The 'Foster' Case That Snowballed
Tammy Foster has been a foster "parent" for dogs in Moore County for almost 10 years.
"We moved here from Connecticut, and I was shocked by the difference," says Foster. "You can go to a dog pound there, and there might just be one or two dogs, both of which you know will be adopted. I think it is just another way of life there.
"I wanted to help when I saw how many homeless animals there were here, and how many are euthanized. There are so many puppies and kittens here."
The entire Foster family is and has been part of the fostering effort.
"We moved here because of the horses," says Foster. "We had family here, too. We got tired of chipping ice and shoveling paths for the horses. Both of the kids were eventers with the horses. Now that the kids are grown and out on their own, we just board horses. Even when they come home for visits, though, they are interested in who is being fostered, and what we might know about previously fostered dogs.
"My husband, Craig, is very supportive. He most often says 'no' to a foster request but always falls in love with them, too," says Foster with a laugh. "He jumps right in with the care of them, walking them, and gives up his 'man cave' for them. And he never complains."
Statistically, puppies and cute -little dogs have a better chance of being adopted.
"That is why I usually take the bigger dogs or the older ones," says Foster.
That is how she came to foster Snowball.
"We were asked to take Snowball because she was due to have her puppies, and because I had fostered a pit bull before."
She was found running loose and was picked up with a male dog.
"It was assumed that he was her mate," says Foster. "They found out she was expecting puppies about a week before I got her. Looking at the puppies, I don't think that dog was the father."
Foster says a few months back she took a chance on fostering a pit bull.
"That poor dog was in there for weeks and so frightened. I thought even if I took her and found out she was aggressive, and I had to put her down, she would at least know the companionship of a human, we would have some fun, she would eat good food, sleep in a warm place. She turned out to be the sweetest dog. It was so rewarding."
Foster usually fosters for the Moore County Animal Center, but has also fostered for Animal Advocates.
"Those women (Animal Advocates) are wonderful, and I would do anything to help them," says Foster.
She believes Snowball is 2 or 3 years old. "After getting her on Dec. 29, she had the puppies on Jan. 8.," Foster says.
She was home for the first of the puppies being born.
"I let friends know that 'snowflakes' were falling," she says. "My husband took over when I had to go teach a class. He kept text-ing me that there were more! I thought surely eight was the total but he reported 10, then 11, and finally number 12 was born!"
There are five boys - Blast, Storm, Glacier, Avalanche and Parka; and seven girls - Squall, Cocoa, Blizzard, Nor'Easter (Nora for short), Flurry, Gale and Flake.
"You could say our foster experience snowballed," Foster says. "We have been getting some interest in Snowball and her puppies from people who have had beloved pit bull types before and know how wonderful these dogs can be."
Foster says she thinks the breed has gotten a bad rap and would like to help change attitudes about pit bulls.
"I think it is worth taking a chance on them, giving them a shot," she says. "The other day I was walking Snowball in town. We came up to a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies. The girls were petting her, and she was wagging her tail, loving the attention. Mothers were standing back.
"Then one of the girls asked what kind of dog she was. I told them we think she is a pit bull. Two mothers physically stepped forward and blocked their girls from the dog even though we had already been there for a few minutes. Just the words 'pit bull' changed the reactions."
The Foster family has found fostering dogs to be rewarding.
"Getting to know and love the dogs and then often making lifelong friends of their adoptive families through the wonderful dogs," says Foster. "The thought that these dogs are just a number until someone gives them a chance is just too sad. We foster them, get to know them, realizing that no one would have ever known them if we didn't foster them."
Foster wants people to give not just these dogs, but any dog in need of adoption, a chance.
"When you give a dog a chance, and you find out it gets along with your dogs and other dogs, and it sleeps on your bed, you see how wonderful they are. It just fascinates me. It's what I want to be doing."
Email LuAnn Kinney at PetPaws@ nc.rr.com.
More like this story