Vol 8 No 2

Dedicated to the memory of

Bronwyn McFadden

Spring 2006

Front Page

Features in this Issue:

Meet Harry & Kyra

Foster Home Surprises

Upcoming Events

Thank You

Remembering Bronwyn

Welcoming A New Dog

Shopping Made Easy


Dog Flu

Remembering With Fondness

Letters to GRRI-NJ

GRRI NEWS Archives

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Foster Home Surprises

One of the most important – and rewarding – jobs GRRI volunteers do is to serve as foster homes for our dogs before they are placed in their forever homes. Foster homes serve many critical purposes, including providing a safe, caring environment for dogs when they need it most. We also develop insights on the unique characteristics and behavior of each foster dog in a home environment, which is information that just isn’t as easily obtained if a dog is in a shelter or kennel. Ultimately, this special insight gives us the “inside information” we need to make the best possible match with adopters.

Offering to take a dog into a household isn’t necessarily an easy decision for volunteers to make; it often requires some changes to the daily routine and some extra initial cautionary steps, especially if there are other animals or children at home. GRRI tries to help make fostering easy and enjoyable, with written information on the volunteer website and the support and help of other volunteers and experienced foster homes. Sure, there’s the bittersweet moment when the foster dog hops into the new adopter’s car and drives off! – it’s a happy moment, but inevitably foster homes develop great affection for “their” dogs. Our adopters are a great bunch too, and they often help ease the transition with frequent news and pictures, and of course we get to see many GRRI dogs at our annual reunion!

We decided to ask some of our foster homes what the biggest surprise for them had been about fostering. Here are some of the responses:

We are new at this so I do not have a lot of experiences....Rocky and Cadbury have been our foster dogs...the most outstanding result of fostering is that I have come to know how wonderful my dogs are....they have welcomed both dogs with open paws.

Olivia Bergner

The biggest surprise about fostering for me was that foster dogs fit into the family. There is a period of adjustment but much shorter than a person would take if they were tossed into a new environment. They observe for a day or two, get to know the new routine and then make themselves at home. This is Parker and my foster dog Maggie, now Maggie Bergner. 

Ruth Osman

I know a lot of people say "I could never foster - I wouldn't be able to let them leave".  What surprised me most about fostering was that I WAS able to let them leave (well, most of them anyway!).  I'm not saying it was always easy - far from it. There are some dogs that you immediately become attached to. When it is time for them to go, you spend the morning of the adoption with a knot in your stomach and getting misty over the thought of them going. But the surprising part happens when they meet their family.  They seem to know this is where they belong.
Feeling the excitement of the family and knowing you played a small part in their happiness makes you want to do it again and again!  I'm also always surprised every time I bring home a foster dog and my husband doesn't divorce me!!!!

Terry Veiga, shown below with her “foster failure” Finnie

When I announced to my friends and family that I had volunteered to become a foster mom to Golden Retrievers, instead of "Congratulations," or "What a nice thing to do," I heard thirty variations of "Who are you kidding-you will never be able to give up the dog."  The Vegas line was 1000 to 1 against me. That was eight dogs ago, and I am probably as surprised as anyone that I am able to hug them good-bye and be happy for them when they leave for their forever homes.

Judy Lilien, shown below with her foster dog Rusty.

I think the most surprising part of fostering is the long term attachment I have to the dogs who've been with us.  Long after they've moved on to their new foster homes, they remain very much connected by heart strings to our family. We receive news of them from their forever homes with just about the same interest and excitement as if they were our kids. Their personalities are indelible and we have honestly loved them all.

Mary Jane Roethlin, whose current foster dog Harry Potter appears below along with resident dogs Dylan and Brigid.

Well I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with fostering!!  It is an overwhelming feeling of joy, and excitement of matching up dogs with their forever homes!!  Most of the applicants have been waiting a long time, and have been wanting a Golden for a long time. You know what a great thing you are doing for the dog that for whatever reason has been displaced from his home, when you open up your home for him to regroup and get some training if necessary.  And then the follow up stories are also heart warming.  Thanks for letting me be a part of this wonderful organization.

Pam Patton, pictured below with “foster failure” Polar

We just had the surprise of our lives with our foster girl Kyra.

We had just arrived in Florida after 17 hours in the van with Kyra and Bandit and everyone was glad to stretch and walk around. Bandit is our Husky and every time we arrive he checks every inch of the house from top to bottom; lots of new smells and such. Kyra followed him from room to room checking everything out and when I opened the back door he ran outside and around the back of the pool and over the rock waterfall just like he always does, but Kyra couldn't get over the rocks so she turned around to go back and when she did -SPLASH!!! right in the pool. To our amazement, she doesn't know how to swim. She sank to the bottom and then just floated up. By the time she hit the surface Jean was in the pool (clothes and all!) to grab her up. Kyra learned to love the pool while we there but never learned to swim. Don't all dogs swim? Particularly Goldens???

John and Jean Giacobbe.  Jean is pictured below during Kyra’s follow-up swimming lesson.