“My pledge to each dog that crosses my threshold is simple:
“Quality of life centers all our actions for the seniors in our care and nothing improves the
“We consider what we do and the caretaking of souls to be a gift.” Olympia & Aaron Davis
A League of Extraordinary People
I intended to write something else for this week’s blog but I’ve been editing the July newsletter and in reading what two of our fosters families have to say about their fostering experiences, I’m struck—once again—by the extraordinary commitment our fosters make to the dogs in their care.
I’m not exaggerating when I use the word “‘extraordinary.” Our foster families are not ordinary by any stretch of the imagination. What they provide for their dogs goes way beyond just offering a home to an old dog.
The dogs that come to us generally don’t just bounce into their new home, hop up on the couch and want to play or snuggle. They come to us damaged, ill, neglected, grieving for families that don’t exist for them any longer, and in general they’re feeling unsettled, often bereft, suffering from a variety of physical problems that haven’t been treated, sometimes emotionally shut-down, and very often fearful and lost.
To care for a dog exhibiting any/all of the above issues takes more than ordinary care:
The first bath may turn into weekly/twice weekly baths to help a serious skin condition.
The first dose of medication may become a daily routine and the counter top in the kitchen may resemble a pharmacy shelf.
The interaction between dog and foster—perhaps tentative at first—is a constant growing process requiring patience, reassurance and love.
What I’m saying here is that our foster families need to be constantly aware of what their dogs need and be able to provide for their needs 24/7.
This is a full-time job. This is a labor of love. This is a gift offered to dogs that are sorely in need of gifts. This is a way of life like no other.
And when quality of life has been compromised so severely that the dogs can’t continue to live in bodies and minds that have failed them, our foster families are able to send the dogs on to their next expressions of spirit knowing that they did everything possible to help and with the understanding that every minute of every day was important for dogs that found a safe and loving haven with them. And when the dogs are physically gone, our fosters understand that grieving is a necessary way of honoring the dog’s presence in their lives.
In addition to the extraordinary care offered, our foster families continually talk about how much they’ve learned from their dogs and how their lives have been enriched by the dogs that have lived with them. Hard work, dedication, AND lessons learned. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Old Dog Haven provides a safety net for dogs that would die in shelters if ODH hadn’t rescued them, and our foster families are holding up the net. We couldn’t possibly do what we do without them.
If you’re reading this and you’re providing a home for one (or more) of our dogs—thank you! If you aren’t a foster but are interested in joining our family of extraordinary fosters, please visit our website and read the information provided about fostering for us. (www.olddoghaven.org)