Saturday, July 01, 2006

My favorite foster...Oliver

I volunteered to foster because I was thinking about adopting a 2nd dog. Rather than committing to adoption, I decided to bring a foster dog into my home to gauge not only how my dog would respond but to see how the dynamics of my household would be affected. I have been fostering for one year; I have welcomed 5 dogs into my home during this time. I'd like to share a story about one dog who is very close to my heart.

I received the call directly from animal control. A dog had been surrendered by a victim of domestic violence. The dog had tested positive for heartworm and the shelter would not place him for adoption, rescue was his only option.

Days later, I arrived at the shelter to pick up the dog. A shelter attendant handed him over with a look of disgust on her face and muttered, "Ugh, a face only a mother could love." I took the skinny dog with the tear stained face into my arms and looked into his troubled eyes. He was beautiful. I named him Oliver.

I brought him home and planned to house him for a couple of days while our foster coordinator located a suitable foster home. I already had a foster dog who was not yet ready for adoption and I didn't have room for a 3rd dog. Or so I thought. I fell in love with Oliver and decided to foster him myself.

He was in such poor physical shape the first few weeks that the vet wouldn't agree to administer his vaccinations or heartworm treatment- Ollie was just too weak to withstand any more stress on his body. Fortunately, after months of treatment, he came through with flying colors. He gained weight and every worm was eradicated from his body. He became the picture of health.

Oliver spent the holidays with us- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. He traveled to Charlotte with me to visit family and played host to friends and family who visited our home.

Ollie was loving, gentle, affectionate and playful. He liked to nurse his plush toys, an endearing habit that I had never seen in a dog before. He let me hold him in my arms belly up while I cut his nails or rubbed his belly. He slept in our bed every night and loved to nestle against my side. When he awoke in the morning, he would crawl on his belly towards my face to say "good morning" with a wet tongue. This is how I like to remember Ollie...the mornings.

Ollie spent 4 months in my home, the longest I had ever had a foster. I seriously contemplated adopting him, but I knew that if I kept Ollie that I could not help the next dog who needed my help.

I handed Ollie over to his new family the day before Valentine's Day. He now lives with a young couple and has a Cocker Spaniel brother. Ollie still lives in town so I am able to see him on occasion. I know he is loved and cared for and that makes it all worthwhile. I am just thankful to have known him. He will always have a piece of my heart.



At 10:45 PM, Blogger BostonGirlie said...

"Great persons are able to do great kindnesses. "
- Miguel de Cervantes

Thank you for helping Ollie.


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