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Featured Volunteer: Nancy, the Amazing Foster Mom

Nancy has been a great addition to the TAGS foster team. Her very first foster dog was a husky mix who needed special treatment for a medical condition. But thanks to Nancy’s great attendance and big heart, even this special dog found her forever home within a couple of months.
How long have you been volunteering?
I have been volunteering since July 2012. I love what I do, and it’s so rewarding for me.
What made you decide to become a foster parent?
Busted! Starr and the cat do get along
There are so many reasons I volunteer. Most of all, it is very rewarding to see a dog go to its fur-ever home. I also love animals, and they love you back unconditionally. They are such a joy to have around, to play with, walk with and to love. There are so many animals out there that need homes that I thought this was a way in which I can give back to the community and not see so many animals put to sleep due to lack of room and no home to go to. 
What’s the best and the worst things about being a foster mom?
The best part about being a foster parent is having a dog come into my home, not really knowing their background, and giving them the best life that they can haveby showing them how to learn new things and experience what it is truly like to be a dog. You ask if there is a worst part about being a foster parent, but there really isn’t anything bad about itjust when the dog is being adopted, it’s hard to see them go, but knowing that they are going to their fur-ever home makes it all worthwhile and definitely puts a smile on my face and makes me very happy.
When you have to, how do you choose a new name for your foster dog?
When a dog comes into my care, and I have to choose a name, I wait a few days before choosing one. I wait to see what type of personality they have. I look at how they interact and if they love attention, how they act with other animals in our household. Then I choose a name. I try to fit the personality with the name. 
How do you usually solve any differences that come up between your foster dog and your own pets?
When it comes to solving differences between my foster and the pets we have, I talk to some of the volunteers who also foster or to Kathy (founder of TAGS), and overall the advice they give works. If I still am having a bit of an issue between the animals, I try to teach them on my own or bring them to classes that TAGS offers. I don’t treat my pets any different than my foster dog(s).
How did you deal with having to say goodbye to your first foster dog?
My first foster was Sasha, who has medical needs. It was very difficult to see her go to her new family. She was amazing, beautiful, and such a down-to-earth dog. The day before the adoption, I spent a lot of time with her, playing with her, walking with her outside and, yes, even talking to her. I told her she had to be a good girl and make me proud, which she has done. I gave her a lot of hugs and kisses and made her feel very special (something I do with all my fosters). The next day was the adoption, and I gave her a kiss and a big hug and passed her over to the family that was giving her a fur-ever home. It was a little difficult for me, for Sasha was my first foster and dealing with her medical condition, I had become very attached to her. But knowing that the family was going to give her a wonderful, loving home and lots of attention, I knew that this was the right family for her.
 Do you have any funny or cute stories about being a foster?
3 foster dogs – Harley, Starr and Layla
A really cute story that happened recently with my foster Starr was when I was sitting down for breakfast. Starr is normally at my feet waiting for a piece of toast even though she has already been outside and had her breakfast. Well, after about 10 minutes, I noticed she wasn’t sitting and waiting for her toast. I decided to go look around the house for her to see if she was up to anything with the cats. I walked into my bedroom, and there she was asleep under the covers with her head on the pillow. I have never seen anything so cute as this, and she totally melted my heart. Starr probably stayed in bed till about 10, when I had to get her up finally to make my bed.  I just thought this was the cutest thing ever and had to take a picture.
Now, that you have been a foster mom for a while, what would your advice be to new foster parents (or to people who are considering fostering)?
My advice to anyone who is considering being a foster parent  or just recently became one is that not all animals are alike or are the perfect dog. Some will have medical issues, behaviour issues or training issues and may require a lot of attention. The dogs are not perfect, and sometimes the road for them may be a little long, but with patience, guidance, time and a lot of love, these dogs will overcome whatever issue they are dealing with. This is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had, and I definitely love what I do.

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