I want to introduce you to our foster pup Lilly!
She’s about 10 months old and was a stray at Maricopa Country Animal Care and Control – West. We don’t know anything about her past life, but based on how skinny she is, she was either not well cared for or was on her own for a quite a while. When we first met her she was sweet, but very timid. It only took a few days for to come out of her shell and now she’s a spunky little pup.
We’re fostering through a local rescue organization called Mountain Girl Transport Rescue. Mountain Girl Transport Rescue saves e-listed Chihuahuas, pit bulls, and fearful dogs in Arizona and transports them to no-kill shelters in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. There’s less of a supply/more of a demand in those areas vs. overpopulated Arizona (Maricopa County is the second-largest shelter system in the country and has one of the highest kill rates).
Anyway, during the last Mountain Girl Rescue transport, all 34 of the dogs found homes within a few days through their partner rescue. Thinking about how many of those dogs went from the kill list to happy homes is what inspired me to try fostering. Luckily my boyfriend is amazing and was into the idea too.
So a few weeks ago I contacted the rescue group and we were set to foster a dog named Gonzo the following day. Let’s just say things did not go well. We kept having to break up fights between Gonzo and Ringo. Ringo doesn’t like conflict, so he spent most of the day trying to hide from the new dog. It was really stressful. As much as we want to help other dogs, Ringo and Abby’s happiness and safety come first.
Luckily the lady who heads the rescue completely understood and we met to give Gonzo back later that night. He was a good dog, but just wasn’t a good fit for our house. A few days later she sent me a video of Gonzo playing with two big, young females. He just needed a couple women to put him in his place ;)
So anyway, she recommended we try this sweet, unnamed stray instead. Two days later we were meeting one of her volunteers at the pound to pick up Lilly (we got to pick her name). Things were SO much easier when we brought her home vs. the previous experience.
I would love to say that Ringo and Abby like having her around, but I think it would be more accurate to say that they tolerate her. Luckily, they seem to be warming up to the idea of having another dog in the house more and more each day. The first few days Lilly and Ringo got into a couple spats, but nothing too serious. I think they are just setting (and testing) boundaries. Over the weekend we noticed that they are all starting to get more comfortable together and are starting to accept her into our pack.
She loves romping around the backyard, stealing Ringo’s ball, sleeping on the couch, eating food off the counter, belly rubs and cuddles. She’s already figured out the doggie door and we haven’t had any accidents since the first couple of days.
Lilly is staying with us until the November 30th transport. After spending two months together, I know it’s going to be hard to let her go. I’m definitely going to cry my eyes out when we drop her off. I’m getting teary just thinking about it, but I know that it’ll be the right decision for our family. For us, 3 big dogs is just too much to take on permanently. Plus keeping her would be the end of our fostering and we’d like to be able to help more dogs in the future.
Everyone keeps telling me that they’d never foster because they would get too attached and not be able to let go. That’s kind of how I felt at first too, but after reading fostering advice on forums and sad motivational quotes like “Wouldn’t you rather cry watching a dog leave your home to go to happy new home rather than cry knowing a dog died in a shelter because no one stepped in to foster?” I knew we had to try it. Seriously, don’t search “foster dog quotes” unless you want a major guilt trip.
I know not everyone is able to foster, but there are other ways you can help. Volunteers and donations are always needed. If you don’t already support a rescue organization, please consider donating to the next Mountain Girl Rescue transport. The next one leaves AZ on October 26th and donations are needed for the trip (you can donate here). You can also learn more about MGR by checking out their Facebook page. If you want to see some the rescue dogs in their happy homes, check out their rescue partner PB&CHI’s Facebook page.