“We taught him “sit”. He taught us patience. We taught him “down”. He taught us to keep things in perspective. We taught him “stay”. He taught us dogs can open doors. We taught him “leave it”. He taught us the value of a sense of humor. We taught him “off”. He taught us some dogs aren’t meant to be crated. We taught him “hug”. He taught us there’s nothing better than sloppy kisses. We’re not sure who learned more during our six months together. But, we’re so proud of what we were able to teach Sparky…and we’re ever grateful for everything the Great Sparkdini taught us!” -Peggy and Mary
I started fostering completely by accident, and my first foster found her forever home…with me! I vowed never to flunk again, but every dog that comes through my home has such unique personalities, it’s hard not to fall in a love, even if it’s a little bit, with each dog that comes to my home. There was Moose, who taught my dogs to scratch at the screen door to come in, the door hasn’t been the same since. And Bif, the goofball, who ate everything in site… books, hair brushes…there are many reminders in my house of his stay. Then, there was Max, who was the biggest chocolate lab I’d ever seen. My daughter loved using him as a big pillow… and that’s basically all he ever did. My current foster, Champ, came to my home from a puppy mill. I don’t know that he’ll ever be ready to find another home, but it brings pleasure to me to know that the rest of his life will be lived in a loving home. He makes huge strides every day, transforming from the cowering dog that would hide in the trees in my yard, to the dog who actually comes to the door with the other dogs, and has learned to ‘knock’ to come inside. Sometimes it is hard to let them go to another home, but I know that they’ll be loved in their new home, and that makes it all worth it.- Marnie
After losing my beloved black lab, Cheyenne to cancer, the house seemed so empty without her. I was not ready to have another dog on a permanent basis yet and I had been volunteering with Brookline for awhile, so I thought I’d give fostering a try. My first foster, Ralph, came from a shelter in NJ. Ralphie, or Ralphus, as I called him was as cute as a button, but bigger and had more energy than I was used to. The first couple of days were a real challenge, but things got better as we got into a routine. One of the challenges I had with Ralph was that he did not like getting into his crate. When I would tell him it was time to “kennel up,” he would drop to the floor, roll on his back and give me that, “I’m too cute, you can’t make me” look. Anyway, I could make him… by sliding him across the hardwood floors to his crate. This activity lasted a little while, but when he realized he would get a yummy treat once in his crate, he eventually learned to go in on his own. That’s my “Little Man.” Of course, I knew it would be hard to let him go, but when I met the couple who would be adopting him, it put my mind at ease. Now he prances around his new neighborhood with his fuzzy zebra in his mouth and gets to play frequently with some neighborhood dogs, something I would not have been able to give him. There were goofy and happy times with Ralph, and also some frustrating times, but all in all, I found fostering to be an EXTREMELY rewarding experience. No matter where Ralph is, he will always be my “Little Man.” -Cheryl D.
Candy was rescued from a puppy mill situation. She was skin andbones when we first got her into our home for foster care and weighed only 36 pounds. She was scared of everything—my husband, the television and pretty much any noise. She was afraid to come in our house, afraid to go up steps and afraid to eat. We could tell that she had been abused and was very afraid of people. She was so submissive and would cower. It took weeks to build trust with Candy. But, we did, and she learned to live inside a house, go for walks in the neighborhood and park, swim in the stream and hang out with other dogs outside of a crate or cage. The best moment of fostering Candy was when she decided that she was a dog and began to actually play in our yard. A wonderful woman thought Candy was just perfect to be her own dog’s best friend and adopted Candy. She’s been living happily in her new home for months now and has proved that some dogs (even puppy mill dogs) just need some time, love and patience to blossom.- Jen
Our first foster was Misty (Whiskey, really, but we gave her a new name). She weighed 40 pounds when she should have weighed 80. She was 4 years old, they said, and had been turned out of her house as the result of a divorce. After having been picked up by animal control 3 times, she was slated to be put down, so it was an emergency that someone take her in. She came to us the day after being neutered. Smelling of betadyne and surgery, Misty at first frightened Maggie and Tess our other 2 labs, but she came to me and curled up in my lap when I sat on the floor. I fell in love. We decided to be a foster failure and become an adoption success story. I wanted to write this because so often, those of us with the best intentions bring a dog into our homes only to find it won’t work. Often the rescues in our areas are the best way to find a ‘best friend’ because they give the pet a chance to go through the inevitable transitions they will face before going to a family and their new home. Misty presented us with challenges – but she’s now a happy, confident part of our family, always interested in walks and getting her belly rubbed.
This is a success story, for us and for Misty, and for Brookline Lab Rescue. Brookline has many successful rescue stories. I hope this story makes everyone want to understand the love – and the responsibility – you bring into your home when you save one of these wonderful pets! – Kate