There are a lot of people who ask me why I foster dogs, why I go through all the stress and heartache. The answer is pretty simple, because they are worth it.
I can’t find the words to really explain the fostering experience any more than I have previously (Heartbreak and loss are a part of the fostering package and The highs of foster caring with Murphy) but I found a poem from Lucky Dog Rescue Blog that sums it up perfectly.
Animal Rescue Truths
For animal lovers like me, animal rescue is the most incredible, rewarding job… in the history of ever.
At the same time… it’s also the most heartbreaking…
The truth is…
You see a lot of things… you never thought you’d see.
You witness a level of cruelty… you didn’t think was possible.
You feel a degree of helplessness… you never thought you’d know.
You stare at painful images… soon burned into your memory… that will haunt your thoughts forever.
You try to pick up the pieces… so many pieces… of the damage you didn’t do.
You do everything in your power… but even still… you’ll never reach them all.
You’ll try to stay strong… but you’ll mostly feel weak.
You’ll build walls to protect your heart… but they’ll never keep you safe.
You’ll place barriers around your soul… but the pain will always reach you.
And no matter how hard you try to fight it… over time… here’s the truth about what happens in animal rescue…
The neglect changes you.
The abuse hardens you.
The suffering breaks you.
The ignorance angers you.
The indifference disturbs you.
The injustice destroys you.
On a daily basis… your faith will be tested.
Your heart will be wounded.
Your soul will be altered.
On a weekly basis… you’ll question yourself.
You’ll question your strength.
You’ll question the world.
On a monthly basis… you’ll fall down.
You’ll get up.
You’ll go on…
On a yearly basis… you’ll look back…
You’ll see faces…
You couldn’t save them.
You’ll learn to mourn.
You’ll learn to trust a little less.
To do a little more.
To fight a little harder.
You’ll learn to try.
You’ll learn to fail.
You’ll learn when to hold on.
When to give up.
When to let go.
You’ll learn who you are.
What you stand for.
Why that matters.
Then… at times… you’ll forget why you matter.
You’ll question what you’re doing.
You’ll wonder if it’s worth it.
But… here’s the good news…
When you forget…
When you question…
When you wonder…
All you have to do…
Is take a look around…
And you’ll see them.
You’ll see their faces.
You’ll see their smiles.
You’ll feel their love.
In their eyes, you’ll see their journeys…
You’ll remember their beginnings…
You’ll know how far they’ve come…
You’ll remember when they didn’t know you…
When they didn’t trust you…
When they’d given up.
You’ll remember how you healed them…
How you loved them…
How they loved you, too.
And as you look back…
You’ll want to move forward…
For them… and because of them.
In your darkest hours, you’ll look around…
To find the differences made… the hope given… and the lives saved…
Because you existed.
In those moments, when you look into their eyes… every doubt will be erased.
Every question will be answered.
Every worry will subside.
Because in that instant… in each of your hearts…
You both share the very same thought:
“Every bit of pain was worth it… for this moment here with you.”
And honestly… no matter what else happens…
Those moments hold all the strength you need…
To keep going.
Rescue is pain.
Rescue is joy.
Rescue is worth it… because they are worth it.
And that’s the honest truth.Written by Ashley Owen Hill, Lucky Dog Rescue Blog
The other day I made a video with all the foster dogs I have had and it really highlights what foster caring can achieve. There have been so many times when I have felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs needing help but this video reminded me that I have made a difference.
I only have to look at my current foster to know that this is all worth it. She came to me underweight and riddled with fleas despite flea treatment. She didn’t know how to act towards humans or animals and had severe diarrhoea from worms and an intestinal infection. She howled all night for a week before she started to understand some routine. Fast forward a month and you will find her happily chewing on a bone, running around crazily with one of our dogs or blissfully sleeping on her back. She loves life. When she finds a new home I will be heartbroken but I will know that she is happy. I do this over and over again because it’s worth it, they’re worth it.
|Annabel asleep on her back|
Photo taken by Ella+Friends Photography