Wednesday, 24 April 2013

It's Official, We're Fosterers!

Sometimes in life we’re lucky enough to have the things we decide we’ll ‘do one day’ become the things we’re doing today. We'd talked about fostering dogs but we clearly needed a little push in the right direction.
Saskia, in the car on the way home

Our push came through a chance encounter. We met three huskies, one of whom it transpired was a Miortok Rescue foster Husky. This lovely dog was saved from being put to sleep and given another chance, living with her fosterer until she found her forever home. Al and I decided we  were lucky enough to be at a point in our lives where we could offer this kind of help and foster a dog needing a home. We then contacted Miortok who gave us oodles of advice, and let me talk through my multitude of concerns.

Dogs will need fostering for a variety of reasons, although the aim behind fostering is to look after rescue dogs in a home environment until their forever home can be found. In some cases a dogs stay with a foster family will be short, but many dogs will have a lengthy stay until their perfect family can be found. 

I'm pretty good at worrying, I have it down to a fine art, so when it came to adding another dog to our happy pack it took some thinking about. I imagined myself in a chaotic house, my dogs unhappy, feeling out of my depth and wondering why I had been so arrogant to have thought I’d be a good fosterer. Luckily I have a husband who, used to my wobbles told me to man up, and that we’d be fine. We have been, he was right… just don’t tell him that.

On our walk before meeting the boys
Now I had decided to help, to hear I couldn’t would have been heartbreaking. We now just had the hurdle of a home check which although terrirfying came and went and was absolutely fine. A lovely lady came and chatted with us about our dogs, looked at the set up we had, and talked about all the practicalities of our fostering a dog, and the levels of care we could offer. She was a huge hit with Barry & Mars, they’re a sucker for anyone with treats in their pockets!

After she left we just had to wait to hear back from Miortok... I was allowed to breathe out later that day when I heard we passed our home check.

One day later we were winging our way to the pound to pick up our first foster, Saskia.

If you’ve been to a dog pound, and I mean a pound not a rescue, you may understand when I say that they are desperate feeling places. I have only found out recently about the work dog pounds do and one of their roles is to deal with strays picked up by the dog warden. Lost dogs will then be held in the pound giving them seven days to be claimed by their owners who pay a small fee to have their dogs released. After seven days if dogs are unclaimed they may then be put to sleep. Sounds awful, and it is, but it’s not the fault of the pound.
Husky Sandwich!

Many dogs are claimed back by responsible owners unlucky enough to lose their dog, others go on to rescues and fosters, and those who aren’t so lucky may be put to sleep.

We’ve all read the stories of hideous abuse, the violence and the sickening acts that make you doubt in humanity. We don’t tend to hear about the casual neglect, which makes me doubt in 'us'  just the same. We have to make changes. We need to stop the people who buy puppies and dogs and grow bored and get rid, the people who don’t want to put in time, effort or energy, who buy a dog like they would a pair of trainers and just dispose of them when they can’t be bothered any more. There really is no shortage of repulsive reasons animals end up in desperate situations,  we live in a society that allows people to abuse, neglect and discard animals in a way that disgraces us as a nation.
''Belly rub please!'' 

I think I've shocked myself with the strength of feeling I've had about the situation Saskia and other dogs just like her find themselves in. Live with a dog who has been so badly let down and only then do I think you can really appreciate why it is so important we help to correct a situation we have created.

I'm incredulous that we've spent the last month with a wonderful dog that someone just didn’t want to, or didn’t bother to look for. I’d like to say ‘their loss’ but sadly it is to the detriment of the dogs whilst their owners walk away. I’m not going to start suggesting answers, I've neither the experience nor the credentials. 

All I will say is that we need to learn a new respect for the animals in our homes, it may be a cliche, but their lives are in our hands.

If you would like to see some of the other dogs being helped by Miortok please visit you'll see Saskia on there too!

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