Giving Thanks.

This is super cliché, but I’m going to take advantage of the holidays and spend a moment giving some thanks. I think it is always important to sit back and appreciate what you have, and who makes it possible.

Being a foster is not something you can do by yourself (and if you do pull that off, I give you infinite props). I’ve generally found that the more hands on deck, the easier it is. Between exercising and feeding and supervising and tucking into bed and training and loving… fostering is a lot of work. I would not be able to help any dog without a few people who make it possible. I want to thank those in my life who have helped me along the way and who still help me day in and day out with the pups who need us.

My parents.

My parents got us a dog as a kid so that we could have a dog to grow up with. Of course, as it has probably happened with many of you, Barley ended up being taken care of almost entirely by my mom. By the time his soft little heart stopped beating, Mom was ready to take a break from the dog world for a while. Little did she know three days later I was going to walk a wobbly little blue pit bull into our house.

My parents are extremely supportive of me, especially for things that make me so happy. Since my first foster Otis, they have diligently helped care for each dog I bring home, no questions asked. They alleviate the burden on me any time they can by letting the dog out while I’m at work or tucking it in at night when I stay out late or feeding it if I’m at work longer than usual or buying it extra supplies to make it comfortable. My parents go above and beyond when it comes to helping me with my fosters, and I absolutely could not help as many dogs as I do/will in the future without their help.

Daddy and his "bora bora"

Love and a Six-foot Leash.

Aleksandra from L&ASFL taught me close to everything I know about fostering so far. I could not have asked for a better person to cross paths with at MCHS. Co-fostering Zabora with Aleks taught me worlds on how to navigate through the waters of fostering, applications, and adoptions. She is always, and I mean literally at any time, willing to pick up the phone or type out an email to help me with anything I ask regarding fostering, pitties, or life. Her work is beyond inspiring, and her reach and impact on the community is something I aspire for someday.  I can 100% blame her blog for getting me interested in fostering, and her advice & words of encouragement for keeping me going.

Photo cred to Love & a Six-foot Leash. Love you guys!

My boyfriend, Mark.

I doubt Mark knew at all what he was getting into when we started dating a year and a half ago. He quickly learned about my love for animals, and watched as my entire world turned into rescue tunnel vision when I started my job in June. While he was skeptical about me fostering at first, Mark loves and has loved every dog I introduced him to. Not only is he supportive, but he has also made an effort to listen to and learn the things I come home blabbering about. He is now keen on dog behavior, is a pit bull convert, and is a rescue/adoption advocate. I adore him for how much he helps me out with my dogs, especially since so much of this was new for him.

The Montgomery County Humane Society.

Working on the inside of MCHS has opened my eyes to the incredible things this shelter does.  We are county contracted, meaning a few things: we are required by law to take in any animal that comes through our doors, the county has complete control over our building (meaning changes, repairs, etc.), and only half of our budget is provided by the county – the rest comes from private donations and special events (my job!). With all this, we (not really me, mostly “they”) do a great job at keeping our animals happy, healthy, and adoptable.

Our adoption rates are extremely high, and our team is dedicated to the well being of every single animal. We just got a little kitten surgery for a malformed sternum, we recently saved an extremely emaciated dog and he is now recovering in foster care, and we do routine grooming and hygiene maintenance for all of our animals to keep them comfy (by we I mean our great kennel staff).  The people who work there are truly amazing, something I have discovered through working there and getting to know everyone. Every single one of my coworkers inspires me to do my best every day to help the animals.

Jasmine’s House.

This appreciation is especially relevant right now; as Jasmine’s House Rescue (JHR) just lost a puppy they put many many hours, dollars, and love into helping. RIP little Mickey. The first part of this situation is standard for JHR – the love, the compassion, and the care they put into their dogs. Aleksandra said it best to me once when she said, “Catalina would do anything to help a dog.” Both Catalina and Kate, the co-founders of JHR, would do absolutely anything necessary to help a dog in need. They pulled both Zabora and Georgia from MCHS when we asked, with no question – and they do that for so many other dogs from MCHS and shelters around the area. They saved sweet Baxter from his life of fear and neglect, giving him the TLC he needed to learn how to feel comfortable in his own skin. These women, and all those who work for their rescue, are incredible in what they do.

They are also a wonderful rescue to work with, making their foster homes feel welcomed, appreciated, and supported. Without them I would not have Baxter in my life (in fact, who knows where he would be right now) and I would not have been introduced to a whole new circle of compassionate, intelligent advocates.  I am constantly moved by what they do, and look forward to working with such an extraordinary group for many years to come.

Cataline (left) and Kate (right). Photo cred http://www.jasmineshouse.org

My Fellow Bloggers.

Your comments, your posts, your advice…. what a huge help! Having so many other foster parents and rescue advocate peers right at my fingertips is one of the best results of social media these days. I can’t even begin to count the things I have learned by browsing your facebook pages, your blogs, and your comments – not to mention the laughs, the bonds, and the relief of knowing there is someone out there dealing with the same issues. And it’s all real experiences and real outlooks! You all are invaluable when it comes to learning about this world – thank you!

Baxter says "thanks!" from the bottom of his little heart.

So of course that isn’t everyone, because the world of fostering is impacted by so many. I am so grateful for who I am surrounded by – I wish I could send everyone “Thank You” carrier pigeons or something.  Gratitude is one of the things I hold closest to my heart, I wish everyone knew how much I appreciate them.

I hope everyone has a great holiday and enjoys it with family, friends, and animals.

Baxter is excited that Thanksgiving means we get to start preparing for Christmas!

And again…. THANK YOU : -)

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.

10 thoughts on “Giving Thanks.

  1. Cori's mom

    A joy to work with you, Juliana! Thank *you* for your dedication and super-easy good-naturedness (if that wasn’t a word before, it is now!). It’s not just us peeps who appreciate that, I’m sure that has a lot to do with why so many — and so many different kinds — of animals thrive under your care.

  2. These photos are gorgeous. What a lovely homage to the people who mean so much. As much as I complain about them, my family is pretty vital to my existence. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  3. Lynnie

    Juliana, my beautiful, smart, kind and compassionate niece. YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!! I’m so proud of you in so many ways. And I’m proud of my sister for doing such an awesome job of raising you. You know you follow in my heart’s footsteps with fostering and even though I’m not fostering right now, I get to live vicariously through your awesome blog. I love reading every entry and so does your grandmother Jean. I’m grateful for you and everything you are doing to help these unfortunate (recently fortunate) dogs. I love you tons Jana.

  4. Thanks for these kind words, J. I am so honored to call you my friend and to have known you during your first fostering trials. Hearing that B and I have been helpful is just a sweet, sweet bonus.
    Keep kicking butt.

  5. Pingback: I Am Thankful | Peace, Love, & Fostering

  6. WendyMrtn

    Aleksandra is also the inspiration behind my decision to foster. We have in our care the sweetest little pittie I could have imagined meeting. I just couldn’t believe that he may have been stuck there. I have a little JH alumni and JH also pulled Koa who is currently in my care and foster. I love him dearly and can honestly say all I want is the best for him. See him at loveincamouflage.wordpress.com.

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