifully & gracefully as Kim did. What beautiful writing! @woofslc

  13. mac_naughton says:

    I am going to use that terminology for fostering, as I get that question about fostering and volunteering. Risking the urge to take them all home and keep them is worth it, in comparison to doing nothing to help. My brother has decided my dog Abbie and I are superheroes to heal and help the fosters and send them on to forever homes. As long as I look at it like that, it makes me smile…and we need to get capes!

  14. StubbyDog says:

    @mac_naughton Anybody who fosters are superheroes in our book! Cape or no cape. 🙂