A Foster’s Perspective
A Foster’s Perspective
By Justina Puntini, Baypath Volunteer & Foster
I once read a quote that said, “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
Only when I got into fostering did that quote really start to make sense. We can’t change what happened to them, but we can show them the way to a better future.
Each foster brings a new experience, but you never forget your first. The moment that dog walks through your door, everything around you stops. You’re perhaps a bit nervous, but you remain relaxed knowing the whole “expect the unexpected” is now in action.
What do you do first? Nothing. Just put yourself in the dog’s position and try to understand that what they need now is to adjust to this new journey. Avoid the hoedowns and outings for now, folks. This first step is the most precious for your foster and will, in fact, set them up for success down the road. The choices we make for our fosters today will only help them live a better tomorrow.
You know the saying “patience is a virtue”? Now would be a good time to grab that book you’ve been wanting to read for the past five years and take a seat. There’s no rhyme or reason, you just need to let things take their course. Only then will you start to notice the change. You’ll know when it happens. It’s that moment when you see the look in your foster’s eyes — the look of pure innocence that’s been waiting for someone like you to find them and give them comfort, love and a place to be.
And there you have it … Just kidding! Fostering is like an infomercial — “But wait, there’s more!”
Once your foster dog has come out of their shell the fun begins. You’ve been told about their past and others’ experiences with them, but like Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The quote is even true in fostering.
A bit more advice: You have to go into fostering with not only an open heart, but an open mind … and a lot of treats! You’re going to hit a few bumps — I mean, you didn’t want a clean rug, right? And that blanket looks better torn up, it gives it character!
But the good days? Oh yes, you will have plenty of those. The good ones outweigh the bad ones, I can assure you. After countless days, weeks or months — remember, no rhyme or reason — of working with your foster, spending time together and building that trust and connection, you’ll start to see your foster become the dog they were meant to be. A dog who was once afraid, shy and confused will finally come to life and simply live like a dog should. And it’s a beautiful thing.
What’s next? That bittersweet feeling starts. After all, you knew this was temporary. And there’s a family that wants to adopt your foster. This is what you’ve been working and hoping for. It’s okay to be sad. But take pride and joy in knowing that it’s because of you that this dog has a chance at a happy ending.
After all, you gave your foster dog what they really needed — Michael Bolton’s song explains it best: “Time, Love and Tenderness.”