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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The value of fostering an animal

The value of fostering an animal

by Bay State Rock Carmelita on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 3:50pm

It's the time of the year end when I scan back over the last several months reviewing personal accomplishments and unfinished business left over from last year. Some of my expectations fell short due to unexpected specifics overlooked in myself, thus lacking in the ability to bring some of the same awareness of others. Music and radio are doing fine, while they always need tweaking. However, my other love of animal rescue has fallen short.

The old familiar personal vision Vs. unseen obstacles whilst attempting to accomplish the skill of building a realistic network of dog fostering has become a serious undertaking for my upcoming year. It's been a failed goal from this past year and I'm cool with that. Failure is the key to success... and all that shite, right? I now realize a major shortcoming lies in my failure in first setting out to alert others about the art and truth of animal fostering. How it can be a deeply rewarding experience for some, and a nightmare for others. I have learned it's a disaster in the making to not inform potential fosters that if they are not ready or able to dig deep into their heads and hearts and forge ahead fearlessly in challenging themselves in being more tolerant and giving than they've ever experienced, then fostering is NOT going to work.

My first step is to not simply collect random good willed people who have time or an extra corner of their home for an animal in transition and say "ok, you can foster". This time around, I'd rather screen potential fosters in a more discriminating fashion. I am going to look for qualified personality types who are willing to walk into the unknown and ace it. I am going to take the time to teach those "qualified" what I know and what they need to expect.

Animal fosters play a crucial role in animal rescue that requires sound emotional tolerance over precision and skill. Training and experience builds skill. Having the will to build emotional strength and flexibility is far more challenging and complex. Fostering any trauma victim, human or otherwise, requires a constant testing and challenge of ones ability to fully and consciously accept what it is, and not what we want it to be. Anything less is not giving it all we've got. I have learned in fostering that eventually we can make it what we wanted it to be, but not before a willingness to accept the "off to a rough start" beginnings. Expecting the unexpected with a sense of humor and a realistic commitment towards bringing comfort and confidence to a separate beings struggle through transition, discomfort, and alienation is what I'm talking about. If healing a sick animal, or consoling a terrified, grieving, abused and abandoned lost soul is NOT more important than cleaning up puke, pee, or poop from your newly cleaned rug or floor, you might want to stop reading here.

In October of 2009 the HSUS estimated "that animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, of whom approximately 3-4 million are euthanized." These staggering figures are the reason I started doing what little I can do to help save some of them. For me personally, it's because the ones I have seen die needlessly in a shelter are the same faithful and sweet pets that some of us live with, or have shared our lives with at one point or an other. The only difference is that these unfortunates were once the pets of those who either died, lost their homes, or heartlessly dumped or abused the biggest and most loyal fans from their miserable lives.

I am not going to write more about this for now, because I need to begin working on putting together a cohesive plan for organizing and creating a realistic, and successful training agenda for potential fosters in 2011. If anyone who has taken the time to read this far is interested, willing to learn more, and are realistically thinking about pushing yourself to a more challenging level of making a difference in the life of an other, please contact me at

Incarcerated on death row prior to rescue. Both of these babies were saved and I adopted the little guy on the left named Gruff.

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