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Walker: What about Bob?

Posted: June 4, 2015 9:15 a.m.
Updated: June 5, 2015 1:00 a.m.

The scruffy gentleman terrier mix had been at the Walter M. Crowe Animal Shelter for almost six months. Walter Crowe’s team knew he was a great dog, but so far, Bob had always been passed over for other available dogs. Then, one loving Walter Crowe caretaker suggested Bob be sent up north for adoption through the local rescue Fostering Foster. That one suggestion leads to a happy ending. But first, some details.

What is fostering a dog and why up north?

Fostering a dog is letting the pet stay at your home for either a short-term or a long-term stay, but always with the knowledge the animal will not be with you forever. At Fostering Foster, we ask our foster homes to love their foster dogs for anywhere from two to four weeks. This is enough time for the animal to be out of a shelter and to ensure they are healthy and OK in a home.

Fostering Foster works with three dedicated northern partners: North County Animal League in Morrisville, Vt.; SCPA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.; and the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in Wainscott, N.Y. Our northern partners often have empty kennels and need dogs for adoption. In their areas, accessibility to and low cost spay/neuter services are more readily available. This, and other factors, such as unattended dogs not being allowed to roam, help keep their dog population at a manageable number. And, hence, their shelters are not so full.

How does this work with our local shelter?

Our local animal shelters do a good job of handling thousands of dogs a year. Sadly, many dogs are owner-surrenders who already know how to live in a house and behave. Here in Kershaw County we often have more available dogs than there are people who want to adopt them. The shelter helps save lives by identifying which dogs could be candidates to go up north. Then our local fosters/rescues look to find local homes willing to take them in for a short visit.

What makes for a good foster home?

Past experience owning a dog helps families foster. They know what to expect out of a pet. Having time to spend with a foster dog also helps. Many of these dogs have been in a shelter for a while and home socialization helps them make a future transition. Most local rescue organizations can help provide a crate/kennel if needed.

Right now, we desperately need more foster homes. Walter Crowe has an abundance of good, adoptable pets, but we don’t have the population to adopt them. The shelters up north can place these dogs in loving homes, if we can get the dogs to them.

Who pays for dog food and vet care?

The foster/rescue or shelter will pay for dog food and vet care. We desire to make fostering easy on our volunteers. At times, we may need help transporting a foster dog to a vet appointment, but if the foster family can’t help, we arrange for transportation.

How can I help?

Fostering Foster is one of several non-profit rescues in the area. For example, Danny and Ron’s Rescue with two locations near Camden will soon save their 9,000th dog. Supporters often donate money and/or supplies. As a 501(c)(3), donations are tax deductible.

Supporters can also foster a dog. Rescue volunteers work with foster families to understand what kind of dogs work best for each home. There is constant communication between the rescue and foster home to ensure everything is OK. Knowing they can save many lives helps foster families not get overly attached to each visiting dog. Though special ones, like Bob, are hard to let go.

Back to Bob

Bob stayed at a local Kershaw County foster home during this past Christmas and enjoyed daily walks and lots of love. Then, Bob boarded a small bus for an overnight trip to New York where the SCPA of Westchester was anxiously awaiting his arrival (and the arrival of nine other dogs with him). That cooler weather worked wonders with our scruffy friend and in less than one week, Bob found his forever home. The Southern gentleman traveled many roads to reach home, but thanks to the help of many hands, he’s in good hands -- “furever.”

(Andrea Walker, a local resident, is an autism consultant with the S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs Autism Division and the founder of Fostering Foster. For more information connect with Fostering Foster on Facebook or email fosteringfoster@yahoo.com.)

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