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And maybe you should too!

For as long as I can remember I have loved dogs! As a child, I recall always begging for a puppy. I was lucky enough to have several over the years. I also “rescued” any stray pup that wandered into our yard, as we lived outside the town limits. I never really understood, back then, how anyone would abandon their pet. I still don’t fully understand … but I have come to a little better understanding.

I have fostered on and off for many years, and yes, I have been a “foster failure” too. That is a term in animal rescue for when you adopt your foster pet, because you can’t bear to let them go. If you’re going to fail at something, that’s probably a pretty good reason.

When I started fostering again

July of 2021 was an extremely hard time for me. Not because of COVID, but because, while I was finally re-emerging from my own personal health struggles, my dog Lily (the foster failure) succumbed to kidney failure on July 17th.  Then my sister, Suzi, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 57 on July 29th. Wow…

There is a quote I read that said “Grief is just love, with nowhere to go.” I felt that. Therefore, I decided to take my “unspent” love and start fostering again. I follow Piedmont Animal Rescue – PAR | Facebook. I saw a post that said they needed fosters, so I signed up. Not only did I find dogs to foster, but a great group of committed volunteers as well!

A few of my fosters with Piedmont Animal Rescue

I started out fostering a dog named Mandy, from a hoarding situation. Then a dog named BeBe, whose owner was a victim of domestic violence, having to flee her home and surrender her 3 beloved dogs. Then came Princess, whose young owner had recently passed away. Princess was surrendered, bursting at the seams, about to give birth to 8 beautiful puppies — and I got to foster all of them.

Most often we think heartless people abandon their pets (which sometimes, they do); however, there are countless other reasons that pets end up at shelters or in rescue. As a foster, you are a bridge for a pet on their way to a brighter future. Is it hard to let them go? I would be lying if I said “No.” However, to imagine them being euthanized, by no fault of their own, is A LOT harder than any short-term heartache.

My foster Dog and her 8 Puppies!

The “Before and After”

The best part of fostering is the happy ending, or better yet, the “new beginning.” Seeing a foster with their new family is such a great feeling. And, the “After” for the dog in the original photo? Well, he got his happy ending, too. His name is Piglet and he lives with me now! Along with his fur brother Nugget, a purebred Pekingese, also adopted from a rescue 4 years ago. (Yes, there ARE many purebred dogs in rescue.) Piglet was fostered by another wonderful volunteer with PAR, so, technically, I did not “foster fail” this time, because he wasn’t MY foster. 😉

My Why

So WHY do I foster? I do it to honor my sister who loved dogs as much as I do. I do it for dogs like Piglet, BeBe, Princess, her babies, and countless others who deserve a new beginning. But, I also do it for myself, because most days I need them as much as they need me.

I hope you will join me and find your own reason for fostering.  You will save a life in the process. You can visit Volunteer – Piedmont Animal Rescue to fill out a foster application or contact me directly at 704-905-5090. You may also reach out to Lynn Gullett (dogs/general) 704-662-4972 or Dorie Shore (cats/kittens) 704-880-6301

Articles and Photos by Melissa Shoemaker
Melissa Shoemaker

Melissa volunteers with Piedmont Animal Rescue (PAR) located at 228 E. Waterlynn Road in Mooresville. PAR’s motto is “Where Animals Come First.” You will most often find Melissa with a “poopy” bag in one hand and a dog treat in the other…unless she’s petting a dog, of course!

Guide for Family Pets

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