It Takes a Village
OUR FOSTER VILLAGE
Continuing our series to introduce our GRRMF village volunteer teams, this installment focuses on the core strength of our rescue, our foster homes. The number of and skill sets in our foster homes have a direct correlation to how many dogs we can bring into our program. We are blessed with foster families who go above and beyond their personal needs to provide a safe and loving environment. Our fosters are supported by all the fellow volunteers in our village; from our medical team and trainers to continually learning about how to care for their dog’s unique needs, our transportation team to safely bring their dog to them or to necessary appointments for their care and our media, application and adoptions teams to match their precious rescue with the forever family who can meet the dog’s needs. GRRMF is so grateful for our families who have opened their hearts and homes for our rescues.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FOSTER PARENTS
Susan Grasso – My husband and I fostered 11 Goldens. All of these dogs, young and old, we’re so special and each had their own unique needs. Some were recovering from surgeries and required extra care and medications while other needed a sense of security and affection. One sweet girl had Alzheimer’s, and another suffered from a damaged nasal cavity. For him, we came up with creative ways to keep his mouth open so he could breath.
Bambi Anderson-Ivers – I have fostered some pretty amazing dogs and each one has an indelible place in my heart. One in particular taught me that the connection between human and dog is profound, and that permanent separation cannot undo that bond. He taught me it’s ok for a dog to not want to be with other dogs, it’s ok to be grumpy when you feel like it and it’s acceptable to be flawed and loved for your imperfections.
Cynthia Knopka – I love being a foster because every pup comes with different needs which requires me to learn a little more about behavior and proper training methods. My biggest lessons were learned from working with pups who were feral or mistreated. Helping them to regain trust in people is a huge undertaking: learning how to do this and watching the results is unbelievably satisfying. One such little girl who had never set foot in a house before and terrified of every new experience is now a certified therapy dog!
Melanie Bontrager – When people find out I’m a foster, they ask, “How can you do that? Don’t you get attached?” My response is, “Of course, every, single time and the day I no longer shed a tear on adoption day, is the day I stop being a foster.” When our pups come to us, they are confused, fearful, sad and scared. We give them a home, assurance, creature comforts and affection. They teach us tolerance, mercy, acceptance and endurance. In the end, we are both rewarded with LOVE!!!
Dennis Gamelin – We are an anomaly as far as fosters go. Most have dogs of their own, but we never adopted another after ours passed away. Because of this we tend to get dogs that want to be ‘only dogs’ in their home. So, we work closely with the GRRMF trainers to teach our fosters good behaviors. We have learned so much and seeing these dogs blossom with the training is wonderful.
Diana Sterling – We decided to foster to give back for all the wonderful dogs that have graced our lives. From swallowing a sock to re-arranging the flower beds, each dog we’ve cared for has captured a place in our hearts. We want to keep them all, but we know there is a special family out there who is waiting. The absolute best part of fostering is adoption day when the family finally meets the one that is meant for them. GRRMF has an almost magical touch of pairing the perfect pup with the perfect family.
Cindy Snedeker – Tucker loved to watch the water disappear in the toilet. Blind Scramble still chased his tail. Kylo and Jasper were 2-year-old pups who made us laugh with their play. Tess loved to ride in the car to go watch cows. Leo and our second Tess were the gentle ones who took over our sofa, chairs and bed. Scruffy shared her last 10 days with us. Photogenic Bear could be a movie star. Tom loved being outside in the garden with us. Sadie with special needs is now a sanctuary girl with her forever family. And our own sanctuary girl, Sweet Miley, gave us two and a half years of love and devotion. They are why we foster.