Why I Foster… Kisses
I have discovered that I foster for the kisses.
When I met Randall, he was a skinny, scared Coonhound mix with heartworms. He looked at me with his sad eyes, and I fell in love. He kissed me in Erica’s office, and I felt his hope. I took him home and walked him, loved on him, taught him things, napped with him….because hounds aren’t naturally the most cuddly of creatures.
He found that he loved being loved and found his smile while he was here. He blossomed! Randall loved and was greatly loved in return. He transformed from an outside yard dog into a beautifully well-mannered house dog and loving companion. Goodbye day was so painful it still makes me cry. I blubbered and blindly stumbled into the arms of a dog walker who held me and promised to give Randall lots of love.
I shared Thanksgiving of 2018 with Butterball and her 3 puppies. I’ll never forget the look on her face when I got her and the puppies settled here at home. She felt safe after feeling unsafe and alone for so long. She nuzzled my ear and gave my cheek a kiss. Love.
Butterball had an incredibly gentle nature. When she needed a break from the puppies, she could be found napping on the loveseat. She was all heart. A low energy cuddle buddy. She came back to spend Christmas and New Year’s with us, and we had a great time cuddling and watching Hallmark movies. Goodbye day was hard, again. When her adoption picture was posted, I saw love again. This time in her eyes and in her new mom’s.
The next fosters were four little dogs from a breeding situation, Pinky, Rascal, Honey Boo Boo and Monkey. I’ve never seen such fear and such mistrust. I talked to them constantly. When I opened the door to their pen, I waited for them to come out, because the first time I reached in, I saw panic and fear. We spent loads of time getting used to being touched. Monkey was the first to give kisses. I opened his pen and he came right out to my lap and kissed my neck. He trusted me not to hurt him. Pinky and Rascal were quick to follow suit. Honey Boo Boo you had to catch on the fly as she darted from her pen, but once you had her, she absolutely melted into you. She wanted love so bad but she was so scared. From a bad situation fraught with fear, they all started to learn to trust again.
Enter Shadow. What can I say about the boy? He came to us with a hurt leg. Apparently from an old injury. Judging from the scars on his face and body, it was not his only old injury. The first time I met him, he swiped the whole side of my face with his big wet tongue! He is an awesome dog, the complete package. His heart has an unlimited capacity for love…giving and receiving. There is not a more compassionate dog I’ve ever met. My older lab has hip issues, and Shadow laid on the floor to play with him. He joined in the puppy piles for nap time and was in heaven! He was eager to please and learned house manners quickly. No aggression, no begging for food….he was just one of the family. Aptly named, he just wanted to hang wherever you were. Best of all, he liked giving a goodnight kiss when he settled in his place in bed each night. Shadow is so loved and greatly missed.
Little Chocolate Chunk had his ringworm toes. I didn’t want to spread the virus, so I found a hazmat suit that I could wear and cuddle him as puppies should be cuddled! He was a resident of my pottery studio while he was here. I sat him on the edge of my sink and put medicine on his paw, and he reached up and swiped me with his tongue. His tail was always wagging! I bought him a radio for the studio so he wouldn’t ever feel alone if I wasn’t there. He got lots of fresh air, exercise, love and good food to compensate for the nasty dips he had to have! He was an absolute delight to have here! My only regret is that the rest of the pack wasn’t able to meet him, and I wasn’t able to love on him without protection until goodbye day.
Now I have Snoop. He has already overcome so much in his young life. He’s so brave. I’m so looking forward to my journey with him.
With each foster, I’ve learned something new. I’ve fallen in love with each and everyone, because how else can you teach them about love without pouring your heart into theirs?
And it all starts with a kiss…..
This is why I foster. Goodbye day really sucks… it sucks so bad. But the kisses live in my heart, and I know I’ve made their lives happier because they’ve made mine so much happier.
~ Janette, HSNEGA Foster and Volunteer
Want to become a HSNEGA foster? Email HSNEGA’s Foster Coordinator, Kathleen Garrand, at KGarrand@HSNEGA.org or visit https://hsnega-augusta.org/volunteer/opportunities/ for more information.