Oftentimes when I say "yes" to fostering an animal, I have a sense of what their particular needs are going to be. Are they big or little? Young or old? Potty trained or not? Etc...
The rescuer or rescue organization the animal is with has usually had some sort of interaction with the animal prior to them arriving at my door, so I feel a sense of preparedness.
Well...that was NOT the case with my latest foster boy named "Doobie." Doobie's photo on Instagram stopped me in my tracks the second I saw it.
I guess you could say it's the closest I've come to "love at first sight" with a man =)
I can't explain why....but I think it was all in the eyes!
To an average person, Doobie is just another, brown colored pitbull. He's no spring chicken, coming in at about 10 years young. His back legs are a little weak, but he gets around perfectly well. He has pressure sores on his body, where some fur has been rubbed off, due to the many hours he's had to live outdoors on hard flooring and cement, and he had some lumps and bumps that the shelter removed.
That said, when I came across his "happy go lucky" smile and witnessed the glimmer of possibility and LOVE in his eyes, I just KNEW in my heart that I needed to help him.
To see a dog who has obviously endured years of neglect STILL have that sparkle of hope, reminds me why I do what I do!
So, I immediately put out an SOS to my wonderful friend, Ellen with Deity Animal Rescue and Foundation and she got the ball rolling to pull him out of the shelter and figure out a plan!
Within days, we were standing outside the South LA Shelter; leash in hand, ready to take home our new baby boy! Everything was great!
The initial meeting was just as I imagined. Doobie came trotting over to us, with that beautiful TOOFLESS grin. He was a little unsure what was happening, but he was up for the adventure!
We lifted him up into my car (which he wasn't a huge fan of) and then we made it home!
And THEN my anxiety kicked in.
Now let me be clear-my anxiety was NOT a reflection of Doobie! He was acting like the pure, calm, mellow gentleman he is! My anxiety was purely because it's been a long time since I've fostered a large dog that I didn't know anything about!
OMG- my brain went into overdrive. What have I done? What was I thinking? What am I going to do tomorrow when I have to work all day? What if he freaks out? What if he breaks out of the house? What if he hates me? HELPPPPP.....
I hadn't had this type of response to a foster animal since my very first one YEARS AGO and my mind was running wild!
At the same time, poor Doobie was pacing the house trying to figure out where he was...which in turn added to my feelings of being overwhelmed lol.
I say this not to scare anyone, but to remind you that rescuing or fostering a new dog or cat can sometimes feel overwhelming EVEN to the pro's who have done it for years!
All of a sudden you have a stranger sharing your space and you know NOTHING about them! Thankfully, after doing this for so long, I talked myself off the ledge and reminded myself that it WILL always work out! There might be a bit of an adjustment period, but it WILL always work out!
It's now been more then two weeks since that day and Doobie is a magical gem! He hasn't given me one reason to feel overwhelmed and has adjusted to living with my pack like a champ! He loves his leisurely walks around the block, his comfy beds and naps, his yummy food and his belly rubs!!
He follows me around the house and constantly makes me laugh. He gives me those puppy dog eyes every time I'm eating and he twitches in his sleep when he has the cutest puppy dog dreams!
His tail wags when I get home and the best news is that his lumps and bumps came back non-cancerous , so he's now ready to find his ADOPTION EVER AFTER!
So again, please remember that while things may seem overwhelming in the moment, it's like meeting a new dance partner. You have to spend time together, get into a rhythm and learn each other's language. THEN-it's magic
If you're interested in being Doobie's long-term foster or forever home, please click here to fill out an application and just TYPE IN DOOBIE, if you don't see his name!