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Fostering Can Change the World

This is a blog entry I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks now. Those of you who follow me on social media will have undoubtedly seen that from March to August this year we had a bundle of ginger fluff in the form of a spirited German Spitz called Teddy. Ted lived with us as a foster dog having found himself back in rescue, a week after being unsuccessfully rehomed. To say his behaviour in the initial months was challenging is somewhat of an understatement, but with time, patience and kindness he found he was able to trust us and his previous worries faded away. Last week we took him to his forever home where by all reports he’s flourishing and living the dream with 100 acres of land to freely run with his new dog pals and a goat called Martin.

Teddy was the latest of many foster dogs and after five months, he had also stayed the longest. But, it’s not only behaviourally tricky dogs that need fostering. From December to January we had German Shepherd puppies that were too young to be rehomed or stay in a kennel. Last year we had Othello, an elderly chocolate Labrador who was tied up to the gates of the rescue in the middle of the night, he found kennel life very stressful and was much happier in a foster home. He ended up charming my Dad and now they live together, both retired and enjoying each other’s company. Before Othello we had a miniature poodle and an overweight pug who both needed minor surgery before finding loving new homes and prior to them we had a terrified Jack Russell cross Chihuahua called Taco. Taco was found in a carrier bag, spent two weeks petrified and barely moving in a kennel, came home and chose to live in our downstairs bathroom for the first few days before coming out of his shell and learning to trust people, perhaps for the first time. After a couple of months he too found a perfect quiet home in Somerset where he’s thriving. These are the dogs who’ve lived in our house, with our existing pets over the past twelve months or so and I’m sure it won’t be long until another one comes along in need of our help.

If we’d kept all the dogs and cats we’d have over 100 animals by now. A few fosters have ended up becoming permanent members of our family; Travis was one of five puppies that needed hand rearing, having lost his mum when he was just one week old. Peppa had lots of medical issues and just seemed to slot into the family well, so she ended up staying. Ripley was back in rescue after three homes had given up on her and being a sucker for a black and tan dog, I brought her home too. We foster kittens when needed, and our cats Totti and Pickle started off as fosters too. The best and worst part of fostering is when the job is complete and we have to part ways with the animals - just ask anyone who’s rehomed one of the puppies I’ve hand reared - or Teddy’s new owner - and they’ll vouch for the amount of tears shed whilst saying goodbye. But that’s what it’s all about, helping a dog or cat out who needs an extra bit of TLC until a new home is found for them. Our house certainly isn’t empty (although it is quieter without Teddy) as we have three little kittens currently residing in our spare bedroom until they’re old enough to find new homes.

So how does fostering change the world? Well, it doesn’t really, not in the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t stop the constant flow of animals finding themselves in rescues in need of a new home. However if you take an animal on foster, not only is it incredibly rewarding but you will give them a new chance at life and for that animal, you will change their world. If you can offer time, patience and empathy then please consider fostering an animal for your local rescue centre and who knows, it might change your world too. 

For more information on fostering please visit Battersea's website

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