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.

I am not a Dog!

The Tale of the Coyote

I maybe unaware of many of my potentials, but my constant attraction and amusement towards the animal kingdom doesn’t surprise me much after all these years.

I have been a pretty ‘famous‘ kid in my family, for this fond behavior of mine, especially coming from a time when animals were just not taken seriously enough.

I have been ‘almost’ kicked by a happy grazing horse because my innocent instincts as a child did not warn me before I was attracted to grab the lusciously swaying mane of the careless creature. Had it not been for my pretty fluffy frock, I would have ended up having some cracked ribs and howling parents.

However, time evolved and I continued my adventurous childhood. I had several pet episodes from rescuing a hen and adoring her as my best friend, celebrating birthday parties for my love birds, going crazy over my bunnies and being obsessed about my roaming baby parrot who I would sincerely put to bed every single night until her instincts asked her to fly away. All this and more of such incidents in details, have ever since then been a popular storytelling about me by my elders gathering much praise and ridicule at the same time.  I will admit, that I never took  the ridicule very seriously apart from now laughing inside out of the insane little things my heart has made me do.

It was not long since the epic stories of my childhood animal-love craze had faded and this time it obviously had to be my better half, who has been having to deal with me and the varied dimensions of my personality. :D. And I must proudly admit that I have added so much variety to his usual mundane living. 😉

From feeding stray dogs and having a fan club of dogs following me in my house street, in India that I  have ever heavenly adored, to finding peace within myself by working at the shelter and fostering dogs whom I could help in my own small ways ways, are the small things that make me feel good about being me. But something such as this particular incident had pretty much manage me to amuse myself and needless to say, jolt my husband. 😀

It was that evening when I was running late on my usual schedule and was unforgivably late to take my foster dog, Rex for his evening walks. While I had literally tired myself out in the efforts of exhausting my dog, who actually showed no such similar signs but of more enthusiasm, I spotted a slender sharp eared dog in the distant with no leash, collar, or any human around. At first I expected his or her parent to be around and started talking to my dog in gibberish how well the other fellow was without leash and hoped Rex would understand the rest of my expectation from my intention. You know, when they say that animals can read your mind and energy ~ it was clearly an effort in that direction.

In the next 5 seconds, I had 10 thoughts that ran in my mind. I was all geared  and enthused to help this young abandoned funny looking stray dog. I did wonder his breed, because he looked much like the strays back home in India but nothing like I would expect to come across in the US owing to my limited knowledge, to the dog breeding industry.

I approached the seemingly scared fellow with some treats that I had with me. I usually keep them handy to teach my dog leash walking manners and here it seemed that they could be useful even otherwise. Anyways, I moved closer carefully not to scare the dog away, trying to call him closer extending my hands with the treats but it was of no help. The fellow seemed even more scared and ran into the neighboring bushes. Surprisingly my companion mutt did not even make a hush and it seemed pretty weird to me.

 

I did think of giving a call to my spouse who was busy practicing his strings and urge him to help take this guy to the local shelter, but had I just not hurried out of my house and remembered to carry my cell phone along, I would have done that too.

With helpful thoughts hovering on my mind, I changed my route and while we were strolling our way back to our apartment, a friendly jogger passed by me, notifying that there was a young coyote out there in the bushes and it would not be really safe. “Ahh. Now I know why he wasn’t sure about the treats and why my mutt had made no sign of agreement. How the hell am I still so stupid?” And headed straight back home.

With a proud voice I alarmed my husband, that I was back home and like my stereotypical ways, I called him loud as I began to remove my shoes.

” You know what?”
“No,what? “, his usual reply.
” I was luring a coyote to come home with me.”

Pin Drop Silence

“What? Really What?”

And I burst out laughing right there. ” I thought it was an abandoned dog and I could be of some help. I have never seen a coyote in real and besides that, don’t you think it was exciting?”  “I must advice you that besides your good intention, you really should not be thinking so much. It clearly isn’t anything that I would call exciting. I am grateful that you are lucky and safe and I am not chasing a 911 at the moment” and he helplessly returned to strumming his guitar.

“Please don’t go to walk Rex , so late in the evening. I really cannot afford to foster coyotes in the house” was the last bit of murmur that came out of him after a while and I was still wondering and secretly laughing inside, thinking of what I was just about to do. It was almost like the narrow escape from being kicked by that horse, back in those days.:D

But nevertheless, my stories shall continue, hopefully sensible ones…

Alas! Marriage can truly have so much to endure. 😀 ♥

Original pic: was inspired from here. 🙂

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. 🙂