Fostering – A light at the end of the Tunnel

“It was dark and cold and it just did not seem right. The place was unknown and all the new smells distracted me. But I somehow did not experience excitement and my whole body was shaking with fear.

I never knew fear all these days when I was under a roof with my humans around me. But, I cannot see them here anymore. Where am I and how did I get here?

All I can remember is two strange men, walking up to me. I was so scared that I did not even want to get close to them. But they grabbed me and put me in a box with wire frames and drove me to another new place. New smells again and this time I heard so many others like me screaming for help.

I did have some humans inspecting right after then, but I was so confused amidst all the chaos, that I did not know how well I should have behaved. They took a picture of me and I could sense that this time, it was not a happy one. I now had a number and no name. I wish I could tell them what my real name was, but they wouldn’t understand. So I let the number be my new name for the time being.

I was now put in a bigger room with broader metal frames and with some company, but I still could not stop shaking with fear. I had forgotten all my manners and all I wanted was to see were my parents- my humans.  I felt lost in a dark long tunnel and hope was all that I could cling on too.”

Every day, hundreds of homeless pets and those who are no longer viable to the breeding industry are brought into the shelter from the most unimaginable and dreadful corners of the city. Not only is this a nightmare for the innocent dogs and cats to whom, we mean the world but also to those who rescue them challenging their own ability, if they can help transform yet another ‘let down’ innocent life. The shelters are always over flooded and there can never be enough space to accommodate constant incoming members.

Endless days and nights together, are put into work by dedicated rescue groups trying to tag those sadly abandoned four legged friends, just to give them a second deserving chance to live their life. This is when an enormous role of fosters, ready to volunteer with all their patience, dedication and love are pledged to pitch in.

One may think the shelters are the safest place for the shunned pets, but sadly this isn’t true. The safest place for a pet is always with their human parents and nowhere else.

When an individual volunteers to foster a dog in need, from that very moment they become the ray of hope for the ‘one’ who is lost in the dark tunnel.

So one may ask, “What is Fostering?”

Fostering, like any other rescue, is a selfless dedicated service towards a homeless pet. It is a brave and a life changing step that a pet lover can take to transform the soul of an abused and abandoned animal, helping them to reaffirm their faith on mankind. When you choose to foster, you allow the rescued dog to decompress itself and let them process their harsh reality of being dumped by the ones who means the word to them. A foster plays an integral role in rehabilitating a confused and depressed dog or a cat with patience, affection and persistent routine.

Who and how can I Foster?

There are several rescues groups floating in every city who are frantically looking for dedicated fosters to volunteer with them. Sadly, there are not as many fosters available to lend their time and home to a dog or cat in contrast to the huge number of them, who are being given up at the shelters. Anyone who can devote their heart to this service, can foster. In fact, the more the number of people coming forward to foster, directly means the more number of dogs that can be pulled out of the shelter by several rescue groups and be prepared for a forever loving home. A foster not only gives the dog a second chance but also helps a family find their perfect companion.

What does it cost you?

A foster is only expected to take care of clean food and water for the rescued pet. The time, effort and the affection that a foster can provide is needless to say, priceless. All the other medical expenses like vaccinations, antibiotics, spay or neutering are taken care by the rescue groups who work hard to raise donations through minimal adoption fees and fundraisers.

Isn’t saying goodbye painful?

It sure is. The minute one decides to foster a needy soul, they can recognize themselves as one who is much more than just being a pet lover. From the very first day that a foster starts working with a rescue dog, he or she not only helps to decompress them from their current situation but also becomes that very special person who restores their faith in humans, once again.

 It is most definitely an evolving process for both individuals on either side of the leash, one who saves and the other who has been saved. But when it comes to looking at the bigger picture, one does eventually realise that it is just the beginning and so many more stories await to be discovered at their door step.

What does one receive by Fostering?

Well, the fact is there is no monetary benefit involved in fostering as one may think or assume. It is purely an act of kindness for another fellow being and the only and most gratifying reward is when you see your foster recover and come out their old tainted shell, transformed into one love bug and plenty of applications pour in from homes that have long waited for their companion.

It sounds rewarding in its own different way. Isn’t it? If have you have ever thought of fostering a rescued dog, to give them another chance to a beautiful life, maybe this is the time. After all it is never too late to offer some love and care in a world that needs it most, like never before.

Fostering an abandoned dog just happened as a chance to me. I never knew what it meant in the truest sense, unless I started doing it and since then it has been 2 years and 10 dogs now and I haven’t regretted this step that I took in my life.

It is certainly one step ahead of just being a dog lover and the reward to witness the transition of an abandoned and cheated soul to one that can have his/her faith restored in mankind is nothing less than priceless.  It’s much like the belief of “An act of Kindness, One at a Time.”

Ever since then, I have been asked, acknowledge and even mocked at, for bringing in dogs home, working with them and getting them adopted to the most ideal forever homes and it takes a lot of immunity for me to remain unaffected. 😀  and inspired me to collect and put down all my reasons and thoughts through this blog. ♥

 

Photo credit: Christoph Peich

Snoopy’s Family Stroll- “A Chaotic Comedy”

21st September, 2015

Today was one glorious day. Som, had volunteered to take Snoopy for his night stroll. I was so relieved that I apparently had one job less on my plate today. However still, my good self thought of giving Som some company in the post dinner walk. 🙂

From the day Snoopy was in our home, I had been in-charge, by will or by no-choice to take him for his strolls. When mornings would be too early for my husband to wake up unless I stressed my vocal chords for the sake of a crisis, the evenings would be followed by his official calls and presentation leaving him less productive in matters that he might and could have been required elsewhere. So, today was the day when Snoopy and I would have the company of Som in our late evening strolls and in a glimpse it turned out like a hilarious disaster.

Now being a part of the fraternity that loves dogs, we have had been generously taking care of one particular stray dog for more than a year now and recently she had given birth to a litter. However, from the time Snoopy arrived, I admit not being able to provide regular food and enough love to this poor girl. So I thought, today I could take a chance to feed her while Som would take the responsibility of strolling Snoopy. Plight! Snoopy and Tilly have an unspoken eye interaction and Som and I now know for sure that we were already done with stroll. I could not imagine myself counselling Tilly to calm down and assure that I still love her while Som desperately managed to take snarling Snoopy away on the other side of the lane (technically at that moment I did think of granting myself the possible title of an amateur ‘Dog Whisperer’) .Past a couple of minutes as I moved to join Snoopy and Som, and there it was, “they are not in my visible sight”.

” One day, I ask you to take him out and you guys don’t even wait for me “, the wife inside me murmured to the husband. Fearing nothing, with vigor and authority, I walked further into the lane that was comparatively sadly lit, to look for the two guys with complete confidence. It was almost 11pm past and I saw no sign of them and all that I could hear were strays bark in the vicinity of the darkness which made me sense a fear for Som in the midst of them. I was absolutely sure about Snoopy who would not let his petite size and currently weak body undermine his “dog” spirits to the best of his capacity. With almost half of all the confidence that these guys must be in trouble, I took my walk through the lightless lanes back towards home and from a distance I saw a man running towards our building and then running back with another man from the building. As I walked closer, I was pretty certain it was Som and seeing him run, all that I could think was Snoopy might have been trouble.

I desperately reached in front of the building and was utterly confused. The caretaker’s wife looked worried and spoke to me in a distressed tone in her native Telugu language of which I could hardly comprehend any bit and then in a second I heard Snoopy bark upstairs and I was stunned. I then figured out that the distress in her tone was because Som was running around looking for me, thinking I might be in the middle of some uncalled trouble while I had been looking for him, rather them on the other side of the locality.

The caretaker’s wife instructed me with a demanding note that I stay put till the time she goes and informs Som that I was “found”.

The moment we saw each other and knew that all the runabout was now over and we all are safe, in spite of all the adversely disturbing thoughts, it called for some relief. The expression I sensed on Som’s face that day was like he was almost on the verge of a cardiac arrest of the fear that something might have gone wrong with me and of all the possibilities that he kept on murmuring to himself untill the next 45 minutes. On the other hand, Snoopy was barking helplessly wondering where we might have vanished keeping him alone and leashed. In no time, just one day of a family stroll turned out to be a complete chaotic comedy.

We composed ourselves and all three of us walked inside the house rest assured that eventually we are home and we should refrain from such hopeless adventurers where we make blunders like Som leaving his cell phone back home and me having carried the keys that left both of them locked outside until I was located back home.:D

This had been one of the craziest and even, the most hilarious day that we recollect now, during Snoopy’s stay with us. Among all other things he became instrumental just to remind us in a a conventional and regular day, how much Som and I meant to each other and how much Snoopy had now become a part of our craziness.

The Curious Snoopy

18th & 19th September, 2015 – Day 5&6

My Snoopy has become an adorable kid and I sense him regaining strength with each passing day. Every morning I wake up to see a cute little face waiting eagerly on our sofa which is now his bedtime zone. The very minute I enter the living area with my bottle of water, my day is energized with Snoopy and all his tantrums followed by the exchange of affection and puppy love eyes that greets me with a lovely morning.

I now don’t need alarms to wake me up. The sense of having this little one home and his meal and stroll timings are now enough to push me out of the bed with no regret although there are days when I wish the Sun could sleep a bit longer.

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As Snoopy bounces back to strength and health and loves his strolls. I so wish he had his tail though.

Snoopy’s loves to chase the hens around. I have no understanding whatsoever, about his innate love for chasing hens around. Oh! yes, and flies too. He has proven good skills of having them grounded in no time. My strolls with Snoopy does get tiring at times, thanks to the Sun, that shines so harsh these days. But on the other hand, I also love watching Snoopy and his amusements as he simply enjoys the breeze blowing in his face. Well, he is no different than anyone of us. He has started loving his food unlike the initial days and there has been a good shift in his appetite indicating he is on his way to good health again.

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As Snoopy fetches for the hens that seem to relax their noon, beneath the truck. 🙂

Each passing day, Snoopy is active, playful and more curious to find out about things in our apartment aiding him to settle down and each of his activity is like an “Aww” to me. I am extremely glad that he has been loving it here and feels safe to call it his home even if temporary. I wonder often, of the trauma he might have gone through to reach to this day but whatever it might be, I am sure it’s going to be a “never looking back” for him from now onward.

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Snoopy and his chlorophyll love.

To be continued…

Snoopy’s Diary- Day 3

16th September,2015

The day started pretty peacefully. The alarm did not intrude the early morning sleep and neither did I hear Snoopy getting desperate for his nature’s call. I told myself in the state of a sleepy head that I had the chances of getting the day pass better and more scheduled.

The best part of having a pet, specially a dog, is what one gets from them first thing in the morning. Tons of love, a cuddly hug and the amazing feeling of being loved beyond terms and conditions.

As Snoopy was by himself today and at peace I had the relaxed opportunity to finish my kitchen chores pretty fast and take him for his morning dose of local adventure. It also seemed to me that he did occasionally kept looking for his previous family as I noticed him waiting at the door anticipating someone’s arrival, getting hopeless and then walking in. How strange, crude yet true! Those who have happened to cause him such trauma are still an awaited family to him. Besides, in these 2 days I have also surely come to another conclusion of this guy loving to go for long walks,explore his new surroundings, gaze and chase the hens and simply loving to feel the sunlight and the natural breeze. It is only when you spend some hours of your life with sentient beings do you know that life for all of us are so much similar, instead we all proclaim it otherwise.

Snoopy had already started healing gradually. His skin was getting better with regular application of medicated ointments and prescribed oral medicines. We made efforts to give him a healthy and nutritious meal that would help him recuperate the deficiency and bounce back to normalcy. And we all couldn’t be more hopeful and happier to see him recover mentally and physically.

Although my gym schedules were now on a toss, Snoopy did not mind keeping me on the go with his unspoken daily requirements and saw to it that my cardio needs were well met walking with him three times a day. I was waking up on time every morning and precisely without an alarm. My work was done on time and sooner than I realized, I had now some organised time for myself. For Som, Snoopy turned out like a stress buster once he returned home after a long day as the new chap had managed to strike the male bond cord with him pretty fast. It was lovely to see them play and the affection did not need any verbal expression. I had company in the house and I was no longer alone once Som was at work. Besides my own freelancing,blogging and other activities that kept me busy, I was somewhere content that I wasn’t alone and the day would pass by sooner than I could even feel.

I wondered, who was under foster care in this case? Maybe I needed him more than him needing me when destiny chose to let us stay together under different circumstances.

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Happy Snoopy posing in the new red collar.

Day 3, was also marked by having a special visitor as Manushri came to visit him for the first time. Snoopy has also been instrumental in the friendship that now Manushri and I were sharing.Before Snoopy coming into the picture, we might have spoken only a couple of times at the shelter and now we are almost on “Snoopy Chat” mode through out the day. 🙂 Manushri got her Snoopy some useful food bowls as the ones I had were making him manage real hard. Her goody bag also brought in a Pedigree sack that Snoopy is every ready to snack on and a smart red collar that helped him relieve from the burden of the fat metal leash. It goes without mentioning how happy Snoopy was to have a visitor specially for him. They bonded in no time and it was a happy evening for all of us.

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An affectionate moment between Snoopy & Som. Snoopy loves it when Som pats him to sleep. 🙂

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Snoopy was gradually getting to know a home again. 🙂

To be continued… 

P.S: Yes, forgot the pics with Manushri in the excitement of catching up but they will be part of the story soon too. 🙂

Snoopy’s Dairy – Day 2

15th September 2015

I was in the middle of my early morning daze dream when a typical sound is what seemed to penetrate into my ears. “No”, I said.  “It couldn’t be the alarm, I still have some more buffer time to snooze.” In a fraction of a second I woke up with a jerk realizing that we now had a new member, Snoopy in the living area. Yes it was him, squeaking in a cry baby tone.

I must admit that what alarm clocks haven’t been able to do to me or rather both of us in years, Snoopy’s presence did that magic which was honestly a version of a mild trauma too. We hurriedly came out of the room to realize it was just 5.30 in the morning and the sunlight was yet too bleak to mark the beginning of the day for us in a normal course of routine. Snoopy had his nature’s call and it was really an urgent one.

We ran with him downstairs with gloomy and dreamy eyes as he took his time to relieve himself and without any inhibition of the yet unexposed daylight and partly deserted new landscape in front of our apartment, Snoopy was all set to venture his new territory which although, was unknowingly going to be temporary for him.

As he took his own sweet time to explore his world among the grasses, lamp posts and parked cars to start marking his territory, we underwent the feeling that almost every new pet parent goes through. The question of reaffirmation whether or not we would be able to do it kept hitting us even as we were half asleep.

The day already started looking like a long one to me. Longer than I had anticipated. The agenda of the day had Snoopy’s shower, as a top on the priority list. It had to be. His odor seemed to drive us nuts, specially Som. So the top priority of Som’s agenda was to bring in all possible room fresheners, deodorizers, incense sticks and a definitely a grooming kit for Snoopy.

With my experiences of dogs, back at my home, I have been aware that it is not usual for any dog to jump in willingly for a shower. Snoopy was no different. I lured him with snacks to minimize my efforts in order to pull him into the bathroom, but this chap was smart like no exception. At one point even the bribe dint work and he had to be literally lifted inside for the much needed medicated shower. I somehow managed to give him good scrub to start making him look like a home dog again and the moment it was done, he was frantic to run away from me. I wonder, I must be seeming like another tyrant in disguise to him and he must be feeling trapped in a new mesh of people. It was seconds when he manged to escape from my hands and rolled himself on the couch and the mattress in my living area to dry himself up. I hardly got a chance to wipe him to my satisfaction and he was back under the couch. For him that was now his safest place. He was again no different from the rest and I wondered what made him subject to so much abuse.

However at the end of the spa event,I must say, that the manufacturers of these medicated shampoos for dogs should really start working on their aromas too, as for the next few hours, that went post his shower were not so good either. Som was hilariously desperate to breathe some fresh air and struggled to find a room that did not have any smell. Well, I can’t blame him completely either as he is now totally in a different ball game since yesterday.

As the day rolled by the post lunch hours, I needed myself to go for some quick grocery keeping in mind that now I have a new kid to be left alone for the time being. Considering his requirements, I thought it would be a great idea to let him have a stroll and give him a chance to do his needful. So, I confidently got his leash on and more than ever happy Snoopy, agrees to come down with me for his stroll, a stroll that I am likely never to forget.

I live in a locality that is accompanied by a small cattle that resides in close proximity. So a flock of roosters and hens, goats and their family and a herd of  buffaloes crossing now and then, has been a very regular and normal sight to me from the time we have moved in here. But the moment Snoopy had set himself outside the building, his sight was something that these cattle inmates hadn’t seen, may in their lifetime. They were used to seeing dogs around, but this one was malnourished than usual, his face not like the usual ones since he is a crossbreed of Labradors and Poodles called Labradoodle, and Poodles are rarely seen by the basic Indian cattle, his fur coat was kind of distorted and most weirdly he dint have a tail. ” Are you kidding, no tail to wag? Is he really a dog. I mean we all have tails, even we as chickens and hens have, a small one though, but yes we do still have one.” And they all stood in a line staring, yes literally staring at him. This is something I witnessed for the first time in my life of animal love.

As we walked further, ignoring the curious crowd of the hens, we happened to cross a handful tribe of goats and they all stood with an amused look starring at this little guy. “Who is this new specie? Is he one of his or one of what else? We have never seen such a four legged fellow?” And these 4 goats stood in line as Snoopy walked passed their red carpet of curiosity, among all of them. He unknowingly did not miss a pinch of attention of any kind on his first day of stroll in broad daylight and in no time seemed to have become a popular “eye candy” to their social community.

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This is Snoopy post his shower and grooming session. He seems to look better, cleaner and definitely adorable. 🙂

Past amidst all the silent speculation, Snoopy was back home and I was ready to leave for the quick grocery and Snoopy’s grooming kit shopping chores and the moment I stepped out and locked him to leave, I was stopped. Snoopy was too scared to be left alone. He started screaming that sounded like cries of a left out child. I made 3 attempts to convince him and none made a breakthrough. I cancelled my cab and decided to stay back home with him and the moment I was in, he was under the sofa in his secure home and since then am home with Snoopy.

The evening followed with Som eventually doing the post office grocery and dog grooming kit shopping. Snoopy was very happy to see his new  yellow comb and surprisingly stood firm for the remaining part of his spa therapy. Seemed this guy had a missed a grooming for months and enjoyed every bit of the brush and the talc that I gently dusted on him with efforts to make him look like a handsome boy..again. 🙂

To be continued…