Wednesday, September 27, 2023

For the Love of Rescue

Years have gone by since I last saw my friend, Megan.  In fact, decades have passed. As many of us do, we reconnect on platforms of social media.  After friending Megan, I was eager to learn about her last 35 years. Her posts opened a window to the recent years that have gone by, and her passions.  Family, nursing, but mostly…Megan’s posts were about her love for dogs.  

I thought Megan would be a great person to interview as her enthusiasm for dogs showed when she entered, and won, a small pet contest that I recently held on my Henry the Dog Marketing website.  Megan gave half of the prize money to her favorite rescue.  

A picture of Fiona’s smile won first prize.  It is a smile Megan only experiences when she returns from a long day at the hospital.  Megan expressed how much that smile means to her and how the unique greeting helps release a lot of tension after a long and hard day as a “front line” worker. I soon realized how incredibly special Fiona is. We continued to talk, and Megan elaborated on the past ten years and the dogs that have touched her life. I soon felt the love and wanted to know more!

It always thrills me to talk to a fellow dog-lover.  Many people have a deep connection to animals in the way Megan does.  Feelings of empathy is exactly what I felt from Megan as she began to describe in detail, why she finds so much passion in fostering dogs.

It was a busy day at the hospital.  Megan willfully discussed and shared information about rescuing, fostering and adoption as well as some of her precious stories with her dogs. Despite yawns of exhaustion, it did not deter her from my interview.

Megan was a travelling nurse but that all ended abruptly after her older sister died suddenly, leaving behind her young children.  Megan, without hesitation, moved back to Columbus to support her family, in helping to raise her nieces and nephew.  This is where her story begins.

There were lonely nights after a shift at the hospital. Megan soon realized she had healing to do herself due to the loss of her sister and felt adopting a dog would help her with her healing process. Adopting Gus changed Megan’s life forever.   Adopting Gus did so much for Megan as she grieved over her sister, but Gus also brought happiness to her grieving family.  Her nieces and nephew found comfort in being around Gus.  Quickly Gus became a part of their healing process and an important member in the family.

Megan and Gus soon welcomed other dogs into their lives.  Megan recognized there was a large need for fostering animals.  When it came time to place the foster dogs in their forever home, it was hard for Megan.  Many of the fosters became members of the family.  

As my conversation grew with Megan, I realized that she accounted for every foster and furry family member throughout the years as if she were talking about her very own children.   She described the moment she met each of her dogs, the situation each dog was in,  the organizations she worked with to foster the dogs, their challenges, the interviews of forever homes, the painful drop-off drives, the visits, and the correspondences with adoptive families to this present day. Megan shared the impact that each dog had on her, even up to the last minute of some of her beloved dogs last breaths.  

Megan is a dog lover and a dog advocate.  I was inspired by all the information she knew about organizations, rescues, and shelters.  It was clear that Megan surrounds herself with great people that love dogs too.  

As we continued to talk, Megan had so much great information about fostering dog.  She pointed out that fostering is a great way to step into dog ownership.  If you are thinking about owning a dog and you have never owned one before, you can commit to a small amount of time to foster a dog.  Many people do not realize organizations that promote pet adoption, need volunteers.  I was surprised that many organizations provide all the vetting expenses.  Sometimes the dogs brought to shelters need a major surgery or a heartworm treatment.  When a dog needs a procedure with extensive care and recovery, the costs are taken care of by rescue organizations to provide medical supplies, food. and toys.   Volunteers run the rescue, the meet and greets, and checkout the homes and people applying for adoption.

Megan stated it is important to think about what type of dog you are willing to foster. Time is a major consideration.  Are you fostering a dog with high anxiety? A dog learning to potty train?  A dog that is not great around small children or other pets?  A dog that needs medical attention?… There are many animals that need extensive attention and ones that do not need much more than just a bunch of love and support while a forever home is being found.  Megan prefers to foster older dogs that have less energy and are low maintenance with her busy work schedule at the hospital.  There are many options and a plethora of dogs in need.

Megan is currently a proud parent to Fiona and Tommy.  Fiona with her special smile and Tommy is a special boy, despite the mischief he seems to cause from time to time.  Tommy came to Megan as a foster with health problems.  Tommy had heartworms, and Megan had to nurse him back to health and make sure he was tolerating his treatments well.   “Friends of the Shelter is a great rescue.  They try to grab the dogs in need of medical treatment, those who would otherwise not have a chance.” She has also fostered about 10 dogs since her adoption of Gus.

There are many other ways you can help.  Some of us are not equipped nor have a huge amount of time to dedicate to fostering a dog.  Travel, jobs, lack of space are sometimes an issue but do not let that stop you from becoming involved.  You can volunteer in other ways with rescue organizations and shelters.  You can also donate pet supplies, money, and food as well.

This story is dedicated to all the wonderful dogs that are in Megan’s heart forever: Gus, Lola, Jorgi, Austin, Shiva, Tater, Eloise, Pinot, Piper, Sekoya, Charlie and of course, Tommy and Fiona.  I enjoyed learning the stories of them all.   I can honestly say that Megan improved the lives, brought joy, patience, and hope, while sharing a special love with all her adopted and fostered dogs.  I also know that Megan feels that each dog was as much of a blessing to her as she was indeed a blessing to them!

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