“Dogs have a way of finding the people that need them… Filling an emptiness we don’t even know we have.” -Thorn Jones

I started fostering dogs in January 2015. It was hard. Courtland (my fiance) wanted to kill me (at first). I asked myself things like “what was I thinking?”, “how can I afford another dog?”, and “how in the world can I give this animal enough attention?”. My first foster was with me from January-April. That’s four months. Four months of picking up dog poop, feeding an extra animal and listening to her squeal in her crate at 3 a.m. Four months of puppy kisses, cuddles and barks. Four months of love. Four months of saving an animal’s life.

You see… shelters can only hold so many dogs. Owner-surrender dogs are the first euthanized. I am a foster for the SPCA and I see puppies and dogs on my Facebook page every day. The status reads “scheduled for euth Monday… can anyone save her?”. There are about 100 fosters on the private page. About 10 of us constantly step up to save these precious animals. These rescue groups can only pull a dog from a shelter once they have a foster, so it is critical that a foster steps up quickly in order to save an innocent life.

What I didn’t know was that the animals would save me. I thought I was saving them. I was giving them a second chance at life, but really they were teaching me. The biggest lesson they taught me was how to lose something I love. I have become attached to each of my fosters. I cry almost every time one of them is adopted. I have had as many as three at any given time. I feed them and love them and teach them. Then I lose them. Fortunately, I lose them to their “furever” home. It’s hard and it hurts, but at the end of the day, I am so happy for them.

So, what does this have to do with the loss of my little boy? Well, I lost my little boy to his forever home as well. It hurts because I am no longer able to carry him or feel him, but it’s a joyful thing because he is happy and perfect and no longer in pain. Sure, I would have been a great mommy. I would have fed him and loved him and taught him, but I find peace in the fact that God is taking care of those things for me now.

I offered to foster a beautiful dog the day before I found out things with our little boy weren’t good. I immediately regretted it. I thought “there is no way I can focus on a dog after something like this”. I was wrong. Rosie was an owner-surrender and scheduled for euthanasia June 30 (the day our world spiraled out of control). She was clearly abused and scared. She is the sweetest dog I have come to foster. She cuddles with me and gives me kisses and plays with our dogs. She loves me fully. I am attached. I drop her off every Saturday for adoptions and secretly pray it’s not the last time I see her. She has saved me.

I know that taking on an extra responsibility is scary. I know that it is overwhelming and sometimes annoying. But, if you have a love for animals, please consider fostering. It is a beautiful way to learn things you never knew about yourself. It is a fun way to teach your kids responsibility. It is the perfect way to find out if you are ready to commit to an animal for the rest of their life.

The SPCA is struggling. They need fosters. They need you. If you can feed them and give them a place to stay until they find their “furever” home, I promise you will not regret it. If you are interested, please reach out to me or the SPCA. Fostering will change you. The animals will save you.

“On the fence about fostering? I would rather cry watching them leave our home to live a life of happiness and joy in a loving home than cry because no one stepped up to help them and they died alone, frightened and sad in the shelter. Fostering saves lives. Try it!”