“Ashu is a very practical guy. He rarely acts on emotion and he likes to have all the facts before making a decision. When I initially wanted to adopt a dog, I made him a PowerPoint presentation laying out all of the costs that would be involved, which breeds would be a good for our lifestyle, and the benefits of dog ownership,” Melissa said. “So when I decided I wanted to start fostering dogs, I took a similarly practical approach. I casually brought up the subject a few times, and once he started to consider it, we sat down and determined how much more it would cost us to have a second dog in the house (not much more than having one), and how much we would enjoy it (a lot). Still, it was hard to get him to give me a firm ‘yes.’ At that time I volunteered as a handler at a weekly adoption event for Paws4You. One Saturday I met a sweet, scared dog named Lili who needed a foster home. A few hours later I called Ashu to say I was on my way home…with a dog in the back seat. Luckily he didn’t kill me and we’ve been fostering ever since.”
Melissa, Ashu and Hopps packed up and moved to Washington, DC where Melissa found City Dogs Rescue. They have become a fostering family opening their doors and hearts to Hans (now Dewey), Emma (now Raven), Champ (now Oboe), and Lemon.
Post by Red Curl Gurl
If you’ve ever tried to convince your partner that a really cool bottle cap sculpture that you found at a garage sale will perfectly match your decor, imagine trying to convince him or her to foster a dog.
That was the task that City Dogs Rescue foster, Melissa Schaffer, faced when trying to convince her partner, Ashu, to take on the task of bringing a furry friend into their home.
“You have to know your partner. Is he or she practical and business-minded? Or do you need to appeal to his or her emotions?” Melissa said. “In either case, one of the most important things to remember is that you’re not making a permanent, life-altering decision. You’re just opening up your home for a short period to change the life of a dog.”
At the time, they were living in Miami, FL, and had adopted their dog, Hopps, from a high kill shelter.
“She was pretty rough around the edges when we first got her, but with some love and training, she became an absolutely awesome dog. Ashu and I often remark that getting her was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” Melissa said. “I wanted to give other overlooked shelter dogs the same chance to blossom and become beloved members of people’s families.”
Melissa began volunteering for a rescue named Paws4You. She decided that she wanted to foster a dog and she’d need to figure out a way to convince Ashu to be on board.
“Since it was my idea to foster a dog, I try to shoulder more of the responsibility, but Ashu is wonderful (and a total softie when it comes to dogs) so he is as involved as I am,” Melissa said. “Actually, Hopps ends up doing most of the work. When a foster dog comes to our house, Hopps shows him or her the ropes and will even correct bad behavior.”
Their last foster dog, Lemon, had figured out how to lift the top of the dog food bin, but a few barks from Hopps was all it took to let Lemon know that wasn’t ok. Melissa also feels that the timid dogs seem to feel more comfortable with Hopps in the house.
“I suppose they think that if Hopps trusts and respects us humans, we can’t be all that bad.”
While fostering on a day-to-day basis, might not always be easy, Melissa said that it’s always rewarding in the end.
“It’s amazing to see the change in a dog when he or she begins to trust you. Once they feel safe and comfortable, they remember how to be dogs again. Nothing makes me smile more than watching a previously scared dog romp around and play for the first time.”
And it’s not only enriched Melissa and Ashu’s lives, but also shaped how they see the bigger picture.
“Fostering has taught us patience. It has taught us that there are more important things in life than a perfectly orderly house and that a little chaos can be a good thing. It has also taught Hopps to be better at sharing.”
If you’re lucky enough to get your partner on board with fostering, Melissa believes that City Dogs Rescue will be there to support you.
“The great thing about fostering for City Dogs Rescue is that they want to make fostering as easy as possible.”
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.