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

My Letter to Cupcake

Dear Cupcake,

That tail wag of your’s whenever I get close to you, your puppy eyes wanting me to put my hands on your back and the roll over you do just to get an endless belly rub, is just so heartwarming that I start speaking gibberish out of overflowing and uncontrolled affection for you.

The first day you came in, you jumped and soiled like crazy and all I could think of was ways how to deal with a big sized baby like you. With Shepherd dogs as adorable pets, back at home, I was pretty familiar how crazy you pups can be till you realize it is time for you to finally get some maturity launched in your system. But as days passed and I got a chance to know you a little better, I could see the amount of fear, your undeserving humans had put you through. All you needed now, was some comfort, love and peace, away from the thousands of other abandoned dogs constantly barking and yelling for help at the shelter.

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your first day at our place

I was lame too at the start as I did not understand quite well how most definitely I should be handling you, rather making you feel this cozy apartment of ours is now your home as well. But then one morning when I came close to you, to get you out of your crate, I found you so much more composed than the ‘yesterday’. The sense of your peace started putting me at ease and I in turn began to enjoy my confidence in you and most importantly along with you.

Your coming close to me and putting your head on my palm the other day was the tak e off of a different and a new journey of our bonding together. The more I got to know you, the more I kept falling in love with you. The belly rubs and the walks together simply kept getting better and each time that you sat looking up to me, I had oodles of love over pouring inside me for you. I am sure, you would have sensed it too. 🙂

I gradually understood how afraid you were of people other than Som and myself as all you wanted to do is run back home and then into your crate. Your trusting on us made so much of a difference, that your foster mom and dad couldn’t stop bragging about how proud you made them feel. And each time when you slept peacefully with the afternoon warm sun shining on your innocent face, we felt somewhere deep in the corner of our souls, that we finally were doing something right to you.

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when you soaked in the sun 

 

I know your new medications have been taking a little toll on your gentle bruised mind but I adore you more as you choose to have faith in me although I roll those bitter pills in your favorite peanut butter in disguise and manage to trick and treat you. Trust me, not a bit of me likes doing this to you, but I have to make your chance for a second life, worthwhile.

Today you are more confident and love to take strolls with us without your leash on the walking trails. You want to meet new people and please them with boundless affection since your true mantra is all about “cuddle, cuddle, & cuddle me”. Your coat shines like silk and you run on the fields  galloping with life and love and it fills us with immense pride for you.

Had it not been for the amazing & relentlessly hardworking rescue groups, you Cupcake ( I call you CC/Cici) who is this absolutely adorable foster dog of mine at the moment, would have to be put to eternal sleep due to overloaded shelters and heartless pet owners. The escape from just hours before your life being put to an end, this second chance my dear is so worth the save.

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The happy and transformed you all set for your forever home

You are now recovering from your fear of being left behind like a long lost sad story and each passing day, evolving as an amazingly loving individual instead, who every pet lover would envy to have you in their family.

Cupcake, for as long as you are with us and even after you find your forever home, your paw-prints on our hearts will never be forgotten but deeply cherished as one of our sweetest memories, ever.

Love ,

Your Foster Momma.♥

P.S: I wish to meet you again sometime and you should know that you will never be forgotten.

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.

Snoopy’s Dairy- Day 4

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Day 4 of Snoopy started with a bark in the morning. It was like a Wow! It was the first time we heard Snoopy bark and it was a happy sign of the progress that began with gradually overcoming his fears and having taken a step towards his mental healing. He was able to take his strolls longer than before and frequently craved for it. Seeing his wounds heal and skin regenerate, it was the first day when we unleashed Snoopy and he was allowed to take a stroll in the house and eventually loved to choose his rest spot near the kitchen. It was adorable. He trotted with curiosity inside our apartment as if figuring out his new home they way he would love to.

With my pantry stacked with sacks of pedigree, dog grooming kits and medicines, my house had started looking completely like that of pet parents. The feeling was awesome to me since I always grew up having pets but once I moved out of my house for my college, work and then marriage, the feeling of having loved and being loved by a pet has remained on a deficiency quotient.

Thanks you Snoppy, for fostering me with your love. 🙂

“A dog has one aim in life… to bestow his heart.”
J.R. Ackerley

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. 🙂