Writer and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Redcliffe, Queensland.
Published September 19th 2012
Open your heart and your home to cats and dogs in need
Taking in a dog or cat part time, when they're at their most vulnerable, can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. For me, it was such a wonderful time that I felt compelled to share my story with others, in the hope you may find it in your heart to do the same. I grew up with dogs and had none in my life at the time I decided to become a foster carer. They certainly helped to fill a hole in my heart.
Any and all animal refuge centres need foster carers. I volunteered through northern New South Wales based Friends of the Pound, a not-for-profit organisation whose aim is to re-home homeless dogs and cats in the Tweed area. It keeps them out of the Tweed Shire Council Pound where they faced death if kept on for too long. You can be the bridge between death and a new life for these wonderful creatures.
As a foster carer, it's your job to look after an orphan dog or cat until a permanent home can be found. The program worked well – Friends of the Pound paid for food, bedding and all medical costs associated with each foster animal. They were also there to help out at any time whenever I ran into trouble.
Don't just think you can jump in however – there are a few small hoops you have to jump through to make sure it's the right thing for you. With me, Friends of the Pound had to check that I had an adequate property and yard, what type of animal I wished to foster for, how much time I could spend with the animals each week and if I had any children. It helped them to find the cats and dogs that were best suited to my living standard.
One interesting dog I took on for a month was Brom, a Dalmatian-wolf hound cross. He was only 10 months old but one of the biggest dogs I've ever had in my care. He was also deaf, which made for an interesting experience. Friends of the Pound gave me an information booklet on training deaf dogs which was most helpful. Besides giving Brom a loving home and all the attention he needs, it was also my duty to see that he got adequate training. He was extremely loveable, all the dogs I had in my care were.
Brom's favourite place to sleep - on top of the outside dining table
The time these dogs would remain in my care varied. Some were a month or just over, while the shortest I had was less than a week. Our first dog Koda was friendly and loved to play. We had him for three weeks before he was selected for adoption. It was sad to see a dog I had grown fond of over the weeks leave my care, but I took great heart in meeting the people who had decided to have him on full time. They were lovely, lived on a farm, and were a great lover of animals. I could tell Koda would have a happy life there.
Baby didn't stay with me long - someone picked him up in less than a week
Of course, not every dog fits with everyone. I had one dog who had boundless energy and unfortunately just not enough room in my backyard to burn it all off. I remember receiving calls during the day saying he had gotten out of the yard, and the times I put him back in he tried to dig his way out. The volunteers at the Friends of the Pound were extremely understanding of my situation and were able to find another home for this particular dog to foster with – it was definitely more suited for him. Besides that one experience, I've never any other bad run in with a dog I've taken in.
Fostering dogs was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life. When my circumstances changed and I was no longer able to do it I certainly missed it - and still do to this day. Please consider giving a bit back to the community by fostering a dog or cat in your local community.
Monika's Doggie Rescue at Ingelside is also always looking for foster carers and people willing to provide Forever Homes - please go to their website and see all the gorgeous doggies atwww.doggierescue.com.au