Julie started volunteering with TAGS last summer. In addition to the duties she mentions below, she has also helped the social media team by writing blog posts and taking lots of pictures of the adoptable pets for us to share on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Thanks, Julie!
It all started one day when we needed dog treats…. I walked into Pet Valu with my husband. As we walked in the store he noticed a beautiful dachshund displayed as a rescue and up for adoption by TAGS. We spoke to the volunteer, Shelley, who was there with her, and even met the foster mom as it was the end of the shift for this dog named Jill. We fell in love with her and filled in the application and began the process to adopt Jill right away. As we went through the process to add Jill to our family I met many volunteers. I could see their dedication through the Meet & Greet, Home Visit and the Extended Care dog training class. This inspired me to want to help out, too.
I also knew that by becoming a volunteer, I would be joining a community, one I had already enjoyed the benefits of after several visits to the TAGS dog park where I was able to watch my dogs play while I could talk to people who just as dedicated to their dogs as I am with mine. I filled out the volunteer application and got accepted to be a volunteer doing fundraising and dog transport. I was happy with this role and excited to get started. However, just as quickly as my role was decided, it changed.
In my role as a transporter, I receive emails about the dogs we are picking up. One day there was this email about a dog named Colt, a terrier mix coming from Tennessee. The original foster who was supposed to take him could not for some reason, so the plea was out for this little boy named Colt. He was scheduled to come to Canada but without a foster home confirmed, he may be left behind. The plea continued for a few days and the TAGS foster coordinator was not getting any response as all of our foster homes were full. I finally emailed the coordinator and said “I will be Colt’s foster….He’s not getting left behind in Tennessee.”
My journey as a foster began… I did the transport with the coordinator and met Colt in Toronto. I was so happy to see his little face when we picked him up. He immediately had trust and love for me and cuddled into my arms.
When we got home Colt was a scared little boy but fortunately gained trust very quickly to my husband and son. He was also very tired and quiet for the first few days but after that he got out of his shell and began to play with my other dogs, including Jill. It was such joy for us to see him blossom from a scared dog to a very happy loving dog. Colt fit in so well with our family, it was meant to be for us to foster him.
On a few occasions I took Colt into PetSmart and Pet Valu so he could meet members of the public and hopefully get adopted. Colt received applications quickly and had a meet and greet after just a few weeks with us. However, his application didn’t pan out because there was an allergy in the family. Just thinking about him getting adopted lit a fire under my husband and I- we couldn’t picture our family without the silly, busy boy. We just loved him so much and we knew he had bonded with our other dogs. We put in an application for him and we were approved! It was the happiest news for our family.
Then, another dog needed a foster … Her name was Jasmine, a beautiful Saint Bernard mix. Well we decided to take her in too as she is older and needed someone to get her out of the pound. It was taking a toll on her body and spirit. Jasmine is a happy girl who is very loving and loves affection. She will actually rub against your hand if it’s rested by your side just to get a few head scratches! As with Colt, we had to let Jasmine adjust to life in our house. We knew she liked us when she learned how to use the stairs just to be on the same floor as the rest of the family.
As you can see, my role has changed a lot since I first began volunteering with TAGS. I still assist with transport and fundraising efforts, but now I am also a proud foster mom (even though I “failed” with Colt!) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being a foster is the most rewarding thing I can ever experience, knowing that I have helped to save a life by giving an animal a loving home until they find their forever family. The look you get when you look into their eyes…you can tell that they know you are their angel that saved them.
Note: Jasmine was adopted January 4, 2014, making her our first adoption of 2014! Julie already has a new foster dog in her home, the lovely Pretty Girl.