As you know, we have been promoting a foster drive the past several weeks by sharing foster stories (both “successes” and so-called “failures”) on our website – and the “push” has been paying off! We now have several dogs in foster with more people stepping forward!
Our foster program is integral to our rescue’s survival, especially with so many of our sanctuary dogs needing our undivided care and so many other dogs arriving who are heartworm positive. Some can and, whenever absolutely possible, are treated with the slow-kill solution. This is done organically and/or through preventatives that help destroy any existing heartworms. But some, unfortunately, are so progressed that they have to go through the process of injections and staying calm for weeks at a time while the worms die and work through their system.
The worst case we have ever seen in our 10+ years of operation–and, according to several vets, the worst case they have ever seen–was little Pippa. When she arrived in 2012, huffing and puffing from the extreme damage worms had done to her little heart over the years, we were afraid she wouldn’t be with us for long. She, of course, had other plans, and a few months later, she landed herself in a foster home with Kimberley and Kasey. They soon fell in love with her incredible spirit and desire to overcome anything and everything and signed the papers.
Pippa now requires time in an oxygen tent and is taking things day-by-day, but she has made an incredible impact on the lives of two other Georgia Jack Russell rescues – Emma and Aster (formerly known as Riley).
Here’s a story you won’t soon forget … Not one just for fostering, but for adopting and for always remembering to give your own dogs heartworm preventative every month.
Our Girls: A True Love Story
by Kasey Perritt
We got Pippa in December of 2012 and, to be honest, are so lucky to still have her. Many of you know her story, she came from a bad former home and was left to fend for herself outside with big dogs and a bad case of heartworms. When Mama Donna took her, it was a gamble whether or not treating her could help her live longer as the heartworms had done some permanent damage.
Skip to today…she’s not in the best of health, but, as always, just loves to be here and loves her home and her sisters especially. We had Pippa with her two older brothers (who did not approve getting a sister, so no bonding would occur) until October of 2013 when, after one look at Emma, she became ours. We truly didn’t want another dog, but something about this girl made it love at first sight. She had only been at the rescue a few weeks and hadn’t even been vetted yet (which we had offered to do). We took her, thinking also that she could be good for Pippa. She was kind if timid and barely weighed 11 pounds. We took her to the vet and she was heartworm negative! Yea! That was our number one fear.
We brought her home and she couldn’t have been more sweet and calm. We were shocked by how calm she was, but we soon learned this is just pure confidence. She never has to prove herself, she is incredibly self assured and took to Pippa from day one. She started playing with her and kind of brought out a young girl in Pippa, although we had to remind Emma to “be gentle” as Pippa runs out of breath and energy quickly.
A few months went by and we had some not-so-great episodes with Pippa’s health (heart failure); the play times between the girls became less and less. We soon realized that our boys were not going to provide Emma, who was maybe 1-2 years old, with the socializing she needed, so … We make the reluctant decision to bring in a fifth dog and had to convince our friend and family we are not hoarders:)
In May of this year, I was volunteering and saw this incredibly timid, beautiful little girl at the rescue. She hadn’t been there very long but again, I was drawn to her. She was terrified of me, despite my sweet pleading with her, and I got a daily helper to get her for me. I held her … and she peed down my shirt. My heart broke for this pitiful, scared baby, and that was it. My gut told me we could help her and, a few weeks later, we went to pick her up.
We immediately commented on how feminine she was and how graceful she moves and wanted a feminine name. She had already been renamed twice – first Audrey, then Riley. Somehow, through some weird coincidences, her name Aster was born. She took to it immediately, and we began our helping to heal this damaged little soul. Well, little did we know, we weren’t going to have to do anything–Emma had already claimed her. She started showing her how to play almost immediately. Emma showed her the ropes and, before we knew it, our Aster was blooming.
She is now a running, playing, semi-confident, beautiful baby girl. Around us and her pack, she holds her tail and face high. Barks daily at the chickens just out of her reach on the other side of the fence. She’s torn up pillows, steals every shoe in the house, and has made the backyard her hoarding zone. The girl steals everything! She has dug many holes in the yard, trying to find that one tiny bug that she pounces and barks at as she’s digging. She now instigates play and terrier turbo (running and running) around the back yard with Emma. They have turned into the duo and often trio when Pippa’s up to it. Emma is their ‘leader,’ and Aster is in love with her. She still hides around corners when company comes but doesn’t pace back and forth and has only peed once when someone moved too quickly with her. She is truly amazing.
They all are, such special little girls, who make me smile, laugh and sometimes cuss daily. 🙂
Want to Foster?
Have questions about your commitment as a foster? You can find out everything you need to know on our Foster A Dog page. We do need to mention that, although we appreciate the offer from other states to foster, all potential fosters should live in the Atlanta area to make vet runs and/or to bring the dogs to adoption events or to meet prospective parents.