As you may remember, Pager started out a stiff, terrified little thing who was so scared in the shelter that the staff put out a desperate plea for foster care, as that was her only option. That's right, if she hadn't been fostered she would have been killed.
You may also remember that it took Pager all of a few hours to loosen up and start acting like a happy, normal puppy, chasing the other dogs around, chewing on stuff, and kicking up her paws in the back yard.
|Photo: Kris Coronado|
And the thing is that Pager's story is just one of so many success stories, stories of people who got to an animal just in time, invested just a bit of food and hugs and love and walks and soft places to curl up, and got a beautiful silly happy loving being in return.
The reasons to adopt a rescued dog are spiritual and philosophical, as you are saving a life and giving an animal a chance, rather than supporting an industry that exploits animals.
But they are also practical, as rescued dogs are often older and calmer than puppies from a breeder. Dogs lucky enough to find themselves in a progressive shelter with a behavior program, or in foster care, often have some training under their belts. And for those who worry that a rescued dog comes with too many behavioral challenges, buying from a breeder is certainly no guarantee of a well--behaved beastie. In fact, purebred pups are more likely to suffer from the behavioral challenges unique to particular breeds--while mutts come with the "hybrid vigor" that tends to result in robust health and an even temperament.
I hope everyone will give some thought to fostering a dog, or a cat, or a guinea pig, rabbit, or budgie. Sure it's challenging when you love a creature and he or she moves on to a permanent home, but then you get the next foster and you fall in love again.
Some fosters get adopted out quickly, while some take longer. If you're worried about getting attached or can only foster short-term, talk to all the rescues and shelters in your area about short-term fostering options. They will love you for it, and the creatures whose lives you save will bear you a gratitude that you'll know in your heart, even if they can only express it in a lick, a cuddle, or a wag.