My husband and I have fostered for many years, first for an Old English sheepdog rescue and now for Reach Out Rescue & Resources. Many of the dogs we have cared for have been hard to part with, but a few have affected us in a way that was completely unexpected.
We received a call about a dog in big trouble. It seems that a puppy mill in Lancaster County was operating under such deplorable conditions that a raid by animal control was imminent. The owner, fearing legal trouble, contacted a well-known rescue worker in the area and arranged to surrender all of his dogs to her, under the conditions that he remain unidentified. Among these dogs was a female Old English sheepdog. My husband and I were asked to evaluate and provide foster care for this dog until we could figure out what to do with her.
I was apprehensive. She was a one hundred pound, unsocialized, intact dog that had lived her entire four-year life in a rabbit hutch. She had never been in a house, never run in the grass, and had limited contact with humans. Of course, my husband went to Pennsylvania and picked her up.
What greeted me was a butt-wiggling goofball with radiantly happy eyes. Everybody she came in contact with, she just about licked to death. Despite the fact that she had no reason to like humans, she just adored everybody. We had trouble bathing and shaving her down because she wouldn't stop kissing. She didn't have a name, so we called her Baby, short for "Baby Factory".
Of course, she was not housebroken, so we tried to use a crate. Since she had been confined to a cage, that was the only place she had ever relieved herself. So, as soon as we put her in a crate, she messed it up. I decided to just send her out with the other dogs, and hope that she got the idea.
The weekend was over and time to return to work. Rather than have her in a dirty crate, I decided to just let her loose in the house and hope for the best. I wished my furniture the best of luck and left. When I arrived home eight hours later, I was greeted by the same deliriously happy dog I left. Not one single thing was touched. No accidents.
And so was the way with Baby. The rescue had her spayed and vaccinated, and placed her in a home where she really was the baby — and was adored and cherished.
A dog with no reason to trust us was willing to do so. If she was willing to give us a chance, it was only fair that we give her a chance as well. I guess we proved her right, and she proved us right.
Providing foster care to rescue dogs is one of the most fulfilling things I do. I would encourage any dog lover to give it a shot.
You can find our Adoption/Foster Application by clicking here.