BECOME A FOSTER
ON THE ISLAND...
...ON THE MAINLAND
We got involved with PSD last summer as a foster family. We had been considering getting a dog and it seemed like a great way to both try out dog parenting and help a pup on its way to its forever home. We had our first foster pup all summer and fell in love, not only with her, but with the difference PSD was making in these dogs' lives. As a teacher home for the summer with a little extra time, I began doing outreach in the area, finding others willing to foster and a local pet store happy to host us for adoption events. Our little area in northern CT has since boomed with PSD fosters and adoptive families. Once I returned to school, it became more difficult for me to consistently foster but we host an adoption event every month or two and have had great success finding forever families for our pups at these events. My two children, ages 9 and 11, also help out at every event and have started their own outreach at their schools and hosting a lemonade stand to benefit PSD. They love both fostering and helping at adoption events, knowing that they are helping these pups to find loving forever homes. When meeting our foster pups I have had many people say to me, "I don't know how you do it, I could never foster, I would get too attached and want to keep them all". Well, I DO get too attached. I DO want to keep them all. I cry every time I have to say goodbye. My heart breaks a little. But then my heart also grows, because I know that without the amazing work PSD is doing, these dogs would have no chance at a happy healthy life, knowing what it is to be loved and part of a family. I love hearing from my adoptive families, knowing my pups are having an amazing life, started off the right way because we were able to show them what love was.
-- CHENOA ANDERSON
RESCUED BY FOSTERING, words from a new foster mom.
When my dog of 13 ½ years died in January of 2017, I vowed that I’d never have another dog. He was my best friend. Ernie came into our lives when my younger daughter was 16. She had begged me for many years for a dog. We’d always had cats and I’d had dogs years back, but cats seemed easier. So one sunny Sunday, she lured me to a AKC shop on Rte 23. I casually asked the owner if she had any beagles. My favorite dog when my parents finally broke down and let me have a dog was a beagle mix we named Ophelia and she was my first treasured dog. Of course the owner had a beagle pup and the rest is history. He was the love of everyone’s life. The neighbors didn’t know my name. My corner house with the fenced in yard came to be known as Ernie’s house. His siren howl could be heard for blocks around. Oh, that’s just Ernie.
Children leave home eventually and my daughter left when Ernie was about 8. That was the first significant change in our lives together. He officially became my dog and we were the closest pals throughout the rest of his life. We downsized and moved into an apartment. He no longer had the yard he loved and he declined dying six months after we moved.
I became dogless. I would pet every dog that walked my way throughout the following year and a half. “Why don’t you get another dog?” friends would ask. I had all the excuses. It affects your freedom. I don’t want the mess. But mainly, I didn’t want to go through the death of another dearly beloved pet.
Then, around last January, I read about Punta Santiago dogs on Facebook. I read about the wonderful young women who had seen the ravages of the Hurricane Maria and the effects it had on the pet population. They were there doing research at the time. I was so affected and impressed by this effort that I took the brave step toward filling out an inquiry about fostering – that’s all I had the courage to do at the time. I figured that it would help me to bridge the feelings I was having, being so determined that I never wanted another dog.
I was immediately contacted and asked if I’d be willing to have a representative come to my home to do a home study and interview. “Why not? It’s just a meet up.”
And the rest, as they say, is history. I got my first pup, Penny. I was so thrilled. But I was again so impressed by the organization. They brought me a crate, food, collar and leash and the pup, who couldn’t have been more adorable. I had stipulated that I didn’t want a puppy – that I wanted an older dog. So, Penny was just about a year old, and as almost as soon as she came, she was gone.
Punta Santiago is so determined to find “forever homes” for these pups. They had an adoption event the very weekend Penny arrived and she was adopted. I had her for a total of four days. I took a week off or so off, and then came Isabella, the most beautiful two year-old chocolate brown lab mix. My husband and I fell in love with her. (We now know that we fall in love with every dog we foster.) I literally had a breakdown when I had to give her up, but now I also know that fostering is helping me to move toward the day when I can commit to having a dog all the time.
The most recent pup we fostered was Ash. We had him for almost a month and he became a “foster” member of my family, getting to know my kids and my grandkids and friends. And we all understood that, though he was once again the perfect pup for us, he was moving on to his “forever home.” And so he did. And I miss him terribly, but in a couple of weeks, a new pup will come our way.
Why do it? These pups have no future where they are. The people of Puerto Rico haven’t recovered from Hurricane Maria, so the animals are low on the priority list. I was told yesterday that dogs and cats are all over the place with no homes and no one to care for them. If I can give my home to bridge the gap between their arrival in the U.S. and their “forever homes,” I feel that it is an unselfish way to have a pet, at least for a time. We get all the love and yes, then they leave. But we know they are going to homes where they will be loved forever – a new beginning.
Try it. And if you need any further convincing, give me a call. I’m always happy to talk about the great gift of fostering!
My husband and I have always been dog lovers; however, we never anticipated becoming fosters. It just didn’t seem feasible given our lifestyle. We have always been the type of people to rush through each day trying to go from one commitment to the next. That said, we have always been aware of the issue regarding street dogs (Satos) in Puerto Rico because we both grew up and lived there for a significant portion of our lives. We also know how serious the problem became after so many people were forced to abandon the island and, sadly, their pets because of Hurricane Maria. It was a heartbreaking situation and there wasn’t much we were able to do living in CT. Fast forward nearly two years later, when we heard from a neighbor that there was a foster based, rescue group posting about their need for new fosters. Despite having a brief conversation about it, we still had no interest in fostering, until my daughter sent me one of the posts. I applied on a whim and we were soon informed that Punta Santiago Dogs was going to conduct a home visit, in order to ensure that we had a safe space for potential foster dogs.
A few days later, we got notified that we were approved to be fosters and I was beyond excited. I was nervous because I knew I would fall in love with every foster I would encounter and my husband was apprehensive because of the responsibility that is assumed. That said, we are so grateful that we decided to become fosters for PSD. We love Satos. Not only are they grateful, smart, and loyal, but they are also loving and hard to let go. With three kids out of the house and only one left, they keep us occupied and help us maintain that busy lifestyle we’ve always known and love. To this date, we have fostered seven dogs and, although it’s bittersweet to let them go, it’s so rewarding and I know that every time, one of my pups leaves it’s to a lovely home where they are going to be truly loved for the rest of their lives. Also, we are always looking forward to our next foster dog! We are beyond grateful to PSD. We’re so proud to be part of such a caring and responsible team whose main priority is to make a difference in these animals’ lives. Although we never predicted this would happen, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
--VANESSA & NELSON TORRES