Why I Foster – Meet Lila

Grand Opening of the Cecchine Hotel for Dogs

Finding our second dog, Ollie, opened the door to the world of rescue. I am a one to go down rabbit holes on the Internet, and this was no exception. I was fascinated to learn about the local rescue organizations and the work they are doing here in New Orleans. I first stumbled across NOLA Lab Rescue on Facebook last January. NOLA Labrador Retriever Rescue is a volunteer run, nonprofit organization dedicated to placing unwanted, abandoned and abused Labrador Retrievers and Lab mixes into approved, permanent, loving homes and promoting responsible pet ownership. I looked around and latched onto a single post seeking fosters for puppies. This particular tiny, needy puppy looked a lot like my yellow lab. Our first dog was a lab because my husband has a lot of experience with them. Labrador Retrievers are consistently among the most popular breeds in the US. They make wonderful pets. They love exercise, playing fetch, and swimming. Labs are loyal and kind, gentle and patient with kids, great with other dogs, and they are intelligent and easy to train. So, I’m looking at this picture of a lab puppy. I like puppies. OK, I love puppies. I could get one, like immediately. I impulsively volunteered, filled out a foster application, and impatiently waited to get my first foster puppy. I named her Lila.

Its just temporary, I told my husband. Many, many times I told him that. (I don’t think he believed me yet). Lila stayed with us from January through March 2017. She was transported to upstate New York for adoption and is now living happily ever after in her forever home. She was my training puppy, (as far as rescue work goes). I learned a lot through my rescue experiences with Lila. There are an amazing group of volunteers in place to get the word out about dogs in need, to pull dogs from high kill shelters and get them in foster homes, and to coordinate adoption (from phone interviews, to vet checks, to home checks). There are people volunteering to transport them across the country to get to forever homes. In Lila’s case, all the way from New Orleans to upstate New York. We sometimes have drivers going long distances and sometimes have 20 drivers each taking a short leg. It amazes me that people do this, and at the same time, it is such an easy and rewarding thing to do, it surprises me that more people don’t.

I’ll admit it. I started fostering for selfish reasons.  We can’t afford the vet bills for more dogs, but I want more dogs, so fostering is a good option. By becoming a foster parent, I am not only gaining a fluffy guest, I could be saving two dog’s lives. I am taking one dog out of a stressful, high-kill shelter, and I am also opening up a cage for another dog in need. NOLA Lab Rescue is a no-kill dog rescue where dogs never run out of time. NOLA labs live in caring foster homes for anywhere from a few days or a few months while waiting to find their forever homes. As a foster, I provide a safe home and food, and the rescue pays for all of the vet care and can supply crates and other necessary items as needed. Is it hard? Nope. (Like having kids, only the first one is hard.) Do I get attached? Absolutely. I love these dogs. So, how do I send them away then? It’s actually simple. I’m more happy for the dog that is finding the right forever home than I am sad for me. Also, one dog checking out of the Cecchine Hotel for Dogs means we have room for another guest, and we get to save another life. That is why I do this. It feels really, really good.

How can you help? Animal rescue runs on volunteers. If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, you can volunteer at adoption events.  Rescue groups near you could use your help in the following areas: fosters, adoption screeners, animal transport volunteers, public outreach and fundraising, social media, dog training, and photography. No time at all? Rescue groups will very thankfully accept donations of dog food, crates, leashes, and tax deductible donations to pay the vet bills. Many rescues have an Amazon Wishlist. 

Why are we moving dogs from Louisiana to NY or VA or Maine? Why does the world need more rescue volunteers? Well the euthanasia statistics are depressing, I’ll get to that. I’m going to go cuddle a puppy now…

Lila - fostered 27 Jan - 10 March 2017 ; adopted in NY

Please spay and neuter your pets!