This is an inspirational story of new beginnings. After a man lost his beloved dog, he decided to begin fostering rescue dogs as a way to heal and get past his grief. His choice would take him down an unexpected and surprising path….
“This story begins with the death of my best friend. This is me and him on Black Friday of 2013. 6 months later he’d leave me for good and leave a huge hole in my heart,” writes numbersnut on Imgur.
“I had previously committed to helping a local rescue before my dog’s death, but I never followed through. Afterwards, I was in a tailspin and decided that it was now or never and I filled out an application to become a foster doggy daddy.”
He thought it would take a month for them to get back to him, but he got a call the very next day and was interviewed.
“They wanted to start my foster journey with this cute puppy, who was still in the rescue system because she would bark too much at adoption events,” he wrote. “Nobody wants a yippy dog.”
“I wanted to say I wasn’t ready but I couldn’t say ‘no’. Having another dog in the house proved to be greatly therapeutic to me. It allowed me to keep much of my daily routine like walks, feeding time, etc. It wasn’t the same as it was with my old buddy and I ached for him, but she did her very best to ease the pain. She did a good job. She wasn’t ‘my’ dog, she was ‘this’ dog, and this dog needed a home.”
A month into his rescue efforts he got a text message with a picture telling him there were “two hound dogs that had been dumped at the pound and were at risk”.
“I could handle a Chihuahua mix in my home; but I wasn’t ready for another hound, much less two. I asked the rescue to find someone else if they could, but to let me know if they couldn’t. Two days later I got another text saying these boys still needed help and I agreed to take them in.”
“When I got the dogs they were malnourished, covered in ticks, and had infections in their wounds after being neutered. They also had sores on their hips and elbows from spending so much time outside on concrete.”
“This dog would choose the hard tile even though a memory foam doggy bed was less than 5 feet away. It drove me crazy!”
“I had gone from my dog, to no dog, to a dog, to all these dogs; all in a very short period of time. It turned out my original foster was terrified of her big brothers, but she quickly grew to love them. After all, she’s part hound herself with the Dachshund mix so she ought to fit right in. She quickly took the role of ‘Big Sister’ and did her very best with her ‘little’ brothers.”
“She taught Gus how to sleep on a bed…”
“And he would protect her at the adoption events. She was much calmer now that she had her big brother with her and she soon started getting a lot of looks for the first time.”
Soon, his first foster dog would catch the eye of a young couple who saw her “for what a gem” she was and they adopted her.
“It was bitter-sweet to say goodbye. I couldn’t save my dog, but I helped save this dog.” He wore sunglasses when saying goodbye, something he says is necessary equipment for foster caregivers. “Crying is inevitable, but I didn’t want the adoptive parents to feel like they were taking something from me,” he said. “Of course they were, but they were taking something that I wanted to give them.”
“A couple of weeks later another awesome family adopted my hound. In this picture we are saying goodbye. And that’s all I have to say about that.”
“In a calculated plot to make this experience even harder he jumped up and put his paws on my shoulders. I got the best hug of my life from him. Again, sunglasses are key at adoption events.”
“I was now down to the redbone coonhound. A dog I’ve wanted for 30 years since reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” for the first time, and I now had a version of Old Dan in my life. Over the months I was slowly beginning to realize that this dog had already found his home.”
“So I took my foster to another adoption event but this time I got selfish and adopted him for myself. In the rescue system this is called a ‘foster failure’ as my adopting the dog theoretically ties up a spot that could have gone to another rescue. But in reality this dog has helped me in my efforts to rescue more dogs, something that I couldn’t sustain without him.”
“I think he was happy with my choice.”
“To this day me and him are still actively involved with fostering; sometimes we have 3 or 4 dogs living with us at a time, each with different issues. He has been instrumental in all of their rehabilitations as well as healing my own heart. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.”
For this man, fostering changed his life and healed his heart. “If your heart and home has room, please considering fostering a dog or cat,” he wrote. “Just remember your sunglasses.”
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