We can’t say enough about our foster families. They make the world a better place, and they make it possible for us to function.
“Saving a dog may not change the world, but for that dog the world has changed.” ~unknown
Lulu was not our first foster dog, but she was our first foster with Jasmine’s House and the experience was wonderful. In other situations I had been handed the pup (or litter of kittens) and a bag of food and that was it. The support and communication you offered was just incredible. Thank you!
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A few years back I emailed Catalina. I don't know if you remember, I had a foster once who was just so scared and broken from the first part of her life that it took weeks for her to come out of her crate on her own, to stand without pancaking, to eat when the lights were on, to dare to make a noise let alone bark. She was handed over to us. That was it. I spent a lot of time on the internet trying to find someone,any one who had ever dealt with a dog like Maya with really no luck at all. My friends thought I was nuts for turning down cocktails with them in favor of going home and just being with Maya, gently trying to coax her out of that protective shell she had made for herself. Just by being with her.
I had started to read The Lost Dogs when it first came out. I could only read a little at a time, it was just too hard. As the gods would have it, I got to the second half, the part with the healing of Jasmine, just when I needed it. It became my only real resource of hope in dealing with Maya, there was another dog like her, there was another foster Mom who had the feelings I did. It gave me hope it what was beginning to feel like a hopeless situation. Of course, we failed at fostering Maya,and she is our dog now. We went thought too much together to ever part ways.
Lulu was my gift to Jasmine for helping us with Maya. Give us a few weeks and we would be delighted to foster for you again.
I first saw her in my neighborhood on 12/9, although other reports were a few days before. I spent countless hours (as did many neighbors!) trying to lure her with my dog and with treats; and although she took food from my hand she would not let me pet her, or ever come close enough to leash her.
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A friend who was a foster for MCHS said it was the toughest rescue she had ever done. She worked with me to gradually (over days) get her comfortable with my house, and soon she was eating breakfast and dinner on my porch and sleeping 12 hours/night on the electric blanket on my porch. Despite that, she roamed the neighborhood by day. We were desperate to catch her, because we had spoken with Neighborhood Services who had been following her as long as we had (with much less success) and they said she would likely be put down immediately if they ever got her.
I never truly caught her, although I was SO close to doing so. She ate breakfast from a bowl placed just inside my door one Thursday morning, then went for a brief walk (sort of) with my dog and I. And came back inside with us, explored a bit and I was able to close the door.
My problem that day- I was alone (husband traveling), with my dog, 5 year old twins, and cat. I had to take the boys to go to the bus, then I had an appointment and it was one of those crazy mornings. I was frantic. I was trying to get a friend to help but there wasn't enough time. Couldn't leave her loose in the house and still couldn't leash her, so I let her out (something I will ALWAYS regret but was frantic and out of time). At the door, she stopped at looked up at me. She didn't really want to leave, and I thought she'd be back that night when I'd be better prepared. She had slept on my porch for the last 2 nights for 12+ hours. But she didn't come back that night and I was devastated- but determined to find her.
We heard the next day that she had walked all the way to route 28 & Hurley Ave (near 270). I got touch with animal control to get her coordinates – later we found it is was them that chased her out of my neighborhood or I bet she would have come back to me. My friend and I plastered the area with "lost dog" signs and got several calls of people in that neighborhood who cared. Then on a Sunday (12/18), my friend Jen found her at the Humane Society. By the next morning I was working with Kate at Jasmine’s House to pull her. At the time, I didn’t know at the time there was anyone else as interested in her welfare as I was—little did I know there was a small army!
As I visited almost daily at the shelter, I started to hear of other women who were also visiting- Robin and Wendy. Something made me get Wendy’s contact information, and I called her the day before I picked Trixie up. I then learned that she had been on the road weeks before I saw her, starting in the Montgomery Village area - 7 miles/20 minutes drive from me. Wendy and Robin did the same for Trixie that I had done, and we all had the same mission- to save her. I guess the rest is known- I applied to foster her because I knew I wanted to save her, and although had my doubts about my ability to keep her, I knew I would foster her as long as it took. Wendy, after sitting for her for 2 days just after I picked her up, knew she wanted to be her forever family. It all then happened pretty quickly. I had fallen in love with Trixie, but ultimately wanted the best for her, so wanted her to move to her forever home as fast as possible. I think things happen for a reason- why I grabbed Wendy’s number that day, why I finally bothered to call…even why I wasn’t able to get my head together and keep Trixie in my home that one day- it would have prevented her from ultimately finding her home. The best news is I also have a new friend and hope to remain in Trixie’s life.
I keep hearing more stories- Wendy once wrote: “Trixie has an even bigger fan than us. There is a lady that lived in the complex that she was constantly stopping at, she is a 76 year old 3x cancer survivor. She was over the moon when I told her that Trixie passed her eval and out of the shelter. She is so elated. I sent her the pictures I took and still calls me to check up on Trixie. Because of this little Pit, she's gotten nearly the whole complex to become a member of the MC Humane Society.”
This amazing little dog has done so much to bring multiple communities together. A true inspiration, and an amazing start to 2012 for so many of us.
The Story of Nina and Moochie
“The clash of Titans…”, that’s what I told myself, “how is this ever going to work out?” I was in the kennel yard, watching our beloved pit mix Nina chasing, charging and clashing with Moochie, another pitbull , who was desperate for a home. They were a sight to behold—powerful, strong, but the growling, snarling and flashing teeth signaled that it was not going to be happily ever after anytime soon, and it wasn’t clear that it ever would be.
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Catalina Stirling from Jasmine’s House had brought us together, and after watching the dogs clashing for a few minutes, decided to call it a day. That was the first day of a 6-week journey during which Catalina guided us all –my husband, me and the two dogs- down a path that took us from the “clash of Titans” to “happily ever after”.
Despite such an unpromising beginning, we put our trust in Catalina and the dogs and brought Moochie home to see if a friendship could be forged. We kept him in a separate room from which he could watch the family, but where each dog was “safe” and could slowly become familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of the other without the stress of direct contact. We began with several weeks of walks with two people and two dogs, slowing moving closer together. Then there were walks on the leash in the house, and we moved on to watching TV with both dogs on leashes at either end of the sofa. During this time, they became calmer in each other’s presence, and established a hierarchy, with Moochie deferring to Nina, looking slightly to one side when she stared at him. And then finally came the amazing day when we finally let them loose in the house, their first time together, off leash. We held our breaths as they chased, charged and clashed. But this time it was different! They couldn’t get enough: back and forth, one on top, then the other, chewing on ears, necks and legs, round and round, up and down. The joy of dogs finally able to play!
This is a story with a happy ending, and we know how precious that is for pit bulls. It was possible because of Catalina’s guidance, patience and faith in these dogs. And, of course, it was possible because of the wonderful, loving pitbull spirit of Nina and Moochie.
By Brenda Rapp, Foster Failure and Jasmine's House Board Member