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Puppy Love- I Chose To Become A Dog Foster Parent

Submitted by Shana on April 26, 2010 – 1:12 amComments
My sassy pup, Roxie.  Picture by Jesse Szabad.

My sassy pup, Roxie. Photo by Jesse Szabad.

My dog, Roxie, loves bananas and every time I eat one she immediately begins to go, well, bananas.  She starts to do what I have dubbed her “Banana Dance-” jumping around, wagging her tail, and letting out a couple of happy barks.  Whenever she does this dance, Roxie makes me grateful that I saved her from death when I chose to become a dog foster parent.

I was surfing through Craigslist about a year ago when I came across an ad for foster parents for dogs.  It was written by a concerned man who had stopped in a New York City animal shelter one day and learned about how desperate the situation is for animals that find themselves guests.  The main problem was (is) that there are too many abandoned or runaway pets for the shelters to handle and many have to be “put down” if they are not found homes quickly.  The man wrote about how sad he was to see all these beautiful animals and to know that tomorrow they might die.

I was moved by his sincerity and chose to contact him about fostering a dog.  He put me in contact with the shelter directly and I applied to be a foster parent (NYC shelters have an agressive fostering program in the hopes of saving the animals).  I was sent a dog and quickly found her a home with a friend.  It was the next dog that changed my status from foster parent to adopter.

My next foster was Roxie- a 4-year-old pit-bull mix.  She had obviously been abused- she shied away from me any time I tried to touch her and would even go into another room if I walked into the same space she was occupying.  Whenever I walked her, she looked back at me every few seconds and if I made any sudden movements, she cowered on the ground. She was literally skin and bones and had caught kennel cough at the shelter- her rib wracking coughs were painful to see and hear.  She broke my heart. 

I was very patient with her and she gradually began to trust me.  Roxie’s soulful hazel eyes bore a hole in me whenever she looked at me and I was amazed that anyone could abuse such a beautiful animal.  It was two weeks before she finally let me pet her and I knew that there had to be something special in her that allowed her to take a chance on me despite her negative experiences with humans.  

Today Roxie is a completely different dog- she’s incredibly friendly, healthy, loves kids and bananas, has a foot fetish, and is in love with the next door neighbor.  My niece once asked me, “Why did you get Roxie? Was it because you were lonely?”  I have to admit that that was part of the reason I became a dog foster parent, but the reason I chose to keep Roxie was because she chose to take a chance on me- how could I not reward her with a forever home?

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