28 May Foster Friday: Meet Barbara P.
As a part of our 10,000 lives saved celebration we will be featuring the stories of some of our fosters, both Northern and Southern, old and new. As a rescue that does not have a shelter facility, fosters are a vital part of our rescue.
Meet Barbara P., a long-time foster mom for one of LHK9’s Arkansas partners, Rescue Road.
What is your position in the rescue?
Southern foster mom in Arkansas
What year did you join?
Why did you decide to join Rescue Road (one of LHK9’s southern rescue partners)?
Timing is everything. I happened to be in a meeting, and a co-worker started telling me about fostering. I was hooked and had my first two fosters Labor Day weekend 2012.
How many fosters have you had?
Over 250 – each one amazing in their own way! I really have gotten to the point where I don’t remember some of their names. That’s something I thought would never happen.
What do you think has been the biggest change in the rescue since you started?
100% organization. When I started, it was two chicks and some dogs. The rescue has structure now, which is essential for growth and stability.
What is your favorite Last Hope adoption story?
I don’t think I can pick just one. There are so many happy tails stories that inspire me as a foster to keep going. They all deserve a loving home.
What is your favorite foster story?
The one that started it all. My Cletus. I was shopping at Target late on a Tuesday night and got a phone call that a Basset Hound had wandered up to my sister’s house, and they weren’t able to keep him. He was in pretty bad shape, and they wanted to know if I could take him. They bathed him and brought him to me, and he was in terrible shape. We didn’t think he would make it through the night. The following day my sister contacted a co-worker who was involved in rescue who could get me a vet appointment that morning. We loaded Cletus into my car, and off to the vet we went. After an evaluation, it was determined that he had an infection throughout his body, he couldn’t walk, and he was heartworm positive. The rescue had committed to his care if I could foster him. And so we did. He was at the vet for three weeks living in their bathroom because they didn’t have any kennels available. He soon became an office favorite. Fast forward four months, and he had completed his heartworm treatment. The infection appeared to be gone, and he was able to walk again. My sisters and I decided to cover the vet expenses, and I adopted a new family member.
HE was the conversation I was having with my co-worker when she told me about fostering. HE was the reason I got involved with Rescue Road and, ultimately, Last Hope. Our sweet Cletus passed away two years ago this June. He was loved, and every foster that has come into our home is because of him. Timing is everything.
What is your favorite part of volunteering with Last Hope?
Other than saving dogs, it would have to be the people. I have met so many amazing humans who all come together for a common goal. We want to save all the dogs but know that we can’t, so we do the best we can and support each other through the tough times.
What is the most important thing you have learned since you started volunteering?
I have learned so many things, but the one thing that sticks out is that no two dogs are the same, and they all require time to decompress after leaving the shelter for their true self to start to emerge. They each have their own distinct personalities, and each has taught me something or reinforced something I had learned before.
What advice would you give to a new volunteer?
Don’t over-commit, and don’t give up. I remember the excitement of my first two fosters and then wanting to get more because I couldn’t stand the thought of what might happen to them. Do your part, promote and recruit fostering – it is the lifeblood of any rescue. You will have an occasional pup that takes more effort but remember; they are worth it and it will probably end up being your hardest one to let go. If you need a break, take it but always remember the “why” you started fostering – to make a difference. You CAN do it, and you CAN let them go.