When Saying Goodbye is Good

July 17, 2012  

A dog and cat foster shares her rewarding experiences

By Sara McClurg

I have been a volunteer at Liberty Humane Society (LHS) in New Jersey for a year now, and I have been fortunate enough to have fostered three amazing animals within the year!

The first one that I fostered was a 3-week-old bottle-fed kitten (Caesar); the second was a younger and energetic dog (Pasha); and the third was a 3-year-old dog (Pinky). Each foster was a completely different experience, and I learned so much through each experience!

Raising a bottle-fed a kitten is truly an amazing experience. That kitten depends on you for everything, and you develop such a bond when you are bottle feeding. At first, I had to feed him using a syringe/eye dropper because he couldn’t figure out how to drink from the bottle. The day that he finally learned to drink out of the bottle was so exciting! I got very lucky – Caesar found his forever home with one of my closest friends, so I still get to visit him!

Fostering a dog is another amazing experience, and I had two great and different experiences with the dogs that I fostered.

Pasha was a super energetic pup that desperately needed to get out of LHS. She was around 10 months when we fostered her, and she definitely had puppy-like energy. She was such a cuddler and an awesome player! I truly enjoyed training and working with her and seeing the incredible improvements that she made over the 1.5 months that we had her in our home. Pasha came to us not housebroken or crate trained and needed to learn both obedience and basic commands. We worked on all of these with her, and she learned so quickly. We met her forever family when we were taking a walk at night (with her “Adopt Me” vest on – always!). Her “mom” fell in love with her at first sight! Letting Pasha go was possibly one of the hardest things to do. I was sobbing days before she was even gone, and it took me awhile after she was gone to get used to life without a dog! But I still get updates about Pasha from her mom, along with pictures and stories of things that they love to do together!

Pinky was my most recent foster. She was a very long-term resident at LHS. She had been there for seven months without a break. When she was at LHS, she was super energetic and very jumpy. I wanted to take Pinky just for a week (while my boyfriend was away on business) to see if I could not only give her a break from the shelter, but also to learn a little about her. Pinky was amazing in my apartment. If we were ready to adopt a dog at this point, she would have been mine in a minute. She was calm, well behaved and housetrained! She didn’t chew anything, didn’t go to the bathroom on the floor or in her crate and didn’t whine or bark. She was truly amazing! She was so good that I begged my boyfriend to keep her for just one more week until we moved – who could say no to that face? Pinky found her new foster home through me fostering her and doing a write-up of her, which was posted on Facebook. She is currently in a foster home (they will potentially adopt her if things work out with her and the resident animals!). I also still get updates and pictures of Pinky!

Advice for volunteers/fosters: Fostering is possibly the best thing that you can do for the animals at a shelter. No matter the amount of time – one day or three months – fostering gives the animal a break to get some love and some training, as well. It helps to learn certain qualities about the animal that there is no way to know in a shelter situation. I can’t help but keep thinking that if I didn’t foster Pinky, she may still be sitting in her crate at the shelter because no one knew how truly amazing and special she was.

I know that a lot of people don’t foster because they say that it will be too hard to give the animal up, and it is difficult – very difficult. But the reward that you get from helping the animal and giving him or her love and finding that animal a forever home by far outweighs the difficulty of letting the animal go.

Fostering both dogs and cats is an amazing experience, and I look forward to fostering many more!

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6 Responses to “When Saying Goodbye is Good”
  1. Gorgeous, all of them! Thank you for the foster work that you do. You’ve clearly made a difference in their lives! 

    • StubbyDog says:

      annedreshfield She sure has Anne, we are just loving all these amazing foster stories. 

  2. lesterini6 says:

    What a wonderful story!  I myself am a genuine foster FAILURE of pit bulls three times over!  I just can’t let them go once they capture my heart (which is in about 30 seconds!).  I admire that you are able to let go of one to make room for another.  It takes a strong person to do that.  Thanks for being a foster mom success story!

  3. Matt.S says:

    You’re just full of all-purpose love! Bottle feeding a kitten and the two different yet equally wonderful dog foster situations. Thank you for what you do.