Foster. It seems such a plain word for such a magnificent experience
oster. It seems such a plain word for such a magnificent experience.
The role of a Foster encompasses so much more than housing a dog or cat until a forever home is found. Fostering changes lives. Fostering save lives. Fosters are the bridge that carries compassion, love and hope to animals that need it, and sends it back to the Foster – triple fold! No matter how many times – a first time foster or a “foster addict,” Fostering is a unique experience. Some fosters are quick, easy, fun; like baby-sitting your favorite toddler for a weekend. Some fosters are quite long term, like caring for your favorite Great Grandma, who really just needs a warm blanket and a kind smile. And, fostering includes everything in between. Fostering can enrich your lives in ways you never dreamed. It’s not always easy. It can break your heart. Fosters are rarely guaranteed a happy ending, but every Foster fulfills your heart with hope, and love and peace.
This is the story of Jetta
Not too long ago, on a cool Saturday, the early morning poo-crew and Team Boss arrived at ACT in the usual fashion, but something was different. Not wrong. But different. Everything seemed ok – but what was off? And then we saw. Jetta’s kennel was empty. And we all just smiled.
A Fresno State Student had joined Team Boss as part of a college requirement, and often chose Jetta to be her walking partner. Jetta, a big, beautiful German Shepherd, was her favorite. Weighing in at 128 pounds, Jetta had the heart to match her body mass.
Jetta’s story began 7 years ago when a volunteer picked her and seven puppies up as strays. As time went by, all 7 pups were adopted and eventually, so was Jetta. But then, as sometimes happens, Jetta came back to the shelter. It seems as though her fear of fireworks had made it too difficult for her owners to keep her as they now lived near an entertainment development that had fireworks almost nightly. Poor Jetta. Alone in a shelter with no idea why, the daily walks were a bit of a salvation for her, as was her favorite walking partner, who often spent extra time, brushing, bathing and taking her for car rides.
The semesters marched on and Jetta’s college student got busy, and the walks slowed down; but never stopped. Then the shelter got a call, can Jetta come on a day trip? And that’s the beginning of this chapter.
Jetta’s college student picked up Jetta for a day trip on Friday, and on Saturday morning, her kennel was still empty. And we all smiled.
On Sunday morning, our smiles grew bigger as Jetta’s kennel was still empty.
And then the pictures started coming in, and our smiles grew to tears of joy. Jetta never looked so happy. Her one day field trip had turned into a 3-day sleepover that included doggie friends, swimming, playing, petting and lots of nap time with people. Jetta was happy, and so were we.
When the word came in that the sleepover had turned into a full-fledged foster, our tears turned to shouts of joy! Jetta has a Foster. Jetta has a Foster.
Jetta’s fosters actively promoted her to the world. They let her be the dog she is: loyal, affectionate, smart, playful and loving. Under her fosters care, Jetta shined! All that wonderful personality was hard to see through a chain-link kennel. As nice as ACT is, still, there is no place like a home for a good dog to demonstrate what a good dog they are.
Because of a Foster, Jetta is a happy dog. The nervous habits that she had been developing at the shelter disappeared. She moved some of those 128 pounds of fat to muscle and is now physically fit and much happier. Her Fosters take her camping, and report that she is an excellent camper! She loves to swim, is a great hiker and stays close to her humans.
Taking on Jetta as a Foster wasn’t an easy decision. Her fosters are helping her find her forever person, taking the time to get to know everything about her to make sure her next family is the right one. Her Fosters are overjoyed with her. She is a great part of their family, and they love her. They love her enough to welcome her into their home and heart, and to let her go when the perfect match comes along.
They knew letting her go would not be easy, but they loved her enough to let her go to the perfect family. Like all foster families, they knew it would be sad, but only for a moment. Fosters know all dogs deserve their own special person. They know in their hearts that they are key to connecting their foster dogs (and cats) to the life and love they deserve. That’s what Fosters do. They love, unconditionally. And they let that love come back to them.
And that’s what Jetta’s fosters did. They loved Jetta enough to connect her to her perfect family. It just too them a little bit of time to realize that they had long ago connected Jetta to her perfect family - way back when, when that wonderful college student asked if Jetta could come out to play. And that day trip turned into a sleepover that turned into a foster that turned into and adoption!
And we all smiled.
For those of you who have a little love to share, or might need some in your life, visit the ACT Website for information about ACTs foster program.