In 2007 I lost my best friend Polly, to a blood platelet disease common in white Toy Poodles. It broke my heart beyond words & I never thought I’d get over it. After several months of crying my eyes out I decided to look into volunteering at the Houston SPCA to help me get through my grief.
Each volunteer has to go through an orientation process that lasts a majority of an afternoon. They discuss the different departments, what choices we have in volunteering, hours each month we need to commit, dog behavior & other information that would make us better volunteers. Of course half way through, they talk about some of the sad & tragic situations we would see & how to handle them. I don’t know that there’s ever anything that can prepare you for the way others treat animals – it’s despicable – but being an animal shelter they needed to prepare us for anything.
My first day at the SPCA I started off walking some of the big dogs who were waiting for adoption. We try to walk every single dog at least once a day, which as you can imagine can be a pretty big task! Once I felt like I was ready, I decided to try out being a foster mom to some needy dogs. These dogs are normally the ones that are either sick & need to get well before adoption, have had surgery & need to recover, have been at the shelter for a while & just need some time in a calm environment, and some are puppies that are still too young to be adopted. I was very anxious about being a foster mom because how can you not fall in love with each & every dog you bring home?! I mean, we were keeping these dogs for at least 2 weeks, sometimes 2 months! I just didn’t see how I was going to do be able to do it.
You have to go into being a foster mom knowing that you will not be keeping your foster & that you are preparing this dog to be the best pet & to have the best home they can! With that in mind, you know you’re doing a good thing and it makes you feel OK with letting them go. For me, I try to keep in touch with some of the parent’s of my fosters…creating my own sort of extended family.
If you’ve ever considered volunteering at a shelter or being a foster for a shelter animal, don’t hesitate! There are so many out there that need your help & I promise, you can ask for a better pick-me-up! Below are some of the fosters that brought me a ton of joy!!