Our family started fostering last September. I include my children because they are a big part of our fostering. They help care for the dogs, love on them, brag about them at school, advertise for the rescue whenever they can in public and best of all, my girls are learning the invaluable lesson of giving back.
When we started, I have to admit, my reasons for wanting to foster were a little selfish. I wanted all the benefits of having another weim in our home without the long term responsibility and I wanted my girls to have experience (even if it was through their parents) of volunteering. Since then, I've gotten SO much more out of this. I've gained a 2nd dog, our foster-failure Miley (formerly Smiley). I've really felt like we are actually making a difference in a, too often, gloomy world. I've always had a heart for strays, Lord knows my parents got tired of me bringing home every cat and dog I found in our neighborhood, but fostering really opens up a whole other world.
I brought our first gray boy, Max, home and we all fell in love. That boy had the worst gas, but he was just a big goofy boy at heart. I cried when he left. But, like others have said, I got a Christmas card from his forever family and he looks like just 'fits' with them. There have been 8 weims that have come through our home...8 completely different personalities. We nursed Vince back from a 48 pound walking skeleton to one of the most handsome 70 pound weims I've seen. We've had 2 puppies, one mild-mannered and laid-back, and one crazy as a loon. We had Wyatt (Cajun Bubba) for only 3 days and lost him to heartworms and maltreatment by his previous owners. That was the hardest day for me. I wasn't sure I could foster again because I thought all of them could be saved once we got them. But we did, and later got to see Wyatt's puppy at the 'family reunion', Weim Fest. Ranger has Wyatt's looks and long legs. It was a tearful moment until you realize that something good always comes out of something bad. We've been through bloat with Gus, which was scary enough, but God was watching that boy because if he had bloated just 10 minutes later, we would have been gone to a school function for 3 hours. Obviously, Gus wouldn't have survived. We nursed him back to health, went back and forth about whether to keep him (he was the big blue boy I had SO been wanting), watched him eat a live squirrel and finally let him go when the perfect family situation came along. We had to decide whether we wanted to keep him or keep fostering as 3 full time dogs would be too much.
I can't see not having a foster. It's kind of like getting a present...it could be the one thing you've always wanted or it could be socks. They are all different and they all need help. We have to fill in the holes where others don't fulfill their responsibilities as a pet owner. We will never rid the world of all the people who 'shouldn't' have gotten a weim, but we can help the ones that didn't ask to be put in that situation.
As for volunteering, I think fostering is really a no-brainer. Like I said, you get all the benefits of getting to know and enjoy a weim without any long term responsibility. Our neighbors are all interested in who the 'new' dog is at our house. When the Milberts came to see Gus, they walked him around the neighborhood and people who were out said 'hi' to Gus! The Milberts loved that. Addison and Sydney are proud of how they help 'Miley dogs'. In fact, Gus left about 2 weeks ago and they are asking when we are getting another dog! We are out of town next week, so they will have to wait a little longer.
I guess I should be discuss the cons I've encountered... I've cleaned up vomit / puppy piddle / dead birds in the back yard / trash in the kitchen from the garbage can being knocked over. Some nights, there isn't enough room in our bed with David, me, our 2 weims, occasionally a child and foster weim, but that's what couches are for. Our leather ottoman has a hole in one of the cornes from chewing. There is a constant trail of water on the wood floors. I clean up alot of dog poop in the back yard. But that's all nothing when you feel the pride of seeing a happy, healthy weim leave your home with a new family...one that came to you skinny, possibly sick and scared of human contact.
- Kelly & David W.
P.S. - Kelly and David opened their home to Gracie, a severly hurt, emaciated, and blind Weim who needed a new life. Visit Gracie's blog at http://weimrescuetexas.blogspot.com/