2021 and our 5th year of animal welfare work with homeless dogs is coming to a close and with that, I want to take this Thanksgiving Day to show gratitude to the backbone of rescue. The Foster Family.
I am very fortunate to have a group of individuals who give 110% percent to aiding our homeless dogs the balance they need in life to transition from a homeless dog to a family member in a new home.
These people have no quit in them when it comes to providing for their foster dogs. The time these dogs spend in a home can vary from hours to months, but no matter the length of time they receive the royal treatment. Such commitment is to be recognized and celebrated.
Dogs who are not house trained, dogs who lack confidence, dogs who chew up everything they can get in their mouths, dogs who destroy shoes, phone charges, socks, your child’s homework left unguarded, dogs who bark at every leaf that rolls across the lawn, dig in your potted plant in the foyer, the dogs who drink water from the bowl and manage to drip puddles just far enough from the bowl that you step in it, dogs who are afraid to be alone and the dogs that drag you down the sidewalk by their leash.
Dogs who are in pain, suffering and in need of care & comfort, dogs who have felt the sting of being hit by their human, dogs who know the pain of starving, dogs who lack all manners as they have never set foot inside a home, dogs with illness, broken bones, and emotional scars unseen, but evident.
These are superhuman beings who put things aside to ensure they are in the moment with the dog, that the dog has the food it likes, in a bowl they like, served in the room where they want, giving a third bath of the day after having once again rolled in the mud, the dogs who vomit, urinate and poop on your floors because the medication has started working yet.
There you are, on the floor stroking their fur, trying the 4th brand of food in hopes this time they will eat it, picking up the hot dog with the medication inside off the floor for the 6th time as you think of new ways to hide the pills, whispering that it’s “all going to be okay, you are there for them”, reaching for the 2 roll of paper towels of the day, holding the water bowl steady for them to drink, covering them with a blanket to keep comfortable, holding their paw and wiping the tears from your cheeks.
The dogs who you love, care for and then grant them the dignity of being there when they draw their last breath as no amount of love and medical care could prevent this ending. But you take comfort as they left this world knowing your love, soft touch, kind voice and gentle care. Their last kiss was not goodbye, but until we meet again dear friend.
You have done it all with dedication, commitment and a smile in your hearts driving you to make the difference in this dog’s life. You live for the day their forever family meets them and they look over at you with a wag of their tail letting you know, “all is going to be okay, they are forever in your heart” as your messaging the rescue that if things don’t work out, you want the dog back in your home. Yes, even the dog who you chased around the living room thinking they had a string entangled in their furry hind end, to discover it was a worm. And you photographed that worm and texted it off to the rescue & vet, followed by a string of texts of photos of their poop.
Saying “Thank you” doesn’t feel like it’s enough, but know it’s heartfelt and your dogs wagging their tail on this Thanksgiving day in their new family homes appreciate you as if their life depended upon it, because it did at one point.
Kim Anderson, Normal, IL (14 dogs)
Liza Carrion, Crest Hill, IL (7 dogs)
Charley Ricker, Wauconda, IL (2 dogs)
Lisa Pellowski-Springfield, IL (3 dogs)
Brian Kochman-Normal, IL (1 dog) dog sat for 14 dogs at various points
Michelle Moore, Chicago IL (1 dog)
Marie Rocks-Baker, Havana, IL (2 dogs)
Lynne San Diego, Loda, IL (3 dogs)
Liz Kavanaugh, Chicago, IL (and team) (1 dog)
Pam Lily-Bialik, Lisle, IL (1 dog)Mary Field- Palatine, IL (1 dog)
Jen Dixon, Algonquin, IL (4 dogs)
Terri Templin, Algonquin, IL (1 dog)
Stephanie Maze, Hoffman Estates, IL (1 dog)
Sarah Lynn-Bish, Waterman, IL (1 dog)
Shannon Leif-Silva-LaGrange, IL (1 dog)
Cheryl Nicoski- Plainfield, IL (1 dog)
Brianne Kelly-Downers Grove, IL (1-dog)
Mary Field-Palatine, IL (1 dog)
Shorewood Animal Hospital, Shorewood, IL (various)
Andrea Vaughan-Warcaba- Naperville, IL (Pet Pal to various dogs)