Why I foster for DFW Beagle Buddies (by Samantha)
When I was 6 years old, my parents gave me my first beagle. Her name was Alika. My love for her and for beagles have been with me ever since. When my life took a huge detour from the plan I had envisioned for my life a few years ago, and my life and identity as I knew it previously no longer existed, the one thing that still remained was my love for beagles. That seems to be the one constant in my life. The challenge for me was to figure out how I could incorporate that love into “new” life I had to define for myself. Even though I had beagles of my own, I wanted, I needed to do more. I needed to have some sense of knowing that I was helping make the world a better place. I kept checking the internet looking for opportunities to help beagles in need in my area, but I could not find any. Then it happened. A friend of mine told me that she had heard of a newly formed beagle rescue in my area. I was ecstatic. I found the page and started looking at the posts. But then I hit another speed bump in the road of my life. I would have to wait…again.
It was not until early 2012 that I was able to follow DFW Beagle Buddies’ happenings on a routine basis. At that time, I thought the best way to help would be to donate funds; and so I did. I could “know” in my heart that I helped a beagle by providing financial support. But then the foster requests started coming in. Like most people, I firmly believed that fostering was not an option for me because I knew I would get attached, and I have 3 beagles already and adding another would be difficult. Thanks to a stray beagle showing up in my neighborhood, I realized that even though I could pay for a life saving medical procedure and/or routine veterinary costs, any amount of money I could give to DFW BB would not help a beagle in a shelter avoid euthanasia. I had a choice to make, either become this stray boy’s foster for DFW BB or take him to a high kill shelter with a 50% kill rate. The latter was not an option.
Dude was my first foster. He was such a ham and such a character. My pack just loved having him around, as did my son and husband. I did everything I could to try to stay detached, but I didn’t. I dreaded meeting his potential adopter. But then I met her. She was so excited to meet him and so full of love for him. He could sense it, and he “knew” somehow that she was right for him. It was the most beautiful sight. She thanked me so much for fostering him and loving him and giving them the chance to find each other. When the day arrived for me to take him to his new home, it was a pleasure. I intuitively “knew” he was going home. And I knew that he was going home because I opened up my heart to love him enough to let him go. I had finally discovered a “purpose” for my new life – to serve as the bridge between the shelter and a forever home.
The first foster is the hardest. Since then, I have fostered several other beagles and have had the privilege to experience the joy of helping that particular beagle find their “home” – a joy only made possible for me and the beagle because I opened up my heart to be their foster. Do I miss them? Does it leave an empty place in my heart? Yes. But it is also like caring for the child of relative – you love them, you take care of them, you teach them, but when their family returns to take them home, you know you did your “job” and you let them go with your love. By doing that, you have given a beagle a chance to have love and a life.