Tag Archives: adoption

Tails: 55+ – An Untapped Community for Foster Homes…

Yesterday I went on a home visit for a woman who is interested in becoming a foster for our rescue.  I met her at my book signing.  She is an older woman – in her 60’s or so.

I had briefly talked to her about fostering at the signing where I also met her 17-year-old dog who is now blind and deaf.  I knew that she had THE heart for rescue.

I followed my GPS  to her gated neighborhood, a 55+ community.  I drove through the tree-lined streets and noticed the manicured yards.  It was quiet and welcoming and safe.

She met me at the door, holding her little dog in her arms.  Warmly invited me in, asked if I wanted coffee or lemonade or anything at all.  We found comfy seats in the living room of the lovely ranch home.  (no stairs).

She talked for some time about all the dogs she has had.  She teared up a few times as she shared the ups and downs – the joy they gave and the illnesses they suffered.  She took me through the house to see the pictures of all the dogs who once shared her life.

We started to talk more about the actual idea of fostering.  She had questions that I was happy to answer.  I, too, had my standard set of questions.  Where will the dog go out, where will you keep it when you are gone, how long are you away from the home, is there a fence, will you walk the dog, where will you take it for vet care, what if the dog has behavior issues, etc…

As I sat there taking in her answers, I became overwhelmed.  Since she is retired, she would be spending most of every day with the dog, but if she needed to be gone more than a few hours, there was a myriad of friends with dogs living in the community who would come to let the dog out. “It is something we all do for each other.”

“We all take our dogs for walks at least 3 times a day.  Did you see the little park when you came in?  That is our dog park.  We all like to go there together.”

“Behavior issues?  Oh, well the lady next door had a little poodle who was nippy and took her to a great trainer a town away.  Another friend had one and we have all helped to socialize her.  She is so much better now.”

The more she talked, not just of herself, but of the community, I couldn’t help but say out loud,”This is the ideal setting for foster homes!”

And it is.  Here is a group of people who have the time and the communal resources to foster dogs.  They enjoy the socialization having a dog brings, they have each other to rely on for care, they have band together a group of resources whether it be training, vet care, or the internet.    They have an entire support system in place.  It was amazing!

She talked of her 90-year-old neighbor fostering a Yorkie.  She couldn’t believe the woman was able to say goodbye, but she pointed out that it was the woman who knew in her heart the young dog had the energy for a young family.  This group wasn’t just physically able to manage foster care, they were emotionally mature enough to know when to let them go.

The home visit was a complete success.  As I drove away, my heart felt so full of joy.  At 45, I contemplate mortality a lot more often now.  I worry about living life fully.  Well, here was an entire aging community willing to contribute to something I am passionate about.  I had to feel good about that.

I also had to stop and think if, as rescue people, we have given this population enough credit?  Have we ever really stopped to think of the untapped potential they offer?

Often rescues are hesitant to even adopt to seniors.  Sure the mortality odds aren’t in their favor, but anyone could die at any given time.  And frankly, the odds are not that good for the 2 million dogs who WILL be killed in shelters across America this year.  I am more than willing to place my bet on the senior population, willing to take the homeless dogs in and to offer them so much companionship and love.

The rescue community struggles amongst itself at times, arguing about what makes the best home and who should or shouldn’t be able to adopt.  We get so caught up in perfection, I think we fail to look at all the wonderful scenarios right in front of us.  There are 55+ communities in nearly every major city across America.  Imagine if we could take just a handful of fosters and place them every month, we would be opening up more kennel space, saving so many more dogs AND providing lifelong health benefits to the members of the communities.  We all know animal companionship leads to a longer and more fulfilling human life.

If, as a rescuer, you are still hesitant to involve a senior community, think about your own mortality for a few minutes.  When you are 60, 70, 80 even 90 do you see your life without a pet?  I didn’t think so…

Here are a few links to  55+ communities in the states.  Build your foster program today! #fosteringsaveslives

Del Webb

55+ USA Communities

55+ Community Guide



Tails: How do we change apathetic?

Every single day I see sad stories of dogs falling through the municipal shelter system.  Good dogs killed due to absolutely NO fault of their own.  Good dogs of all breeds and ages.  Pure bred dogs.  Friendly dogs.  Lost dogs.

Thousands of dogs die every single day.  Dogs who, if found under different circumstances, would be loving companions.  Instead, they are shoved into cold, concrete kennels and left to suck it up.  One, small change in behavior and they are now “not adoptable.”

People, like me, shed tears each and every time we see a Facebook post showing the pictures of these happy dogs who are now dead.  64 in Georgia just a few weeks ago.

People like me get angry.  We scream for more to be done.  We beg for taxpayers to demand better.  We shake our heads and throw our hands up.  Yet, change remains slow and stagnant.

Today, I am sincerely asking, “How do we change apathetic?”

The truth is that while dog ownership is a billion dollar business, the reality is not enough people are adamant  about saving the dogs in shelters.  If we could take 25% of how people like me feel and implant that passion in the remaining public, I think we could accomplish great things.  But, how do we do that?

If the written word were my voice, I am certain I would be hoarse.  I spend time every day preaching about homeless dogs in city shelters.

I also spend a lot of my time and effort  convincing people of the relationship between pet stores and puppy-mills and, for whatever reason, I feel like that fight has gotten easier.  People seem to be getting that message quicker.  More people understand that puppy-mills are bad.

Less people appear to believe that anything positive can be done at city shelters.  The general public seems content with the crappy way shelters operate.  They seem at peace with the numbers of dogs being killed.  Why?

Seriously, why?

There are groups popping up all over demanding more transparency at city shelters.  Groups teaming up to save the dogs from being killed.  Groups coming out to protest city shelter actions and policies.  There is an upheaval on the horizon.  I am excited.

However, until people like me can get Joe Citizen to act, to care, to demand…I don’t know how much we can accomplish.

Like Kathy Pobloskie said in her blog about Joni, “As long as good dogs continue to die, I will continue to write about them,” but we have to do more.  We have to find ways into the heads and hearts of the common citizen.  We, animal people, are beyond passionate about city shelter killing, but what can we do to change the mindsets of ALL citizens.  What can we do to instill our passion and get taxpayers to truly demand change?

I believe that IS the key to No Kill.