Foster Fail #1
Setting: Fall 2012, Front Street Animal Shelter- Sacramento’s city shelter.
*Disclaimer-* Front Street in 2012 was NOT the shelter it is today. At that time volunteer and foster programs were not nearly as developed, and dogs were euthanized more often than they are today. In fact, Front Street, under new (and can we just say AWESOME) leadership went from a 20% survival rate to an 80% + survival rate over the last few years. This is HUGE!
Nonetheless a dog like Callie didn’t have the best odds in 2012.
Chelsea had just started volunteering at the shelter, and Kristi was still going through the training courses to to volunteer. One afternoon Chels received a Hail Mary email sent to all shelter volunteers about a dog named “Wendy,” who was set to be euthanized that afternoon (just TWO hours after Chelsea saw the email). Wendy had been at the shelter a long time, and was being overlooked. She was very stressed and starting reacting to other dogs during feeding time, there was no space for her to have her own kennel. Her time was up, and the shelter staff was frantically looking for a foster.
Chelsea was out of town when she saw the email, but knew she had to do something. After deliberation we decided it was best to call our mom, who currently didn’t have any dogs at home. We explained the situation, our mom had an hour to get to the shelter. After some begging, pleading, and a lot of promises that we would do the work in finding her a forever home, Mom and Karla drove down to Front Street to save a dog.
Our mom was walking into this situation completely clueless, all she knew was that she was there to rescue a “high risk” pit bull. A thought that for us at the time was a little nerve racking. We had no experience in animal rescue, dog training, fostering, and pits had a bad wrap. We’d be lying if we said we thought this would go super well.
When Wendy came barreling around the corner frantic, dragging the shelter worker behind her, the first words out of our (very tiny) mom’s mouth were “Oh sh*t that’s a big dog.”
A couple signatures later and the dog who was moments away from being euthanized was in our car and on her way to her temporary home. She laid down on a blanket and let out a huge sigh. She knew she was safe, and we knew we did the right thing.
Wendy was immediately renamed Callie, a name we felt represented her new beginning, and she was PERFECT. We don’t know where she’s from or how she ended up at the city shelter, but within days she changed our entire perception of pit bulls. She was energetic and strong, but gentile and sweet. She loved everyone, and took a particular liking to Gunner, Kristi’s Husky, and Karla (who still lived with my mom at the time). She is amazing with kids, happy to be walked, and even more stoked to be snuggled. She has the perfect demeanor, and undoubtedly deserved this second chance.
It wasn’t long before we fell in love. No potential adopter was good enough, and Callie was officially part of our family. That experience lit a fire in us, Callie is responsible for our obsession with fostering and adopting dogs. She taught us the importance of shelter staff, volunteers, urgency, and action. She helped us develop relationships with people in our animal rescue community, which has lead us to actively volunteer, foster, host fundraisers & events, facilitate adoptions, and gain friendships.
We understand that rescuing a pet can be nerve racking, but we hope that you consider it anyway. We’ve seen every type of dog in our local shelters, of all ages. Each animal is different, and each of them has a story. The one thing we know for sure is that none of them deserve the situation they’re in, and they certainly don’t deserve to be given up on.
If you want to volunteer, what are you waiting for!? Shelters can use all the help they can get, and it’s the most rewarding experience. If you have questions, or want us to debunk your excuses we’re all ears!