Brent and I started fostering with Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue in the fall of 2008 – the same time we adopted Gizmo.
Gizmo opened our eyes to the plight of rescue dogs, particularly puppy mill dogs. We instantly decided to become a foster family to dogs who needed help and guidance in order to become adoptable.
Gizmo – our first rescue dog we adopted right out of a puppy mill in Ohio. It was a long drive to Ohio and it felt like an ever longer drive home with our very sick puppy in the back seat. Adopted as a companion to our Super Taz we quickly realized we had far more to learn from him than he did from us.
Gizmo’s spirit and teachings thrive as we continue through the pain as a foster family for canines in need of rescue. Enjoy our stroll through our foster rescue dogs.
Missy (October 2008) – our first foster dog:
Missy came to us from Kingston, ON and was full of mats, feces and urine burn. her nails were so long they were cutting into her pads on her paws. She had a sweet face and her personality softened when she realized food was available, fresh water, a warm bed and a few canine friends. She’s in the picture above with Taz the moment we brought her home. She was adopted out several weeks later.
Our next foster was tricoloured poodle with no name. He came to us through the puppy mill auction in Ohio. Another puppy mill pup with limited exposure to people and fearful of everything.
The tricoloured poodle was only with us for a couple weeks before he was adopted out to a lovely retired lady in Niagara Falls. I did the transport to his new home and had a cup of tea with his new mom. Meeting the people who wish to rescue a dog is incredibly rewarding. People with big hearts and kind souls.
Next we had Nora (third foster) who ended up having several names before she was adopted out nearly a year after coming into foster care. Nora aka No-Nose was a puppy mill bitch who spent the first five years of her life having litter after litter of babies. She was so horribly constipated when she came into rescue that the vets mistook her x-rays of a full colon as more babies.
It took months for Nora to find her feet. She was about five years old and considered useless in the Puppy Mill world and deemed unworthy. She was banished to the puppy mill auction where other millers looked for new bitches. Luckily Nora was saved by a rescue group and ended up on the farm. Funny how she looks like Jackson.
This is the tricolour poodle and Nora gathering comfort from each other. Shortly after the poodle left, Bianca arrived (fourth)! She was a very small maltese girl also from an Ohio puppy mill who achieved emancipation at a puppy mill auction by a rescue group.
Bianca wasn’t with us for long before she was adopted by a wonderful lady near Windsor, Ontario. Bianca was a tiny girl and now spends her days on a pink princess pillow lavished with love. It’s a long way from the puppy mill.
Next we had a three month old poodle cross (fifth) that Gizmo fell in love with. She was high energy and incredibly sweet. She and Gizmo would chase each other so much that he actually lost weight. I remember being in the bathtub one night and she came around the corner so fast she leapt and ended up in the tub with me! Fostering can be very exciting.
Our sixth foster was a silver poodle named Perry. This young man had some territorial issues that needed to be worked out before he could go to his forever home. He was with us for a few months before a lady who was wheelchair bound with special needs adopted this handsome boy.
Then came Poco…
Poco arrived at our doorsteps through the SPCA in March 2009. Rescue groups frequently take dogs that fail the behaviour test and are considered “unadoptable” – without rescue these dogs would be immediately euthanized.
Our seventh foster Poco came to the farm in March of 2009 and was one of the worst cases of abuse I’ve ever encounter. We can only guess by this guy’s physical injuries what kind of abuse he must have suffered at the hands of his owners: a mother and teenage daughter.
Poco was so matted we couldn’t tell his gender until we shaved him down to the skin. His hair was thick with feces and urine that burned his skin. He had sores on his paws because his nails were so long they had cut wounds into the pads of his paws.
Poco’s back end was a mess of hunks of feces hanging from the hair. His legs are disfigured and he has an unusual walk. He is blind his right eye due to retinal detachment from a blow to the head. The vet said his cardiovascular system was so damaged that his veins would collapse when they tried to get blood for tests. They said he was only six years old, but had the body of a fifteen year old dog.
Poco would bite to defend himself. We had to muzzle him to get shave the filth off his skin. We had to muzzle him to give him a bath and wash away the urine that was constantly burning his flesh. He was angry and horribly sad.
Poco had given up on life. His depression and fear was palpable. He would sit in the middle of the kitchen floor and shake for hours. This behaviour lasted for years.
Poco has the potential to bite. If he was startled or afraid he’d nip. He’d bitten me three times in the first two months at the farm. This was a difficult time at the rescue and there was some pressure to adopt out the unpredictable Poco and after some discussion we decided to adopt Poco.
This is the only time before or since we’ve adopted a foster dog. When we foster we go in with the idea that this is not our dog, but a visitor who is waiting for their owner to bring them home.
Sure he’s not good with kids, but he hasn’t bitten anyone in months. Sure he’s afraid of loud noises and storms, but he doesn’t spend all his time shaking anymore.
Poco is a part of our lives and we’ve had the privilege of watching him become an amazing dog. Adopting Poco was one of the best things we’ve ever done.
Then came number eight: Sammy.
Sammy had some severe aggression issue due to abuse at the hands of a heavy drinker. We were surprised when a family wanted to adopt and work on his issues. I’m so proud to know people who would take on a challenge.
Kayla was our ninth foster dog.
Kayla was only with us a for less than a week when she was snapped up by a wonderful family who smiled and waved so brightly when they came to pick her up that I got tears in my eyes and a really good feeling in my heart.
We had another foster dog named Kalie who was a similar looking female shih tzu cross who was adopted by my good friend Maria after she agreed to look after her while we were on vacation. She fell in love and we were open for another foster. Kalie was our tenth foster dog.
Sweet eleven! Chico was one of the most affectionate dogs we’ve ever fostered. He loved kids and would let them do anything. Chico was lucky enough to be adopted by a family with four children, so he was guaranteed lots and lots of cuddled!
Our twelfth foster was from the Potcake Rescue and was a lab cross from the Bahamas. Archie was incredibly energetic! He was adopted by a wonderful family in Toronto with two little girls who promised to walk him every day!
Number thirteen is our first foster from the Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Transport (CCRT). Little Vincent is from a hoarding situation in Oakville. We picked up Vincent from the Mississauga / Oakville humane society a week after Gizmo died. Little Vincent was terrified of everything, but so desperately wanted to cuddle. We nearly adopted Vincent, but decided it was too soon after losing Gizmo. Vincent had lost one ear and part of the other one in his hoarding home and that’s how he got his name. Vincent Van Gogh.
Number fourteen can’t really be counted as a foster dog because we adopted him straight out of Ohio. They called him Drover and we changed his name to Jackson. This is the ad that broke my heart and I knew this guy needed us as his forever home.
Once we cleaned Jax up and gave him a few good meals he was forever bonded to our family. He big bear fights with Taz and loves to cuddle with his mama.
Our second CCRT foster dog Pepito (fifteenth foster dog). Pepito was found roaming the streets of St Catharines and was never picked up by his family.
Pepito was clearly loved and is not shy with people. He’s an interesting blend of chihuahua and italian greyhound. His long legs and beautiful ears make him an interesting combination. I’m shocked this guy hasn’t been snapped up yet due to his loving nature and toughness. This guy can handle himself.
These are the foster dogs we’ve had as of December 2011. We’re proud of the dogs we’ve helped and always regretful of the ones we couldn’t. Consider being a foster home and rewarding the animal lover inside your heart.
Some people think I’m a little crazy to donate my time, home and money to save these guys, but I don’t think we’ve done nearly enough.
On top of the foster dogs all our farm animals are also rescues. It’s how we roll.