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4-Legged Foster Care and the Military

Updated on April 1, 2016
Once I had them I couldn't let them go!
Once I had them I couldn't let them go! | Source
Dash and Violet are brother and sister, both from the same litter, both are deaf.
Dash and Violet are brother and sister, both from the same litter, both are deaf. | Source
They are trained to basic hand signals and are the best dogs I have ever owned.  They love when I bring in new fosters for them to play with!
They are trained to basic hand signals and are the best dogs I have ever owned. They love when I bring in new fosters for them to play with! | Source

4-Legged Foster Care

It’s difficult to sum up the gratification one gains from being a foster parent to a 4-legged friend looking.

For many years I have been a furry foster parent to friends in transition. The countless lives that have crossed the threshold of my humble home warm my heart. The transformation from sad, nameless, homeless face behind bars to tail wagging- prancing about excitedly is well worth all the stained carpets.

The rescue I volunteered with received an owner turn in from a soldier being deployed. Unfortunately, this is all too common. “Joey” is a beautiful fawn two year old male boxer with a white mask and black circled eyes made him look like a raccoon. His white paws looked as though they were dipped in paint so he appeared to have socks on. His tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth as he proudly sat attached to the leash for which he was delivered on. Joey is completely unaware that his owner will be leaving without him. For all he knows they are on a journey to make new friends. As I glanced from pet to owner, the look on Joey’s humans face was filled with sorrow and regret as his deployment takes place the next morning. My heart aches for them both.

Sadly, in these days and times of economic challenges the number of pet owner turns ‘ins’ is astounding. Families losing their homes, soldiers being deployed and then there are those who don’t have the time or patience to properly care for the animal they chose to bring into their lives. I don’t know of a shelter or animal rescue organization that is not filled to the rim with lost souls.

There is more to taking care of an animal than meets the eye. As a foster parent, it is our responsibility not only to choose the right forever family for the pets we foster but to ensure these families are educated on how to properly care for them. What many don’t realize is that dogs in-particular share the same anxieties as humans. They sense fear and danger, they don’t like to be left alone and some suffer from separation anxiety. They know when you are happy or sad and stay by your side when things don’t feel right. What better friend could you ask for?

For my family foster care is a time for bonding. To this day, my adult sons and their friends still bring in homeless pets. Some they keep, but others they place in new forever homes. Pet rescue is a great way to install the importance of caring for another living creature in your child at a young age. Every time I see my brood help a sick or injured animal it fills my eyes with tears, my heart with joy.

There really needs to be a bigger push for foster programs across the United States, ideally ones that would foster short term for soldiers would be idyllic. This would help alleviate the number of owner turn “ins” as they would be coming home to their best friends after laying their lives on the line to ensure our freedoms. It could also be a great way for rescue programs registered as charitable organizations to collect donations as I am fairly certain many soldiers would be more than willing to pay knowing their pets would be waiting for them. All rescues continually have openings for new foster parents for Military short term or long term foster care.

The sense of giving back to the community and the rewards to be reaped goes without saying. Imagine how elated our soldiers would be to know that when they returned they would be reunited with their best friends. For some, their pets are all they have; right now their only option is to surrender them. I couldn’t imagine how empty I would feel without my little balls of joy bounding about. The look on their faces when I walk through the door makes a bad day go away.

Animals are amazing companions, loyal to the proverbial bone. All they want is our love in exchange for their undying loyalty. Why can’t the same be given in return, even if just for a short while? Please consider opening your hearts and your homes to help others, especially those who risk their lives to secure the freedoms enjoy as Americans.

Remember; Adopt a Pet – Save a Life.

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