By Alisa Johnson, President Dogs on Deployment
I’ve always been a dog-lover. I’ve had three dogs my whole life (short so far, I’m only 25… I mean 24…). My childhood dog, Tasha, was my best friend as a kid. She recently passed away and her passing broke my heart. As an adult, I got my first puppy JD, he’s my “soul puppy” and the inspiration behind all my animal and rescue work. Then I got Jersey, my little evil puppy from a rescue in Alabama. Then I have all my fosters…
JD with Shawn and I.
My first three foster dogs were strays I found on the streets in my old neighborhood in San Diego. I’d find these skinny, scared or abused dogs on the street and knew if I did nothing, no one would do anything, and their futures would be uncertain, or possibly, non-existent. If I didn’t help them, who would?
I invested into these three dogs both time and money. I wasn’t connected to any rescue group, and as just another stray on the street, I couldn’t find anyone willing to help. On a college-budget working part-time at Petco, I had to save to get them all vetted and neutered/spayed. I spent a lot of time networking them to find them homes; this was all before I had such an amazing network in Dogs on Deployment. It took time, patience and love, an it paid off, because all three of them were adopted and are living with amazing owners.
I had the time, I had the drive, I had the little bit of extra money and I had the space to help those dogs. So I did. It was inconvenient at times. It was hard to let them go. But in the end, if I didn’t help, who would? No one. That was all the reason I needed to stop traffic, to jump out of my car, and pick up those stray dogs covered in fleas and bring them under my care.
I did the same for Dillard. He was a stray pitbull-shar pei mix I found abandoned in the mall parking lot in Corpus Christi, TX, where stray animals are a dime-a-dozen. I was in the middle of flight school, spending 12-hours a day flying, or studying for flying. I was living on my own, and had my two dogs with me in my house on base, which has a two-pet limit and bans pitbulls.
Dillard was adopted to a Marine and his wife.
I could have left Dillard in that parking lot. I could have left him to face the busy traffic, and the nearby freeway, and the hordes of cars and people who would hurt him. But he rolled over onto his back with his tail between his legs as I approached him, and I couldn’t. I could not possibly leave him there with a clean conscience. So I put him in my car, and took him home.
I was scared to death he may attack my own dogs; dog fighting is prevalent in this area. But I took the chance to see what his initial behavior towards other dogs was; and it was good. After a long journey through several foster homes, failed adoptions and denials from rescue groups to help, perseverance paid off and Dillard was adopted to a military family in San Diego, CA.
He could have died on the streets of Corpus Christi as many other strays do. Instead he is a part loving family.
I have recently started to foster with a local rescue group, For the Love of Strays. Networking, vetting and adopting a dog on your own can be exhausting and many people don’t have the capability to do it. It was exhausting, and I admitted to myself I needed the help, but I didn’t want to stop fostering. After all, I have an open home (my two dogs are living with their “dad”) and a little extra time to spend on a dog’s life.
My fifth foster, Maggie, was recently adopted to a loving home in San Diego, CA as well (my dogs are popular in CA!). She was a difficult placement because she had some special requirements for a new home.
My sixth foster is Shadow. She’s now looking for her forever home. If she did not have my home, who knows where she would end up. Shelters everywhere are full, and forced to euthanize perfectly adoptable dogs and cats for no other reason than lack of space. Rescues are lacking foster homes; if there are no foster homes for the animals to go to, they can’t enter the rescue.
Shadow is a 1 year old Lab-mix for adoption in the Gulf Coast area. Read below for adoption information on Shadow!
So why do I foster? Because if not me, then who? If you have the time, space and commitment to foster an animal – dog, cat, bird, rabbit, horse or any other – do it. Whether it is a military pet found through Dogs on Deployment, or a homeless dog through your local rescue, FOSTERING SAVES LIVES. Foster on your own (ensure any stray you find, you sufficiently attempt to locate the original owners), or foster for an organization, Dogs on Deployment or local rescue. Foster short term, or foster long term. Every day an animal spends in your home is an extra chance at a long life. If you can, why would you not give them this?
I am not in a locale or position to provide long-term fostering for a military-pet through Dogs on Deployment, but when I move back home to San Diego at the end of the year, our home will be open to a compatible pet through our own network, while also remaining open to several San Diego rescues as an emergency home.
Can’t foster? Then please consider supporting foster-organizations in any other way you can – share pets in need on Facebook/Twitter, donate, promote adoption, etc. Every bit of education and outreach you do, helps that group.
Want to adopt Shadow?
Meet Shadow! Shadow is a 1 year old, spayed female, lab-mix, medium sized (50lb) dog looking for her forever home through For The Love Of Strays! She is an active, funny and very sweet cuddle-bug. Her adoption fee is $130 which covers her spay, vaccinations and microchip. She is currently in my foster care, so any questions on her, or meet and greets in Corpus Christi, TX, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. She may be easily adopted in the Gulf Coast region. Read more about Shadow below.
Shadow came into the rescue group last October. She was a stray who followed a dog-loving lady home, sat on her door step, and would not leave! Hence, her name Shadow. She is very trusting of people, and thus, she needs a home which won’t abuse that trust.
Shadow is a couch potato when she’s lying around the house, but is very active when its time to play. She absolutely loves to be outdoors, at the beach, and to RUN! She may be part Greyhound – she’s the fastest dog I’ve seen! She would do great in an active household that hikes, runs, goes to the beach, enjoys boating or that travels often. She is perfect in the car, does great on the leash (when using a harness) and is friendly meeting new people.
Shadow is OK with all people, but seems to REALLY love men. She would do great in a home where she is the only dog; she loves being the sole source of attention! She is OK with other dogs in a calm environment, but some dogs she just does not like. She is OK with cats with careful introduction. She has not been around many young children, but would do fine with older children.
When she plays, she likes to wrestle or play catch with toys. She loves squeaky toys! She prefers to sleep in the bed, cuddle up next to her human, or on the couch… but she listens VERY well and will get off the furniture with a gentle “Off” command. She knows basic commands and is very attentive to her human’s voice. She is very smart and with some training, has potential to learn many tricks. She is a very easy-going dog and wants to be with her human all the time. She is a true “shadow.”
I see Shadow’s perfect home being a young couple or single person that lives a very active lifestyle and wants a well-behaved dog to accompany them on trips, activities and even work. She is a very fit dog and would benefit from daily runs along the beach to get her energy out.