100!

Today’s post marks #100 for Peace, Love, and Fostering.

…What??

It feels like just yesterday that WordPress told me “Congratulations! That was your 15th post!” It’s weird but exciting to sit down right now and think about the fact that I started this blog in August, with zero expectations and very little clue about what I was doing. I saw the many who were doing it, and was inspired to follow in their footsteps. I admired what they were doing, and wished only to be a fraction as successful as they were at sharing stories of beloved fosters.

Fast forward six months, and here I am 100 posts, three foster dogs, and many, many words later. It’s hard to even think of my blogging experience as a whole, because so many monumental events stand out to me. There was the day I brought Zabora home from her spay surgery, after agreeing to foster her on a whim only three days after my Barley passed away. There was the time Zabora got adopted to the perfect home, leaving me heartbroken over saying goodbye to one of my first fosters. There were the weeks leading up to my career milestone, the Love Ball, that were spent with Curious Georgia.  Then of course, there was the decision to bring Baxter into our lives.

Little Zee.

Since Baxter has been with us for nearly four months now, his chapter is becoming more significant every day. It has only been since fostering him that I have updated this blog five days a week, spending almost every evening working on entries. It’s been only since him that I’ve gained such an incredible following, met many wonderful people, and gotten so much touching feedback about what I do. Baxter has changed so many things in my life, but the impact he has had on this blog is immeasurable.

Sometimes it seems difficult to get my posts written, or I stay up late editing pictures, or my evenings are a little more crammed – but it is all worth it. At exactly six months and one week, I feel like I am finally getting the hang of it.  I love photographing my dogs (though that is still something I really need to work on), I love documenting my journey with them, and I LOVE sharing it with all of you.  I wouldn’t trade this for the world, so thank you for being here with me as I figure it all out! You all are the best part of this experience (along with the doggies of course : -) ).


2011 wrap up

In August, I joined the blog world. A lot happened before that, and a lot has happened since. It’s all sorts of crazy and exciting and unexpected and fun. Here is 2011 for Peace, Love, & Fostering in a brief review.

January – May

I was busy being a college senior at the University of Maryland. I interned at and then was offered a full time position at my dream job. I graduated with an Animal Sciences degree. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from my new opportunities.

June

A mere two weeks after graduating, I started real life (aka my full time job). I discovered Love and a Six-Foot Leash and subsequently all of my other favorite bloggers, organizations, and advocates. I rediscovered my love for pit bulls & pit bull type dogs, which was initially instilled when I had an internship at the humane society in high school. I slowly started learning about rescue, fostering, advocacy; the works.

July

I dog sat for Mandy & Dixie at the same time, proving to myself I could manage the full responsibility of caring for a dog, then jumped right in with my first foster Otis. Otis was only with me for two weeks. It was a good thing, because I don’t think I would have been ready for a long term foster so soon.  He was my first pit bull type dog (though much more American bull dog than pit, I’m sure).

Mandy (left) & Dixie (right) at the UMD Chapel.

Otis

August – September

Zabora! I co-fostered this bumbly little dog with Love & a Six-Foot Leash. I fell in love, but also learned enormous amounts with her – from screening applicants, to doing home visits, to even navigating how to advertise a [pit bull type] dog. This partnership set me up to be able to foster my first full-time foster on my own. Biggest thing I learned? How much of a knowledge vault Aleksandra is!

October

I kept my house open for Curious Georgia to live with us once Aleksandra’s family moved to Texas, but I ended up not being needed because she got adopted by the perfect family! I also, with the help of many, successfully pulled off my first fundraising gala for work.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Allen Photography.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Allen Photography.

November – December

The first week of November I brought home Baxter. We are on a patient journey to find his forever home, and loving every minute of it. Fostering him is teaching me more about dog behavior, blogging, training, rescue groups, photography, advertising, prioritizing, juggling schedules, nutrition, and improvising – to name a few things. I can’t wait to find him the best forever home, but until then he is my perfect little buddy.

2011 has been quite the year. I have never been more excited about the direction my life is taking – it’s like a million new doors have been opened! I don’t have many specific goals for 2012, mostly because I have ideas upon ideas brewing in my head for, like a wise friend once put it, “figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.” All I know is I want to keep finding dogs forever homes, continue blogging, and become more involved in the rescue/advocacy community to learn as much as I possibly can.

Happy New Year everyone!

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


The Bearer of Good News.

Holy MIA! I feel like I’ve been gone from here for a lifetime. After a long, long week and weekend – it is finally over. The madness that was planning my first fundraising gala is now complete (well, the tough part at least). Love Ball was a huge success! More about that later. I am blessed to have multiple victories to share with you, but I’ll start with the more relevant and exciting one first.

Any guesses as to who it is about?

What about now?

How about now? Okay, I’ll give you a clue:

Yup. I’m here to make the happy announcement that, right before it was my turn to take her, Curious Georgia has been adopted! Oh happy day.

It felt like the blink of eye from the time I met Georgia at the shelter to the time I got the email all foster parents love – the “everything is going well and dog is happy in new home” email. Just like our realization that Georgia needed to be our next foster dog, pairing her with her new family seemed like a no brainer. You see, there was this wonderful couple that fell in love with Zabora a few months ago. While Zabora fell in love right back, there was roughly a 110% chance she would not fall in love with their two kitties. So because everything happens for a reason, Georgia – the dog who loves all creatures great and small – instantly earned the title of “our perfect dog” for her new family.

I can’t even begin to spell out how oddly/wonderfully everything has worked out with the last two fosters. When we first approached the subject of Zabora, we were hoping to have her adopted before Aleksandra left, though we didn’t have our hearts set on it. At that point I don’t think we ever imaged getting two dogs out before her move! Like Aleksandra mentioned, it just goes to show what can happen if you take a chance and do the little amount that you can. These two girls are two lives saved, which in actuality is four lives saved because of the cage space it freed up in the shelter. Not to mention the wealth of love and learning we the humans got from these two incredible dogs. Seriously, cheers to that.

It’s a bummer I won’t get to know Miss Georgia better, but I sure won’t complain! I am thrilled about her new life. Plus I know there will be another pup waiting for my love and care as soon as I am ready.

Congrats, Curious G. May your life forever be full of new sniffs, plentiful zoomie space, and many warm laps.


Easy Going.

I finally had a few free hours to hang out with Miss Georgia last Friday night. She helped me relax and gear up for the Baltimore Running Festival the next morning where I was running the half marathon. Races like that are great because you work so hard to train and complete it, and you usually have a reason behind running it. I’ve always ran for my aunt who has cancer, but I recently found out there were people from Jasmine’s House (Zabora & Georgia’s rescue) who were running for pittys! How cool is that? I hope some day cancer will be gone forever and I can put my strides towards pit bull rescues.

Anyway, my mind was going one hundred different directions after a week of weeding through Love Ball logistics. I needed to relax, refocus, and prep for the 13 miles I was facing the next day. That wasn’t going to happen, but then super Georgia came to the rescue.

She gently walked over to me, stared at me with her big brown eyes, and said, “Hey, relax. What’s the rush? I don’t see any reason to do much more than just lay around and chill out.” She happens to be really convincing, so I joined her. On the couch, on the floor – she will get you to hang out with her anywhere.

Georgia just being Georgia.

Georgia is so laid back and relaxed. She isn’t necessarily one of those dogs that falls asleep everywhere, but she likes to lay and to be – especially if it is close to you (or her fosterbrother, Chick). She couldn’t get out of Aleks’ lap. It was so adorable. Want a dog that makes you stop, take a breath, and enjoy a quiet moment to yourself? Curious Georgia is your girl.

I am pretty sure she lives by one of my favorite sayings: Keep Calm and Carry On.

And yes, she tucked herself in.


Georgia On My Mind.

Most of you know how a house feels with the absence of a pet: very empty. After Zabora was such a joy to have, Aleksandra and I knew we wanted to get our hands on another dog and save another life as soon as possible. Only problem? She is moving at the end of October and I am swamped with Love Ball preparations until the end of October. Perfect solution? Aleks pulls the dog, fosters her in the mean time or until she is adopted, and I take over when I have a life again after Love Ball and she has to move. Wahoo!

Next step: picking another dog. Staring at a shelter full of 90+ incredible dogs with enormous potential and having to pick ONE is an extremely daunting task. How do you decide which one you take? What about the next one that comes along? That shy boy you discover in the cage just past the timid one you chose, do you change your mind for him?

This is why a lot of the time your foster chooses you. There will be one that, by a series of events, ends up in front of you like it is meant to be in your life. That is what happened with Zabora and me, that is what happened with Otis. Well, while Aleks and I were at the shelter scrutinizing over what dog to take next, we were chosen.

Photo cred to Aleksandra of Love & a Six-foot Leash.

Meet Curious Georgia, a little girl with an unknown story and a huge heart. Georgia is an Elderbull, though probably on the younger side of that classification, maybe six-ish. She came in as a skinny and scared stray. She was overlooked time and time again because of the same shy attitude that makes her such a gentle, loving dog.  She is immediately attracted to laps and smiles, and she lives like humans have never betrayed her – though the calluses on her elbows that suggest a life on concrete hint to the contrary.

Curious Georgia was plucked from the shelter at her last possible moment by one of my co-workers who, despite her house full to the brim with other fosters, couldn’t bear to imagine the fate of this little girl if she went unnoticed one more time.  She took her home not sure what the next step was for Miss Georgia, or who would keep her long-term, but knowing at least she was safe. It was about this time our paths crossed, and taking on Georgia seemed like a no brainer for us. That was only solidified when Aleks met her for the first time at the shelter, and Georgia took to her like it was love at first sight (didn’t you see that picture!).

I haven’t gotten the chance to get to know her much yet because I am still knee (or waist or chin) deep in Love Ball nonsense, but from what I already know and have been reading – Georgia is exactly the gem we thought she was. She is quiet, housebroken, gentle, and loves to be close to you. She is good on walks, with other dogs, meeting new people… I really think I could go on. All of these good reports are without even truly knowing much about her personality. I can’t wait to learn more about her, and get to know her as a part of the family.

Welcome, Curious Georgia!

Photo cred to Aleksandra of Love & a Six-foot Leash