Rescuing a Dog and Becoming a Foster Parent
By Stephanie Grossnickle  

I had never heard of dog “rescue”. We had dogs all of our lives -- some came from shelters, others from breeders. So when my daughter told me she wanted to “rescue” a dog, I wasn’t sure just what she meant.

Searching Petfinder, becoming familiar with local rescue groups, attending adoptathons, reading and learning and meeting people dedicated to rescue work – all of these were new experiences for me that would have a huge impact on my and my family’s lives. We adopted a dog from Furry Friends Network, a local rescue group, and this was the start of a different road on my path through life. 

After receiving e-mail messages from Furry Friends requesting help with fostering dogs, my family decided to foster a dog. What we learned about fostering is that the rescue group pays for all medical bills, food and supplies like leashes, bowls and toys, and provides support whenever you need it.  In return, all that is required of you is to provide a loving home, shelter and teach good life skills to your foster dog or cat, while also taking him or her to adoption events and to the vet, when needed.

Through the years, our family has fostered many dogs and permanently adopted one of our foster dogs. All have one thing in common…an unaltered joy in life despite some tough circumstances. These dogs have brought more goodness to their humans than any measure of goodness we could give to them. Some of our former foster dogs have become therapy dogs. Some are doing therapy in their own homes, helping children overcome the sadness connected with parents’ divorce or gently cuddling close to kids with Downs’ Syndrome. Others are regular visitors in schools or nursing homes. It’s amazing the miracles a furry friend can manage to perform.

There are so many situations where dogs and cats need that one small chance – a chance to be rescued from a shelter or leave behind life on the streets, a chance to be released from a home that is not suitable or can no longer afford to keep them, a chance to escape cruelty, a chance to know love and affection, a chance to receive life-saving vet care, a chance to have a hopeful future.

I encourage you to consider fostering or adopting a dog or cat and embarking on this life-saving mission with me. By opening your heart and home to a dog or cat in need, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, you will find rewards beyond measure by saving an animal’s life.