Foster fail: A term of endearment within the rescue community; the foster parent can’t imagine their lives without their foster animal, and adopt the animal themselves.
Holly is an active member of Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, and has done her fair share of fostering and saving lives. But there was something different about Russ. Although she began fostering the black mutt purely by accident, it seemed destiny was very much involved in their story.
“I agreed to take Russ because his original foster’s child was allergic to him,” Holly explained. “He was a sweet boy. My heart melted.” Upon a visit to the veterinarian, it was revealed that although Russ was a very young dog, he’d been so poorly treated that he had charateristics of an older dog. “He had those cutaneous horns on the pads of his feet, so he either lived on the streets or was kept in a dog pen with concrete floors.”
Holly brought Russ through a recurring case of demodectic mange, and watched him blossom before her very eyes. “A trainer told me he was one of the most well-balanced dogs she had seen.” Despite his hardships, Russ was nothing but a loving, happy boy.
When he overcame his medical issues and it was time to begin the search for his forever home, Holly noticed that he was treated differently at adoption events. “Taking him to adoption events opened my eyes to the prejudices he faced. He is a black dog, and part pitbull. Potential adopters as well as people who met him couldn’t see past those things to the sweet and loving dog he is.”
Russ’s lack of interest at adoption events concerned Holly, but it was after an incident at Petco when she decided Russ was going to officially become her dog. “I decided he was home when a lady at Petco was shivering in the corner when we walked by. She said she was deathly afraid of pitbulls, and I told her she was cowering from the wrong dog. At that moment I knew he was mine and I could never trust anyone else to protect him or love him me than me and my son.”
Holly and Russ, now called Rusty, share a beautiful bond. When she cries, he licks her cheeks. At night, he cuddles as close to her as he can. She describes him as goofy, patient, playful, and loving. The love of a rescue dog is a very powerful thing. Foster fails like Rusty are such an incredibly happy occurrence.
When asked what fostering means to her, Holly said, “Fostering means unconditional love, hope, and trust. I do it for the dogs, not for the recognition. Rusty saved me and my personal dogs.”
Shelters and rescues desperately need committed foster parents. If you want to make a difference like Holly, and maybe even find your Rusty, please volunteer today.