By Yasmina Ahdab
Are you interested in fostering but are worried it doesn’t fit your schedule? Hear what City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties (CDR&CK) fosters have to say. Cat foster Trudy R. says, “fostering is not too different from any other normal day, except it is extra fun! There is just more cuteness and adorableness in your life.” Amelia F. adds, “it is basically a typical day for me, but with the awesomeness of having a cat!”
Most of CDR&CK’s fosters have full-time jobs. Like other dog owners, they organize a midday break through dog walkers, enroll in daycare, or come home during lunch. “After a long-day at work, I am delighted to come home to my foster dog and my own dog, Pablo,” says Paroma C. who spends her evenings “hanging out, snuggling, and playing games with the two pups!”
With a minimum two-week commitment, fostering is the perfect way to discover how a dog or cat might fit into your normal life! “These fosters become a part of your routine. Even if I am late from work or very busy one day, then that’s not an issue since dogs are the most forgiving animals. They will always love you,” says Patricia B.
Are you interested in fostering a cat but are worried about leaving him or her alone all day? No need to worry! City Kitties often fosters out two cats at once, so they can entertain one another while you are busy. If you’re not up for two fosters, we can assure you that your foster cat will enjoy their lazy day of napping.
Enrich your life while saving theirs. “Fostering is the best way to start your mornings. My foster kitties have given me nothing but endless love and cuddles. Their faces light up with excitement each day,” says Caeul L.
Are you someone who likes to exercise and be outdoors? Some people choose to foster younger more active dogs who enjoy spending time outside. Foster, Jess H., always makes sure to include her foster dog in her own workouts. Sometimes she even takes them on adventures to lakes or parks. It’s awesome always having a travel buddy!
Want a break from the same old, same old? “These animals have fun and cool personalities. Everyday is new,” says cat foster Jess P. “I really get to see these animals evolve and grow on a daily basis.” Dog foster Patricia B. asks, “Who can resist so many extra moments of joy and happiness?”
Fostering is also a wonderful way to meet more people. Tracy W. makes sure to put CDR’s “Adopt me” vest or bandanna on his foster dog for their daily walks. “I am continuously stopped by people passing by and have even gotten a couple dogs adopted that way.”
Fosters who provide a temporary home give these dogs and cats the opportunity to escape high-kill and overcrowded shelters. You are giving them the chance to live while building unforgettable memories and warm fuzzies knowing you saved a life. To learn more about fostering, and to apply, visit: www.citydogsrescuedc.org/foster.html.
Henry recently joined the City Dogs Rescue family from Pickens County, SC. Pickens County, SC is a shelter that doesn't do public adoptions so owner surrenders face almost certain euthanasia. CDR Shelter Volunteers Pamela Nalley and Tiffany Moore informed our Pickens Shelter to Rescue team that two Great Pyrenees dogs found themselves at risk in the shelter.
CDR Foster Henry and his sister Abby (recently adopted) lived in an outdoor pen for at least two years. Initial experiences like getting him into the car, into the kennel, leash walking, crating, and bathing were all a nightmare for Pam and Tiffany. After separation from his sister Abby, both of them gained independence right away and made significant progress in just a matter of days. After two days, he loved being inside. He learned to walk on the leash and enjoyed the exploration. After one week, he started doing much better in the crate. Pam learned quickly that he needs a second dog in his life because he needs leadership. A dog who has lived as a dog and not penned outside can teach Henry how to be a dog. It may sound strange but many of the dogs we get at CDR have been conditioned out of what it means to be a dog. They don't know what a family is or a regular meal or a toy. For dogs like Henry, the newness of being an indoor dog can cause anxiety. One of the most important things we've found with these cases is the significance of routine.
One thing that makes Henry's case a little tougher is his size. Pam said it wouldn't be as big a challenge if he was only 15 lbs. Luckily, Henry is a "big fluff love" who "loves other dogs, cats, and especially people." Abby has done well in her new home so our foster mom Leslie wanted to provide an update on Henry for those following along to their stories. Special thanks also to first foster mom Stacey Fischer.
Guest Blog by CDR Foster Leslie Forte
An update for those of you following along at home - the story of Henry, the gorgeous Pyrenees. Henry came to us several weeks ago when his loving foster, Stacey Kenah Fisher, was going out of town. "He's super easy and house-trained!" she said - my two favorite words when deciding to take in a new foster. He had done well at Stacey's house but was clearly an anxious dog. When we put him in my minivan to drive home, he quickly started looking for ways out of the car, hurling his 85 lb body against the windows while I was on the highway. THAT was fun!
When we got him home he was a bundle of nerves, panting and pacing back and forth. He proceeded to throw his body against every (first floor) window and glass door that we had, even trying to escape through our wall-mounted TV which probably seemed like a window to him. He pulled several set of curtains out of the wall while trying to escape. For 24 hours, he did not sit or lay down at all, just paced and whined and panted. I think with all the stress of leaving his farm, changing foster homes, riding in transport and being separated from his sister Abby (fostered by Christi Oakley) that something just snapped in him and he couldn't take it anymore.
He HATED the crate and had escaped it while on transport up to DC, so that wasn't an option for us. At one point I leashed him and tied it to my waist so I could try and get some sleep on the couch without him crashing out of the house through one of the windows. 5 min later he had chewed through the leash. I mean I know some boys don't like to be tied down, but seriously! If we left him alone for any period of time he would trash the place - rugs, kids toys that he took down from high shelves, clothing, purses, etc. He also would not eat a damn thing that we actually wanted him to eat. I didn't know what to do - we've had a lot of fosters, but never one like this boy.
The crew at CDR was AMAZING, Kate Viar, Janine Castorina, Meredith Raimondi and the extraordinary Pamela Nalley were all so helpful and responsive with everything and offered to get a trainer out right away to have him assessed. So we rearranged our schedules and made sure someone was always home with him.
After a full day he did finally lay down and rest some. And slowly things got better bit by bit every day. We started to see this beautiful soul blossom and come out of his shell. He stopped panting, stopped pacing and leaned in for our love and affection instead of trying to run from us. He started eating after I began cooking for him and eventually allowed us to transition him back to just dry dog food. He stopped trying to push open the front door and just hung out in the front yard the two times he figured out how to unlatch the front door and knock it down. He just finally felt safe I guess.
This week our nanny is out of town so we had been working on leaving him for extended periods of time. We hired a dogwalker to come in during the day but so far, he has been 100% A-OK alone finally, 5-6 hours at a time. No destruction or "presents"! He has become THE BEST dog - so sweet, so gentle and tolerant with the kids (even with a baby crawling on him and trying to eat his tail), gets along great with our other black labs, ignores other dogs on walks completely....I could go on and on. Just overall awesome!
I so wish I could keep him but I don't think we can do 3 very large dogs full time with 4 kids, too! Anyone who adopts this boy will be soooo lucky! Henry is our sweet sweet gentle giant! Anyway, wanted to share since a lot of folks have asked me for an update on Henry. Thanks for all the support we've received with him!
Kate Viar, CDR Shelter to Rescue Volunteer for Pickens, says of Leslie Forte, "I consider myself a very experienced foster, and I'm not sure I would have been able to weather what [Leslie] did with Henry...but I am so grateful that [she] did and came through the other end being able to appreciate Henry's finer qualities."
Kate Viar, CDR Shelter to Rescue Volunteer for Pickens, explains Henry's background:
This dog never lived indoors before he was in the shelter. He never saw a TV before, which explains his confusion and hope that it presented an escape route. He never knew love until he met Pamela Nalley, Tiffany Moore, Stacey Kenah Fisher and Leslie Forte. He needed patience and understanding, but I know it was not an easy road for any of [them]. And with each transition, his anxiety grew.... It was a lot for any dog to go through in the span of a few weeks, but especially for a dog as sensitive as Henry. Henry has received multiple applications, but we know it will take a very special family to help him through another transition and continue his progress. We don't want to set him or his adoptive family up to fail, so we need to make sure he is placed in the best home for his needs and personality. We are so thankful to [Leslie] for fostering him and making him a part of [her] family.
Here is Henry's adoption profile:
Dog Name: Henry
Suspected Breed(s): Great Pyrenees Mix
Age: 2 years old
Weight: 84 lbs
Observations with Dogs: Good. Foster home has 2 large labs.
Observations with Cats: Good.
Observations with Kids: Good. Foster home has children aged 10 months, 5, 8 and 10 plus nanny's 2 year old.
House Training Progress: Occasional accidents.
Crate Training Progress: Not a fan and is an escape artist, but he has not been destructive in his foster home once past the transition period.
Location: Foster home in the DC area.
Personality: Gentle, Quiet, Easygoing, Friendly, Loyal, Snuggler, Affectionate, Patient, Calm, Shy, Eager to please, Smart
Rescued From: Pickens County, SC
Additional Information: Henry is such a love bug. He is so calm and mellow. He is regal looking and has such a lovely temperament. He and his sister Abby (already adopted) were surrendered to a high-kill shelter for failing to herd goats and pigs. They lived outside and never knew love. Now Henry soaks up every ounce of love that is showered on him!
He is good with kids, not rambunctious, loves to snuggle and get attention, doesn't jump all over you and is just generally an easy dog to have around. He rarely barks.
Henry has difficulty dealing with transitions, so his new forever family will need to plan for an adjustment period of one to two weeks when he will be extremely anxious. Working with a trainer to help him through this transition will be a condition of his adoption. He also needs to go to a home with another dog, which can help ease his anxiety and build his confidence. He has settled into his foster home and is doing well, but change stresses him out.
He also needs a family who won't leave him for long periods of time initially, as he is anxious when his humans leave him. Again, a trainer can help with this.
Henry is a wonderful, affectionate dog who is well worth the investment!!!
If you are interested in meeting Henry, please fill out an application!
Three dogs, Truvy, Disco, and Shelby, were abandoned to a kill shelter in Laurens County, SC without any hope for rescue and no chances of adoption. Our friends at Sanctuary Rescue notified us that Truvy was pregnant and said they would be able to rescue her, Disco, and Shelby with the help of City Dogs Rescue. These owner surrenders were clearly traumatized by what was probably a life of abuse and neglect. This is the same shelter where recent CDR dog, Katie, came from as well.
Shortly after being rescued, Truvy gave birth to a healthy litter of 6 beautiful puppies. A foster for Sanctuary Rescue cared for her and her pups in Virginia. The puppies nursed with Truvy and shortly thereafter all of them found homes!
Once the puppies were weaned, City Dogs Rescue brought Truvy and Disco to Washington, DC to find homes of their own. We're not sure how Truvy, Disco and Shelby are all related but it seems likely that Truvy is the mother of Disco who seems about 3 to 5 years old and Shelby who is less than year old. Truvy is also about 35 lbs and 3 to 5 years old. We have learned that they are the gentlest, sweetest dogs despite an obviously hard past.
Lindsey, foster of Disco, and her roommates have really helped him learn about the good things the world has to offer. Lindsey notes that she was so sad to see him cower when she went to put on her shoes. He is clearly much more frightened of men, but he is slowly learning how to trust again. Disco takes a few minutes to warm up to new people, but he is completely docile and really enjoys meeting new dogs. Disco loves the dog park and is learning how to play. It's clear he never had toys or treats in his past life, but we've learned Disco really likes cheese.
This week, Disco has been working in the Capitol buildings and sitting in on meetings with the Congressman. "Working" on the Hill has really helped Disco become more socialized around new people. He was even lucky enough to meet "his" SC Congressman!
Lots of Members of Congress and staffers on the Hill bring dogs to work, but it's especially nice to see a shelter dog who's come from such dire straits make it all the way to Washington!
Truvy is also doing fantastic in her foster home with CDR photographer Rebekah Feng. Rebekah recently adopted Molly the beagle and has recently opened her home to foster dogs.
Truvy and Disco are low-riders so we think there must be some basset or corgi in them because they are close to the ground. You will not find sweeter dogs and we are so amazed at how far they've come over the past two months.
We can't wait till they find their forever homes.
It’s no secret that purchasing dogs from breeders has long been the norm for many families nationwide. Adopting a dog with an unknown history might be daunting for some, it might even be a deal breaker, but for the Pezzoli family, it is a gift. Sandy and Bob Pezzoli began taking in dogs and cats (despite Bob’s allergies) when their children, Pam and Lisa, were little. Rescuing and fostering dogs is deeply embedded in the Pezzoli family’s culture and identity—it is second nature to all of them.
“We think about it like a house,” said Lisa, “you wouldn't only buy new homes every time you moved…there’s nothing wrong with the used house [being] two years old...there may be more features available in the older home…What is important is how you live in the house and what you add to it. The same is true for animals. Rescue animals that have a prior story and background, to us, are exciting and preferable.”
Lisa and Andy Katz, daughter and son in-law of Sandy and Bob Pezzoli have devoted the past 15 years of their lives to rescuing dogs. Some time after losing their beloved dog Farley, they adopted Fly, and more recently fostered Darla (now named Desi) who they see regularly. They have taught both of their children that adding onto a rescue’s story by creating a nurturing and loving environment is the most important part of fostering and adopting. Lisa remarked that rescuing is “a gift you are giving yourself and the animal!”
Actively helping others is a wonderful quality to possess, but where does it come from in this family? “It comes from my parents and who they are and what they value; and wanting to help people and animals as much as possible” said Pam. “It was Lisa,” she continued, “who introduced the whole family to the value of rescuing dogs…We’re used to multiple dogs in the house so what’s one more?”
Pam wanted to adopt a canine companion for some time, but wasn’t ready until she moved into a pet-friendly apartment. She viewed fostering as a way to help dogs on her own journey towards find a dog that would be right for her. It was Laura Adams, CDR Medical Director, who introduced Pam (her friend and former colleague) to CDR. “I love dogs” said Pam “and I thought it was a great way to participate in saving these sweet animals.”
Pam’s first foster was Murphy. During their four months together she realized that a city environment would not be the best long-term solution for him and that he would need more attention than most other dogs that she had encountered. “We watched Pam's loving care of Murphy,” recalled her mother, Sandy, “and knew we just had to pitch in too. Murphy was so withdrawn and little by little responded to Pam's approach to him. We figured that it is so easy to feed and love another dog!” (Sandy already has three dogs: Chewy, Ella, and Sadie.) Because Murphy would need a special family, a home with a yard, and other considerations, Sandy took him in as her fourth CDR foster. (Prior to Murphy, Sandy and Bob fostered: Frosty, Libby, and Scrappy.) An added bonus to this arrangement was that Pam was able to see Murphy often.
“It [was] great to see my niece and nephew [Lisa and Andy’s children] enjoying the fosters as well. My nephew was as eager to see Murphy again as I was. He also has a big heart and soft spot for animals like his parents and grandparents. I guess you could say it’s just in the DNA.”
Murphy has now been placed in a foster-to-adopt home. Sandy and Bob are currently awaiting the arrival of their 5th CDR foster, Rosebud.
Pam continued to foster throughout her search for her perfect match because she wanted to help dogs in need along the way, “They just want to be loved and they will all make such great companions…these dogs give us so much more than we give them.” She credits this realization to Murphy and the other CDR dogs she met during the process. In September, it finally happened—Pam met Mika.
When they met, Pam was already committed to another foster dog. She immediately thought that Mika was a beautiful and sweet dog. However, shortly after they met, Mika was adopted. Unfortunately, Mika and her new family were not the best fit for one another, but fortunately for Pam, Mika was available again. “I reached out to CDR right away to express my interest in adopting her. Her fosters were wonderful in helping me assess if this was the right fit for me, and I became convinced she was my girl.” These two are the perfect match for one another, and Pam stated that she is looking “forward to many years with Kyra [formerly Mika]”. Pam also said that she is also looking forward to fostering again.
“The Pezzoli family has been an amazing asset to the rescue,” said Meredith Raimondi, CDR Director. “They're a model family who will instill great values in the next generation. The Pezzoli’s are active and engaged fosters who provide helpful updates, photos, and descriptions that improve the foster dogs' profiles. We are so grateful to them in our program. Their dedication is admirable.”
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.