All it took was a photo of an adorable pooch, and it was done. Stacey Gregory was a foster parent.
On July 25, 2013, the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City posted a touching photo of Memphis, a Miniature Pinscher mix, and told its Facebook followers that she needed a home. Without hesitating, Stacey, Creative Director at Global Connections, Inc., filled out an application to foster the pooch.
“She just looked so pitiful,” Stacey remembers about the photo. “In that moment, I felt like I could help this dog. It was a spur of the moment thought, I didn’t hesitate at all.”
A week later, she heard back from the Humane Society when they asked her when she could pick up Memphis. Eighteen dogs later, Stacey is known as a motherly figure around the office for her care of, and dedication to, animals.
Even though she has her own dogs (Oliver and Ruby, both rescues), fostering has a couple benefits for everyone involved. For one, when a foster dog enters a home with another pet, they can help each other socialize and get used to other animals.
Secondly, this allows the foster pet to understand the ways of living in a home. Dogs found in a shelter may be stressed out by the other dogs or they could exhibit wild behavior, making them less likely to be adopted.
“It’s training them to be happy and friendly, easier to adopt,” Stacey said. “And it’s good for adopters because they ask me all these questions about what they are like at home.”
The shelters get a lot out of it, too, as fostering allows for more kennel space to rehabilitate and rescue more animals.
If you’re considering getting a pet, Stacey follows the mantra of “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” There are a number of benefits for adoption, such as keeping the pet population in check, the fulfillment of giving a pet a home, and standing up against the unethical puppy mill industry.
But the hardships that come with seeing a foster pet go is a bittersweet thought for some people. Think about it: You raise a pet for weeks or months at a time and eventually, you have to give them up when a family adopts them. It’s both uplifting and heartbreaking. And that is where Stacey is stronger than many of us, doing it time after time.
“It can be difficult,” Stacey said. “There’s a reward when you see a dog find a great home, and I know another dog in need is coming to live with me.”
That’s not to say she’s immune to getting emotionally attached. Stacey brought up one of her foster dogs, Rosie, who she took care of after Memphis. When Rosie met her new family, she whined for Stacey, which was a bit out of place for the dog’s behavior. Stacey cried all the way home. And with little Opal, she broke down during the adoption.
But when you foster an animal, you’re providing a great service to society. Not to mention the fulfillment of seeing a once lost pet find a home is immensely heartwarming and rewarding. Besides, their faces are hard to say “no” to.
For more details about how you can save a pet, visit your local animal shelter.