When I volunteered with West Coast Canada Pug Rescue to be a foster mom, I never expected it to be as enriching, raw, and enlightening as it has been so far. Although it had moments when my heart sank with sadness because I got attached to some of the foster puggies I had to let go, overall fostering dogs has been a really wonderful experience. I truly think there are things that you can only explain as pure love. If it does not make you a better person, it is not love. Now I’ll tell you guys a bit more about it.
My first foster pug was Phoebe Lu (we called her Lulu so there wouldn’t be any identity issues with our own Phoebe). She was truly like a baby - all she did was eat, poop, and sleep all day, but she was extremely sweet and a lovely companion to Phoebe. It was thanks to Lulu that we started to let Phoebe out of her crate while we were at work. We spent a few months taking care of her, until she found her forever home. Saying bye to Lulu wasn’t easy; I cried for hours because I was letting her go after giving each other so much love, even though we knew she’d be with a good family and they would make her happy. So, that was the moment when I learned my first lesson: Fostering wasn't about me, it was about helping as many dogs as we could in finding their forever homes.
I remember my husband Alex telling me that if I wanted to continue fostering other dogs, I would have to understand it was a temporary thing. Of course this is easier said than done, right? But we were really happy about Lulu’s new family, especially because we knew them from the pug meetings. They had a senior pug who passed away a few months before they decided to adopt her, so I knew they'd be perfect for each other. The fact that we knew them allowed us to keep seeing her during the meetings and we also got the chance to have her with us again as her doggy sitters a couple of times while her new parents went on vacations. Was it hard to let her go? Definitely! But it was a win-win experience. In the end, when it comes to fosters, a “goodbye” is always a happy ending because you know someone else’s home will be complete.
I discovered new and amazing things with every foster dog we had. Each of them was very unique and had their own charming personality. I smile every time I remember how much fun I’ve had with all of them (Brando, Daisy, Pugsy, Alex, Ozzy... to name a few), and how hard they all made me laugh. I also learned that being a foster mommy helped me develop my “canine sense”. And of course it would! We are all clear that they are capable of expressing their feelings and what they want or do not want, so by getting to know each of them, I got more familiar with their necessities as individuals and was able to identify the right thing to do, according to each of their personalities.
But there are two foster ladies that have a special place in my heart besides Lulu. The first is Bella. I got so terribly attached to her that she was almost a foster failure. She had a jolly personality and it seemed like she was always smiling. And our Phoebe… Bella loved her so much that it seemed to me like maternal love. It was actually the first time I saw Phoebe interacting that much with another dog. It made me realize that when bringing a foster dog home, your own doggie also benefits. They start to improve their social skills with other pets, which ends up helping them with their behaviour and temper. No doubt Bella won our hearts and made a huge impact in our home.
It's time to talk about the second lady: Our Bubbles! She simply stole our hearts! We fell in love with her so hard that we ended up adopting her and now she is Phoebe’s sister. Her story is a bit rough - like many other dogs she was abused, abandoned, and scared. It was an experience beyond words to see her coming out of her shell and starting to put her trust in us, turning into a loving new member of our family.
Although I have to admit that everything wasn't always perfect, fostering was an amazing and life changing experience and I’m glad I got the opportunity to help some pugs on their path to their new families. It’s all about being there for them during the transition, providing them with love and support while they find a new forever home that will give them all the love and caring they deserve.
It breaks my heart knowing that so many wonderful dogs are abandoned for whatever reason, and this experience also taught me that, for the most part, the dogs are excellent; it is the people who have failed them. And still, the dogs do not give up – even if the previous owners treated them badly, they still will love you if you give them a second chance. So think about the ways you can help dogs in need, and please consider fostering if that's an option for you. Believe me - you won’t regret it!