Last year I lost Molly, my 13 year old Newfoundland, to
cancer. I had been considering
adopting another dog for a couple years, but with Molly getting older and less
tolerant of other dogs, I knew it was best to wait. Molly passed away on July 1, 2011 exactly 13 years to the
day that I brought her home as a puppy.
She was an amazing, beautiful, sweet tempered, loving and gentle
dog. Everyone who knew Molly loved
her. I brought Tucker, my male
Newfoundland, home in the summer of 2003 when Molly was around 5. From the moment he laid eyes on her, he
wanted to be best friends. He
adored her to pieces. She,
however, had been the princess for 5 years prior to his arrival, so it took her
a couple years before she truly accepted him.
After we lost Molly, Tucker was at a total loss. He had never known life in our home without his sister. My big boy would only eat if hand fed, he was sad and lonely and wasn’t used to being home alone when I was out. I had planned on waiting a few months before adopting, but we both were so lonely without her, that I started looking through Petfinder on a daily basis.
Eventually we met “Sheila” at All 4 Paws Rescue in Chester Springs. She was a young hound mix of some sort. She was underweight at about 35 pounds, had just weaned a litter of puppies and was recovering from some health issues. I had not even considered looking at “small” dogs but was drawn to her right away. She seemed to take to Tucker immediately and followed him around as he explored the fenced in area we were in. I spent about an hour talking with her foster mom and decided “Sheila” would be our new addition. Sheila became Bella (or Belly as I more often call her) and within a week of feeling each other out, she and Tucker became best of friends. She brought back his spunk and he was happy again. They would spend hours running and wrestling throughout the house.
I knew that All 4 Paws Rescue was looking for foster homes and I was interested in helping out. What really convinced me was the look Bella would give me as she laid her head on me at night. You could see the gratitude in her eyes. It was like she was saying “thank you for filling my belly, giving me a warm, safe place to sleep and for showing me what being loved is.” This made me want to do everything I could to make sure other homeless animals would be able to “say” the same thing. It breaks my heart to think of so many animals out there that have never heard a kind word or had a gentle hand pet them.
I took in my first foster a few weeks after Bella arrived. Harper had just arrived from Kentucky where he was found wandering down a highway, covered head to toe in tar and seriously underweight. Apparently, he had been the guardian of a herd of goats and when the farm was sold, he was left behind. He had never been fixed, was not housetrained, was scared of the car, cowered whenever he saw a leash and had never been properly socialized. He had been shaved down to get as much tar out of his fur as possible. He was one big, sad looking boy. For the first couple of days, Harper either sat or lay on top of me. He was fearful, yet starving for affection. He was so emotionally needy and insecure that it broke my heart. I found out very quickly that he was eager to please, which made him easy to housetrain.
Eventually my second foster, Buster, came to stay with
us. He was a 1-2 year old boxer
mix. He fit right in and was not
only adorable and sweet, but obedient as well. He was eager to please and loved to run and play with the other
dogs. At night, he was happy crawling under the covers and snuggling up next to
me. Not long after that, Buster
was taken to an adoption event and found his forever home. As sad as I was to let him go, I was
thrilled that he now had a family and a canine brother to call his own. The timing was good as Tucker was
being treated for lymphoma and between caring for him and concern about his
compromised immune system we took a break from fostering.
By the end of the year Tucker was in remission and we got
the OK to resume fostering. This
time, I brought home my first foster cat.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed having cats in the house. This cat was only with us a week and
was adopted by friends who are great pet parents! My second foster cat came the day he left and has spent a
few weeks with us, but now also has an adopter. I believe we are off to a great start to 2012!!