My husband and I adopted our first dog, Attila, from the Dumb Friends League when she was a puppy, and fostering seemed like a great way to give back to the organization. Charlie was one of our early fosters, and we fostered him for a month to monitor him for seizures. He didn’t have a single seizure, and as the month of fostering came to a close, we decided to make him a permanent family member.
After a break, I began checking out the foster website again and found a small dog that needed a foster home. I brought Charlie in to meet the foster, and he seemed to not even register that the dog was a dog. So we began fostering small dogs with fear issues since Charlie did so well with them. Charlie’s easygoing, laid-back sense of calm seemed to really influence the tiny, scared pups. They would seek him out and lay with him on the couch, and some even seemed to fall in love with our big guy.
Nearly all of our tiny fosters have discovered that the best seat in the house is wherever Charlie’s big belly happens to be. These fearful pups share the couch with him, cuddle and snuggle him, follow him around from room to room, and give him kisses. The dogs that have trouble opening up to humans have an easier time trusting Charlie. And he accepts them all, submitting to being their snuggle partner, their pillow and their sense of safety.
Charlie also seems to build their confidence. His special talent as a canine foster parent is that he makes no demands of these dogs and accepts their fears and reservations; he gives them the opportunity to make progress on their own terms, and he remains calm no matter what they do. He provides them with a sense of security that means more coming from him. He’s really the best foster parent some of these dogs could ever have.
Fostering has been such a rewarding experience for our whole family, allowing us to help so many different, wonderful dogs and make them more ready for a forever home. Fostering brought us Charlie and he (and our other dog) have in turn not only allowed us to continue to foster, but to see the ways in which dogs can teach and help each other.
—Alaina B., Denver, Colo.
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