After our Labrador Cain passed away in July 2009 I started thinking about being a volunteer dog foster. I checked out the Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue website to see what was involved. But Piper (Cain’s sister) wasn’t into other dogs, so I decided it would not be good for her. We had to put Piper to sleep in May 2011 and the house just didn’t seem the same. A few weeks later I submitted the volunteer foster application, and it has been a whirlwind experience ever since…

Becoming a Volunteer Foster

The day after I submitted the volunteer application, the Foster Coordinator called to schedule a home visit two days later. The purpose of the home visit is to interview the applicants and check out their home and yard to ensure it is appropriate for a dog. The Coordinator also provided a volunteer manual and trained me how to update the database. All new foster volunteers are paired with a mentor who is an experienced foster. My mentor Denise is wonderful! She is super friendly and always available to answer questions and guide me through the process.

Welcome Foster Dog!

During the home visit, the Volunteer Coordinator asked if I could take a 4-1/2 month old puppy the following day. (The following day – oh my!) A woman in Tucson had to give up her two puppies due to a family emergency. Denise, my Foster Mentor, was going to foster one of the puppies. I didn’t realize the process would move that fast. I’m real big on planning and spontaneity isn’t my best thing. Also, I wasn’t too keen on taking on a puppy because of the things that puppies do – chewing, pee pee accidents, etc… But it was necessary to find a puppy foster that would be home most of the day, and I was recently laid off from my job. After a quick talk with Michael, I said yes.

On June 5, Mercedes arrived. Denise and her husband picked up the sisters and then came over to my house. As I waited, I was excited and a bit nervous. When I peeked out the window and saw them walking from the car I thought, “Those are the biggest puppies ever!” Mercedes and her sister were giant – but oh so beautiful. Within a few days I was in love.

Mercedes wasn’t eligible for adoption yet because she hadn’t been spayed. Over the next few weeks I took her to the vet several times for puppy shots and spay surgery. When she was eligible for adoption, I wrote a description (below) and posted photos on the rescue group website.

Foster Puppy Mercedes

Mercedes is a five-month old “Glamazon Puppy.” She is beautiful, smart, and one of the biggest puppies ever. She is housebroken for the most part (except for an occasional accident) and extremely well behaved. She still needs to learn the typical commands (sit, down, etc.) and how to walk on a leash. Her favorite pastimes are cuddling, cuddling, and cuddling. If Mercedes could talk, here are some of the things she would say…

~ “I find the vacuum cleaner frightening but intriguing.”
~“My foster family says I am a water dog, but I’m not too sure about this swimming thing. I do like to splash around on the pool step and stick my face under the water.”
~ “When I go to the backyard and chase the birds, why do they fly away? How can I catch them and play?”

Mercedes needs a home where she will get tons of love and attention and a lot of activity. We’re not sure how she is around kids, but predict she will love them. She came to DLRR with her sister Lily, so she is probably fine around other dogs. Mercedes is a really special puppy that will grow up to be a wonderful, yet very large, lady.

Mercedes is Adopted!

A wonderful couple, Anne and Scott Gill, adopted Mercedes on July 17. Anne works at a non-profit foundation, Wellcare Foundation, and Scott is a business owner. The Gills came over to visit Mercedes, and after spending time together, I knew they would be a great match. They called the next day to say they wanted to adopt her and I said yes! It was really tough to say goodbye. I tried very hard not to cry, but the tears slipped out. Mercedes happily jumped in the Gill’s car wearing her new pink collar with a stylish heart-shaped tag – perfectly fitting for a beautiful Glamazon girl.

Foster Puppy Mercedes

Thoughts about Fostering a Dog

Being a volunteer dog foster is…

  • A big commitment – foster duties include providing necessities such as food and toys, taking the dog to the vet, interviewing potential adopters, and of course – giving lots of love.
  • Fun – There’s no doubt about it, you just can’t help smiling when there’s a playful puppy around.
  • Challenging – It had been 14 years since I have taken care of a puppy, there was a bit of puppy-proofing to do and some accidents to clean up.
  • Comforting – Spending time with another dog helped me miss Piper a bit less.
  • Stressful – It is a big responsibility to pick the right family for your foster dog.
  • Bittersweet – I was happy to help Mercedes and see her find a new home; but I will miss her! She made me smile and laugh for six weeks during a sad and stressful time of my life.

Will I foster a dog again? Most definitely yes!

Update July 27, 2011 – Meet Cappy


Introducing Cappy – my new foster dog! Cappy is a nine-year-old Chocolate male. His owner surrendered him to Animal Care and Control. He is a smart, well-behaved, sweet guy! We are just getting to know each other, so stay tuned for more…