“One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to spend more time volunteering. I used to volunteer with other rescues years and years (and three children) ago. I am so blessed with a wonderful family and life that I wanted to give back. A friend had liked CDR on Facebook and so I clicked on their page and checked it out. They had posted a call for someone to do animal transport so I responded,” Leslie said.
Her first volunteer transport was in April 2012 where she brought dogs from Fredericksburg to City Dogs Daycare. Leslie credits the support of her family and especially her husband for helping with the dogs.
“My husband and kids love road trips!” she said. “I started replying to more and more volunteer opportunities. I am a sucker for all the pictures that they post and all the dogs in need.”
“Having another dog in the house isn’t really that much more work.”
Leslie explained that fostering is pretty easy as it basically means treating the dog like it is one of your own: loving and caring for them and taking them under your wing.
“If you already have a dog, it’s a piece of cake. You’re feeding and walking one dog, why not another? Many of these dogs have never been indoor dogs and don’t even know how to go up and down stairs. It is so fun to see how they adjust to living in a warm cozy house with a huge wrap-around sofa (where all dogs are welcome).”
As luck would have it, her own dog, Fatty, was a foster she took in ten years ago.
“My sister and I answered an urgent request on one of our mailing lists about a new mamma dog who was neglected with her six small pups. We agreed to foster them, having zero clues about puppies or dogs,” she said. “Fatty was the largest of the pups and would push the other dogs out of the way for food. We nicknamed him that assuming we would eventually adopt him out and his new family would give him a real name. But by the time we realized we were in love with him and wanted to keep him, the name stuck.”
“I love meeting new dogs and seeing all their different personalities. And I love how excited my kids get when we have a new foster dog. They always ‘test’ the dogs to see if they will play catch.”
Leslie’s extended family have benefitted from her efforts as well. Her father, sister and brother all had dogs who were once fostered by her. Once of her recent fosters, Chloe, was adopted by a good friend. She’s really happy to see pictures and hear stories of how much joy Chloe has brought to her friend’s family and how content Chloe is being in her forever home.
And her commitment to helping dogs extends beyond the border of Washington. She traveled to New Orleans to help an animal rescue group after Hurricane Katrina. Although it was a sad time, Leslie said it was also very inspirational.
For those who are thinking they might want to foster a dog, Leslie can’t say enough about CDR.
“City Dogs Rescue is the most organized, well-run rescue I have ever seen. I am impressed every day with the group and how much good they are doing. They do a fantastic job of communicating and they are really supportive of their foster families, helping with medical issues, behavior issues, etc. They make fostering easy.”
And while fostering might appear to be a long-term commitment, Leslie noted that City Dogs Rescue is also in need of short term foster care.
“This is a great way to get your feet wet and see if fostering is for you. CDR also has a ton of other ways that you can contribute as well – fundraising, dog walking, adoption events, and more!”
At the end of the day, it’s fostering a dog that keeps Leslie true to her New Year’s resolution.
“I love watching the dogs blossom and come out of their shells,” she said. “But most of all, I love knowing that one life was spared because I agreed to be a foster.”
Think you’re ready to provide a loving environment for a dog while they wait for their forever family? Visit the fostering page to find out more or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For all other volunteer opportunities, click here.