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You too can be a foster parent to a cute puppy
Kate Whitney

As an avid animal lover, I just can’t seem to keep my mind off our furry friends.

I have always loved animals. When I was younger I wore a sweatshirt that read “Animal Doctor” because it was my dream to become a veterinarian.  When I was six year old, I got my first kitten and shortly after my dad surprised me with a white pony for Christmas.  I had two cats growing up, they both passed away last year, but I still have my pony. 

One thing I’ve learned about animals is that they can live a long time. This is something to remember when considering if having a pet is the right choice for you…remember that they are a big responsibility and can be expensive, so make sure you are ready before you take the plunge! 

It’s been almost eighteen years since I got the pony for Christmas, and he’s still hanging out in the backyard (thanks to my parents who took care of him while I was away at college!)  After my two cats passed away, I rescued two new kitties who are both amazing.  Brady was found in a cemetery when he was about three months old, and Bella was found in a parking lot when she was two months old.  Finally, the newest addition to the group, Dash, a twelve week old, chocolate lab/retriever mix puppy was rescued from Virginia.

In addition to my love for animals, I’ve also always loved to do volunteer, non-profit work.  I have combined my love of animals with my desire to do non-profit, and I’ve recently joined up with an organization called One Tail at a Time Rescue out of Haverhill. This rescue organization was founded by Meg Reynolds of Haverhill. I have never met anyone with a bigger heart than Meg.  She makes finding rescued puppies homes, her full-time job.

This new passion of mine became a reality when I happened to see a woman at the vet’s office with a beautiful little puppy. I asked where she got the puppy and she told me she found it on petfinder.com. So one day, I thought I might just check out petfinder.com….and the rest if history! This is a fabulous website where the viewer can browse through thousands of homeless pets. 

I stumbled upon the group called One Tail at a Time Rescue and saw that they needed foster homes so I thought I would inquire. The next thing I knew, I was filling out a “foster” application.

Being a “foster home” means providing a safe, loving, temporary home for a puppy or dog, while the rescue reviews applications for adoption. Usually the puppy is in your home for only a few days, maybe a week. Most of the time it’s very temporary.  

After I returned the application, I received an email that said I could have a puppy “tomorrow” to foster. One thing led to another and I found myself waiting in my car outside Main Street Animal Hospital in Haverhill. 

While I was waiting for Meg to arrive, I felt both nervous and excited at the same time. Not only did my parents (I still live at home) have no idea about my new venture, but I had never done something like this before.

When Meg finally arrived, she brought me to the back room of the animal hospital. There in the metal crate, were three adorable puppies with their tails wagging.  “Which one do you want…Pick one” she said. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to choose one puppy over the other, they were all so precious! The doctor came in and advised me to take the calmer dog, considering this was my first time.  I thought that was great advice; therefore I chose the lab/retriever female puppy named “Red”. 

When I got home my mom and dad practically fell on the floor when they saw me walking in carrying this adorable little puppy. They panicked because they thought this was my own puppy, and they didn’t think I needed anymore pets. After I assured them that we were just fostering her for a few days, their heart-rate became normal again.

As each day went by, I fell more and more in love with Red. I took her everywhere, she was my little buddy. I called Meg and told her I wanted to keep Red, that I would do anything to adopt her. She told me that there was already an application in for her and that everyone always loves the first foster dog and wants to adopt. She told me to be patient and to keep fostering and maybe one day I would find another I would want to keep. On the fourth day of fostering Red, I received a call from Meg. who said she needed to meet because Red was going to her new adoptive family. 

I cried driving to meet Meg, I cried as I handed Red over, I cried as I drove home, and I even cried that night.  I was so sad.A week passed and I received another call from Meg. “I have another puppy for you,” she said.  My heart was racing during the whole car-ride to meet her. I had such a great experience with Red that I couldn’t wait to foster again.

Meg opened the back of her Explorer, SUV and there were about five dog crates inside,filled with the cutest puppies I had ever seen. She handed me a black lab named Brandy.The story that follows is the same story as with Red. -Brandy was a great dog, such a sweetheart.  I actually went to the adoption when Brandy was meeting her new parents. Since I had lived with her for a week, I was able to give them an inside look as to what Brandy liked, didn’t like, and what her habits were..  And, just as I did with Red, I cried as I drove away.

My third foster experience had a bit of a different ending, however, this time I kept her.  Dash, a 12wk old chocolate lab/retriever mix, is now a permanent part of my family. I love her,  and I’m still fostering today.  Right now I have 8 wk old Patsy and Penny, also some of the cutest puppies I have ever seen.

The best part about fostering is receiving pictures and updates from the adoptive families after they have moved on. You become so attached to these puppies that it makes you happy to see what a great life they have.

These puppies are rescued from a very “high-kill” shelter in Virginia. If it wasn’t for Meg, these puppies would most likely have been euthanized. The dogs know the tough past they’ve had, and all they wish is for a safe and love-filled future. There is nothing better than coming home and seeing their tails wagging, eager to give you big, wet kisses!

Next month: How you can foster a puppy (or adopt a puppy that is already in a foster home), tips on how to care for your pet and advice on the best way to keep up on your puppy’s health.

For more information about adopting or becoming a foster puppy you can email Kate at kwswingrite@aol.com

 *Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The December 2007 Edition of the Valley Patriot
The Valley Patriot is a Monthly Publication.
All Contents (C) 2007
, Valley Patriot, Inc.
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