Good Matters™ Blog

Posted on May 12th, 2011

My volunteer story: A foster home for Little Bits

Posted by Ellen, Associate Brand Manager for Toothpaste

I live in Portland, Maine with my husband and our two rescue dogs, Ozzie and Knute. We feel like we rescued two of the best dogs ever and think they have a pretty good life with us. When we were searching for our last dog, it was immediately clear to us how much need there is for more people to not only adopt dogs, but also to foster dogs for a temporary period. This might be dogs who are recovering from illness, tough to adopt because of age or temperament, or just waiting for their forever homes. I have a soft spot in my heart for senior dogs so over the past couple of years we decided to sign up to foster some needy older Boston Terriers. Our first foster was a little old guy named “Runt”. I was pretty nervous to get him because he was old, deaf, and blind! I had never dealt with a “special needs” dog before and wondered how challenging it might be. I got Runt home and it was immediately clear I was dealing with a pro.

I let him roam around the house, sniffing the corners and bumping into all the furniture and cabinets. It took him no time at all to figure out the lay of the land. He immediately found the softest spot on the couch, his food dish, and the door to the outside. The stairs he mastered right away, lowering his head and bumping into each step as he climbed it to understand its location and height. And while he could not hear me calling him, I would clap loudly or pound the floor with my foot or fist and he would immediately start searching for me with his amazing (and loud and snuffly!) nose.

When he met my other two dogs, he let them both know he was boss! They learned to give Runt a wide berth, which was hysterical to watch. Runt weighed about 18 pounds, and he frightened off my 30 pound Boston Terrier and my 70 pound black lab. We loved him right away, and changed his name from the slightly offensive “Runt” to the more adorable “Little Bits”.

Little Bits eventually caught the eye of a young woman who wanted to adopt him. As we dropped him off at the rendezvous I found myself explaining all his idiosyncrasies, like a worried mom dropping her child off at summer camp. I sobbed all the way home, missing him so much already. We still miss Little Bits and laugh when we think about how such a tiny, supposedly frail and challenged dog made such a BIG impact in our lives. Everyone who met him marveled at his will and spirit!

For more info on how to foster (or adopt!) amazing dogs like this, visit the Friends of Homeless Animals in Rhode Island (their focus is primarily on small dogs like Boston Terriers) or contact the national Friends of Homeless Animals group.

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