In March, we are excited to celebrate a week dedicated to the care of animals: National Pet Sitters Week! This week, we're shining a light on those who provide exceptional care for your furry friend(s) when you're at work or on vacation... or simply during times when you can't be there.
In the world of rescue, the ultimate pet sitters are those who not only pet sit for hours at a time, but those who pet sit for days, even months at a time -- these "pet sitters" are fosters. Fosters lovingly take in animals and take care of them as they wait for their forever family to adopt them. Foster parents go above and beyond to ensure that the rescue animals in their care are loved, comfortable, and happy... And often, we hear from our rescues that many times, fosters end up adopting animals who don't get adopted otherwise -- hence the growing use of the term "forever foster." This is all to say that these fosters -- ultimate pet sitters -- open their hearts and homes to these incredible animals, giving them the unconditional love and care they deserve.
In celebration, we're highlighting a few fosters in our community who have been kind enough to let us in on their journey of being a foster parent.
Beckie Started Fostering After One of Her Dogs Passed Away
"After one of my dogs passed away, I started out fostering.. Our other dog was sad without her companion, so we wanted to find the right fit for her and our family. Fostering gave us the opportunity to save a life, while seeing if the foster would be a good fit for our family. We fell in love with our first foster, but she kept jumping over our three foot fence. I was terrified she would get out while we were gone and get lost or worse-- hurt. Our first foster was eventually adopted the day after she was made available. We missed her even though we only had her a short time. We were excited for our next foster and we just got hooked on helping! We were able to be as involved with the adoptions as we wanted too, so it was great being able to meet the new families and get updates on our past fosters. A rescue that was local to my community recruited me to start their foster and adoption program. At the time, they did not have such program and wanted to start one, but they were unsure how to go about it. I worked with them for six years as the foster and adoption director. I stepped down due to some medical issues. It was hard not being involved in rescue and saving lives so I worked with a small, local shelter and socialized dogs."
A Memorable Foster Experience That Spurred a New Beginning
"One dog in particular, Bergie, spent six months with us before passing. When we took him home, the vet thought he had just a few weeks left. He had spent all his life -- from six (6) weeks old until about 18 years-old -- chained outside. He was a miniature dachshund, too small to live outside in cold Idaho winters. He had not seen a vet in quite some time, so his teeth were rotten, leaving him unable to chew his food. Later we found out he was suffering from cancer. However, he went from being such a sad boy to learning what love was and being part of a family. We all believe it was the love and comfort he got from us that extended his life. He was a special boy and we are thankful to have been able to show him love before he passed.
In January of 2016, my three girls and I decided it was time to get back into rescue. Unfortunately, the rescue group I worked with last had changed directions and most had left the group, so we decided to start our own rescue. The name Broken Hearts Rescue was inspired by Bergie. It really broke our hearts when Bergie passed. His spirit was broken when he came to us, but he just blossomed with our love and care so we knew we had to mend more broken hearts, theirs and ours by saving all we could."
If you would like to support Beckie in mending more broken hearts, you can donate to her rescue HERE
From Ultimate Pet Sitter AKA Foster to Rescue Founder
"Why have I chosen to foster? Because I see the great need every single day. Fostering literally saves an animal's life that's in jeopardy. It is truly a rewarding feeling to be a part of a rescue pet's journey. I'm able to watch their true personalities shine as their insecurities melt away."
Life Lessons and Gratitude for The Foster Experience
"Every pet I foster is very memorable to me because no two animals are ever alike. I've been on both sides, where I have failed, having to reflect on the experience. Then there are times I've cried my eyes out when I've been able to send them on their way to their new forever homes. I always say that I receive the greatest blessing of all when I get to foster. It's a gift you give and receive. You're able to show these animals what it's like to be cared for and in return, their love is enough of a reward."
If you would like to support Grace in her amazing rescue efforts, you can donate to Their Lives Matter Inc. HERE
Neely is a foster parent for Illinois English Bulldog Rescue and the head of Hoosier Bulldog Rescue.
The Role of Fostering: Taking Care of Someone Else's Best Friend
"I began fostering many years ago after adopting my first dog from a rescue. The first foster was one of the hardest to let go, but I'm glad I did it. He was a great dog and went to family that would provide him the love he deserved. It made me realize that there are so many dogs that just needed a place to stay until they find their furever family. If I hadn't fostered my first dog, he would have been unable to get into the rescue and may not have ever found his amazing family. It truly is being the ultimate pet sitter. You get a chance to take care of someone's best friend until they find each other."
On The Best Moment As a Foster
"One of the best moments of being a foster is when a shy foster dog finds a toy and starts to play for the first time. It's something so insignificant to most people because it's just ‘normal dog behavior,' but it's monumental to a foster. It's knowing they finally feel safe and comfortable again... or perhaps for the first time ever. That's the best moment…"
If you would like to support Neely in her foster and rescue journey, you can donate to Illinois English Bulldog Rescue HERE
It truly is incredible to be a part of the amazing work our fosters and rescues do. If would like to become an ultimate pet sitter, contact us at poundWISHES to get involved with one of our 1,000 local rescues across the country.
If fostering is not for you, but you'd still like to make a difference in a rescue pet's life, you can help support by purchasing an item off of any active wishlist registry or donating to a campaign:
If you'd like to make a consistent difference, join the wishpack program that gives back to our most urgent-needs animals: