A Day in the Life of a Foster
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.
Local DC resident and CDR supporter Elizabeth Theran had an opportunity to volunteer with a Dog Rescue in Bali for two weeks. She was kind enough to share her experiences with the CDR blog.
“Nothing prepares you for this.”
Back in the fall of 2013, I needed to escape. When I saw an ad for a two-week yoga program in Bali, I thought, “perfect!” Because I donate to WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals), I was aware of their “Collars Not Cruelty” program that operates rabies vaccination programs around the world, and I had heard of their work in Bali. I also knew that there were some local nonprofits working with Balinese street dogs, and I figured a trip to Bali would be the perfect opportunity to practice some yoga and get in some volunteer work with the dogs while I was at it.
I quickly learned that Bali is, in short, a tough place to be a dog. The reasons are many:
My Volunteer Experience
I had been planning to volunteer with BAWA, but their clinic was shut down about two months before I arrived in Bali. As a result, I brought donations for BAWA (their work is ongoing and desperately needed, but is more decentralized without the clinic), but I decided to volunteer with BARC at their Good Karma clinic in Ubud. BARC requires that all volunteers who will have contact with dogs receive the preventative series of rabies shots before arrival, and I had duly had all three shots before I left the U.S. When BAWA operated its clinic, it had the same requirement.
I was not the typical BARC volunteer: for one, most of their volunteers are able to commit more time than I could, usually volunteering all day for weeks at a time. (It helps if you’re Australian or European and get loads of vacation time, so you can spend a month or more there!) I was only in Ubud for nine days, and I had my yoga classes to attend, so I could only show up around lunchtime most days. By then, most of the “dirty work” of feeding breakfast, cleaning cages, and so forth was already done. (I felt extremely guilty about this.)
That said, there was plenty for me to do. The dogs at the clinic are in desperate need of positive human contact, since many of them arrive either feral or having had very bad experiences with humans. I would spend hours out on the back verandah with dozens of dogs running around me playing with each other, getting into trouble, and jostling me for pats and attention once they realized there was a sucker in their midst. I also helped give medication to some of the dogs, including coconut-oil massages for the dogs who had lost their fur to parasites to help their skin recover. One day I volunteered in the stockroom, sorting donations and other supplies. (I will confess that the air conditioning in the stockroom was a welcome respite, given that the rest of Ubud pretty much has little to no air conditioning. This was rainy season, so it was at least 90 degrees and 99 percent humidity most days if it wasn’t actually pouring.) I also walked a couple of dogs, not an easy feat in Ubud where the sidewalks are in terrible condition and the traffic murderous.
As the folks at BARC make clear to potential volunteers, volunteering with an animal rescue in Bali (or any non-Western country) is significantly different from volunteering back at home. They do their level best to keep conditions clean and sterile (where necessary), but there are some days where BARC’s clinic has little or no running water, and supplies are always short. Particularly in rainy season, when there is mud everywhere, this can be a real challenge. Rescues are frequently and chronically understaffed, so everyone “pitches in” wherever the need is greatest. Also, some dogs arrive in heartbreakingly poor shape, with conditions that mostly do not exist in the West anymore, and not all of them can be saved.
When my friends and family found out I was going to be volunteering with dogs in Bali, their first response was, “uh oh, you’re bound to be coming back with a dog.” They need not have worried, as the Balinese government has banned all animals from coming into or, more stringently, leaving Bali, ostensibly due to rabies prevention. I did fantasize about slipping one or more into my suitcase, though! There was Pinkie, who never failed to stick her snout under my arm for more pats; sweet Muzzie, who was incontinent and missing a hind leg due to a bad traffic accident, but loved people and was always in search of attention; shy Yogi, so named for walking around on her two front legs in a perpetual yogic arm-balance (she had also been hit by a car--you can see her amazing “walk” here; big Willie, who had been hit on the head with a hammer and was dog-aggressive but constantly wanting human interaction, and so many more.
One day toward the end of my stay, I was there when Ebony came back from a day in the field, bringing with her two new arrivals. One was a filthy little terrier who was basically feral and had to be tranquilized in order to treat him. The other was a little bald puppy who yelped with terror when she was transferred from her transportation kennel to her crate in the clinic. She was dirty and exhausted, and almost immediately fell asleep with her rump hanging into her full food bowl. I got to name her, and I picked “Wendy” in honor of my own beloved vet, Dr. Wendy Knight at City Paws Animal Hospital, who generously sent a large number of medical donations with me to take to Bali. By the time I left about three days later, Wendy was perking up and already looked much better. It was hard to leave her, but I knew she was in the best of hands.
Dog-loving friends of mine here at home asked me how I could possibly stand being surrounded by all the canine suffering in Bali. My answer is that it was very hard in some ways, but volunteering at BARC helped tremendously. Seeing how dedicated they are to caring for these dogs, and their amazing before and after pictures of the dogs they’ve rescued, made it all worth it.
How to Help
As with any rescue group, all of the Bali-based nonprofits rely on donations, and financial donations are always welcome. These groups have other needs too, though, and regularly post “wish lists” for tourists coming to Bali. BAWA wish list; BARC wish list. What they suggest is that tourists make use of the extra-generous luggage allowances for long-haul flights (mine was two 50-lb checked suitcases for free), fill as much available space as they have with donations, and then have plenty of room in their luggage to bring back purchases from the trip. This worked out really well for me. If you’re going to Bali, or know someone who is, I suggest doing the same. (It’s really cost-prohibitive to ship in-kind donations to Bali, especially from the U.S.)
One specific need I discovered—for some reason it’s not listed on any of the “wish lists,” but it’s very real—is for digital cameras. The rescue groups frequently need to document conditions they see, and they also do field work in areas outside of Bali, such as Lombok and the Gili Islands, where they need to show folks back in Ubud what they’re dealing with. If you have a used digital camera, no matter how simple or “obsolete,” BARC and BAWA could really use it! CDR is now running a used camera drive to benefit BAWA, so you can bring your used camera to City Dogs Daycare at 1832 18th St. NW. CDR will forward all donations to BAWA’s administrative office in NYC, which will then send them on to Bali.
These groups are also in desperate need of fosters in Bali for the animals they rescue. This was always the case, but since the closure of BAWA’s clinic the situation has become acute. Obviously, this won’t be an option if you’re coming very short-term or staying in a hotel, but if you (or anyone you know) live in Bali or are planning to stay longer (even as little as a month), you could really help out and save a life by agreeing to provide a home to one or more dogs until they can be adopted out.
Elizabeth can be reached at eetheran@ gmail.com
UPDATE: Digital Camera Drive to Benefit Bali Dog Rescues
As you may remember, CDR launched a used digital camera drive this winter to benefit dog rescue groups working in Bali, where many dogs suffer tremendously on a daily basis and the need is really critical. CDR sent the first shipments of digital cameras to BAWA and BARC this past month, along with a donation of spare collars and leashes for BAWA (also desperately needed).
Today, CDR received the following e-mail update from BAWA:
Our US office received the cameras and leads, collars and so on and is sending them on to us in Bali gradually to avoid Customs problems.
We received the first camera last week and it was such an exciting day at the office with our people being genuinely amazed and so very grateful for your generosity and thoughtfulness. Now, everyone wants to be a photographer ... and that's great!
Apart from the very practical use to which we can put the cameras, just the first one has been an incredible boost to morale with people saying: Someone in the US sent this to BAWA ... Wow!
I really can't describe the impact. The leads etc are also wonderful for our needs right now.
We were unbelievably touched. Your donations do make a BIG difference! Please continue to bring or send in any unused digital cameras you have lying around the house, and we will continue to send them to Bali.
Thanks for your support!
City Dogs Rescue (CDR) in Washington, DC was incorporated as a nonprofit just barely 2 years ago in September 2011. The past month has been a whirlwind of dog rescuing activity. With your help, we have rescued over 500 dogs from over-crowded shelters since 2011. As an all volunteer organization, everyone’s role is critical to our success. Nearly everyone who volunteers with CDR works a full time job outside of the countless hours they dedicate to rescuing dogs.
We'd like to share with you some of the highlights from this amazing month!
June and 14 Puppies are Rescued
June the beautiful hound was abandoned in WV. A kind foster took her in for CDR and while she noted that she was very sweet, something did not seem right. We scheduled her spay and learned that June was very pregnant. We made the decision to keep the puppies. On Halloween, June gave birth. 14 puppies later, here we are!
Thank you Carlyn and Pat who will foster when they come to DC! Thanks to Shannon and Claudia of WV who are taking good care of them until they are ready to come to Washington.
Toby is Adopted
Long timer Toby was adopted by his foster mom Lyn. After coming from the shelter terrified of all people, he now has a life of chihuahua sibling love ahead of him. Toby seemed to have a shell that would not break, but Lyn's commitment slowly brought him out and he is finally starting to begin to trust humans again.
CDR's First Dog of Flight
Thank you to the Davies Family for flying our dogs Cassie, Caleb, and Maxine to DC from Smyth County, VA! Scott also flew down to North Carolina the same week to bring back two other dogs for CDR.
50 Adoption vests for 500 Adoptions
Thanks to many generous donors, we completed our order of 50 customized "Adopt Me" vests! The vests should arrive in 2 weeks. Due to the expansion of the number of dogs we have taken in, we had run out of vests. We will now have replenished stock. These vests help our dogs get adopted quickly.
Baci is Adopted
On Pitbull Awareness Day, the ever-charming Baci was adopted! She is a DC girl and very happy to be an ambassador for pit bulls everywhere.
All 8 Floyd Hound Puppies are Reunited
Early in 2013, 8 hound puppies were saved from Floyd County, VA. All 8 of them have found wonderful homes and enjoyed a play date!
The Brady Logan Bunch of WV are Rescued
Carol, a recent mother, and a Treeing Walker Coonhound, was dumped at the shelter because she was too quiet to hunt. The female pups were left at the shelter with their mom because it was assumed they wouldn't be great hunters either. The Jarrett family of Maryland took them all in as fosters and now they are looking for their forever homes in Washington, DC.
Joe and Libi are Adopted
Two Senior Owner Surrenders Rescued
Lucky the Cocker Spaniel and Ursa the Chocolate Lab/Retriever mix were dropped off at the shelter this week. Both are 9 years old and they could have been put to sleep at any time.
November is "Adopt a Senior" month and instead they were ditched and left to die. They are both reported to be house-broken. They are good with kids, people and other dogs. They are friendly, affectionate, treat motivated and love to play. They were kept both indoors and outdoors -- usually tied up when outside. The owners said their landlord wouldn't allow pets so, sadly, they were abandoned at the shelter.
Both come to DC on the 22nd of November to find their forever homes. Lucky will be fostered by Amy McLean. Ursa still needs a foster.
CDR Joins the Combined Federal Campaign
This year City Dogs Rescue (#22223) is a participating charity under the Combined Federal Campaign and employees of the agencies below can contribute to CDR right through their paychecks. If you are a federal employee who is interested in helping us spread the word about CDR's participation, please join our Facebook group.
We have over $5,000 pledged to help CDR in 2014!
Teddy is Adopted
Our sweet pal and senior dog Teddy was adopted by Amanda, friend of CDR supporters Gaby and Julie. Karin was a great foster for this happy guy who loves his car rides!
Lucy Goosey FKA Leigh is Adopted
Lucy Goosey FKA Leigha is one happy girl! Julie and Brandon who adopted Stella had been fostering Lucy from the same litter. They decided to officially keep the sisters together forever. Congratulations Lucy, Stella, Brandon and Julie! This is one very happy foster fail story.
CDR Earns Over $4,000 in Vet Care at Friendship Hospital for Animals from Pies!
Buying a pie can help dogs and people. Really. How, you ask? Buy your pie here: http://bit.ly/pies4pups and for every pie City Dogs Rescue sells for Food & Friends, it will receive over $20 in free vet services at Friendship Hospital for Animals! You can help 2 local charities at once - City Dogs Rescue and Food & Friends.
Pies can be picked up at various locations throughout metro DC. Dieting? Live out-of-town? Don't like pie? No problem - you can have your pie donated to a Food & Friends client for their Thanksgiving meal. Who knew so much good could come from pies?
Thank you to everyone who bought a pie!
Over 70 Dogs Attend City Dogs Rescue's 2nd Annual Alumni Reunion
Barktoberfest Raises $4,000 for Rescue Dogs to help pay for medical care.
Thank you for making this Possible
CDR is a family and everyone has helped make all of these amazing success stories possible. There are so many people behind the scenes working hard everyday. We are so proud to have such a wonderful network and no challenge seems too big. To all of you have donated, fostered, or even shared a photo on your Facebook page, you have made a difference. There are so many people that each play an integral role in the process. So many names come to mind and this post doesn't begin to unearth the successes of the last month let alone the past two years. These are just some of the many reasons everyday we are reminded why we rescue and why we never give up.
This November, on behalf of CDR, we would like to give thanks to all of you who have volunteered to help rescue and improve the lives of hundreds of deserving dogs.
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.