Rewards Of Rescuing

Posted on February 04, 2023
Written by Rae Anne Oskam

by Rae Anne Oskam

Posted February 4, 2023

It’s not a secret that animal rescues/shelters nationwide are constantly full. This can make things overwhelming for the staff and many of the animals in the shelters. This overcrowding can often lead shelters to pursue euthanasia to make space, which can mean a very sad ending for some amazing animals.  My story shows that with the right tools, this sad story can turn into a happy one for many pets.

After the loss of my lab of almost 15 years, I knew I needed to find another companion for my younger lab and myself. I originally had my eye on a puppy from a litter that was born just days after my late lab passed.  but  we  would have to wait several months for the puppy to be old enough to come home with us.  This led me to the thought of fostering.  I had remembered recently seeing a post from my local rescue about a dog that urgently needed a new foster placement ASAP and decided to reach out.

 

I had known ahead of time this particular kiddo was saved by my local rescue from being euthanized from a shelter in the south.  When I inquired about meeting her I was warned she was a lot of dog!  She had also been through at least 3 different  foster homes in a year. Despite the challenge, I agreed to set up a meet and greet with her.  

When my dog Mya and I went to meet her, I quickly discovered exactly what they meant by saying she was a lot of dog!  She was quite the jumping jelly bean which is  how she received her current nickname Lily Bean.  I went ahead with having her meet Mya.  Lily instantly hit it off with her! To my surprise,  Mya played more in that meeting than she had since before her sister passed. They were a wild pair, but I agreed to take Lily home to see how things would go.

Our first night home was WILD . The girls were literally bouncing off the walls!  When it was time for bed and I turned out the lights they both came to bed and instantly calmed down.  In fact, Lily glued herself to my side and pretty much has every night since ! I think she was just so happy and comforted by a soft bed and a companion.  This  broke and  melted my heart all at the same time.  I have no idea what this girl had been through in the past but in that very moment she was finally at ease!

Our next days and weeks definitely came with a number of struggles and obstacles.  Lily was always overly excited  and would even turn aggressive at times.  She went to work with me for the whole first month because I didn’t feel comfortable enough leaving her at my parents’ house with Mya and their older dog at the time while I was at work.  I found she was much different on the weekends compared to week nights after being kenneled up a majority of the day throughout the week.  She would still have random semi aggressive outbursts and I didn’t always know how to redirect her energy and de-escalate the situation.

I was doing my best to figure out what would be the most ideal situation for her and was torn between continuing to work with her and trying to place her with someone who had more time to spend at home with her. I knew a lot of this pent- up energy stemmed from being kenneled  but didn’t really have another option at the time. The only other option would have been to return her to the rescue and have her be kenneled even more until they found her yet another placement. As much as I was at my wit’s end at times I could not bring myself to resort to that. Her best interest was most important to me, and I knew if she went back, it would just continue the negative cycle which clearly wasn’t doing her any favors.

As wild and intimidating she was at times, I couldn’t give in or give up. I continued trying to find a more ideal situation for her but was striking out. Weeks quickly turned into months and as time passed, she became more comfortable and calmer at my parents and with their doggo. I then decided to start gradually trying to leave her there for short periods of time and discovered things went surprisingly well. Never perfect but nothing ever is. The less people that were around the less over stimulated she seemed and just slept all day.  With working out of town and leaving my mom to care for my kiddos in the past it was a huge relief when I could begin leaving her there also during the day in a less hectic environment than my workplace  .  This was the game changer we needed especially when my mom was able to start working from home on a permanent basis !

So many animals become over stimulated in stressful and loud situations with very little time or room to let out energy.  There is only so much they can do in shelters, do to limited staffing and resources.  I finally figured out this was likely the reason Lily became overwhelmed. As hard as it was to not just give up sometimes, I am so thankful I gave that girl a chance! It is amazing what some time, love, and sometimes an abundance of patience can do for an animal in the long run! 

After 6 months of fostering her, Lily became part of the family forever !  She is such a different dog these days and is so loving, I cant even imagine what we would do without her. Instead, we sit here snuggling during a blizzard just days before what will probably be her first ever Christmas! I cant wait to continue spoiling her and showing her what it is like to be loved! 

Every dog deserves this chance and sometimes it takes a while for them to find their ideal situation and the right person or family to take a chance on them.  My foster/adoption process has proven to be very rewarding and there is no other feeling like it !  I encourage everyone to do what they can to help an animal in need. If adopting isn’t something that is right for, donating food, supplies or money to a shelter or even fostering can be a huge help! Sometimes a little goes a long way and is certainly greatly appreciated by the rescues and the animals !

I really hope my story brings to light the importance and impact of fostering shelter dogs.  While it can seem intimidating and be lots of work, it can also be very rewarding for the person fostering as well as the pet, who may even find a forever home, like Lily did!

                            

By Rae Anne Oskam

Hello all! My name Is RaeAnne but I usually go by Rae. I have always loved and had a passion for animals! I have been at Ankeny Animal and Avian for a little over a year now. I do a little bit of everything more behind the scenes at the clinic. I primarily take care of all the animals as well as make sure the clinic stays clean and tidy! I am currently a fur mama to one kiddo of my own and her name is Mya! Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I spend a majority of my free time with my furbabe getting in as much snuggle time as I can!
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