I have always loved animals. Most of my life I have worked at veterinary hospitals or pet stores. But for the past seven years, I worked as a preschool teacher, and the place I lived during that time did not allow pets. Needless to say, I was yearning for some dog companionship. So after I bought a house, I decided to foster a dog. I wanted to help animals and get a little experience being a dog owner. I had checked out the foster programs of several local animal groups, and I decided to foster with Precious Animal Welfare Society of Michigan in Riverview, Mich.
P.A.W.S. had me fill out a foster application, and then visit the shelter to see if I could find a dog that was compatible with my family life. I have a cat and a 10-year-old son. I knew I was not interested in a puppy. The kennel assistant showed me the dogs and asked what I was looking for. I told her I wanted a calm dog for my first time fostering. You can imagine the scenario: A calm dog at a shelter? There, all dogs are barking loudly as if to say, “Look at me, take me!” The shelter assistant knew exactly the right dog for me. She marched me over to a pit bull-type named Candy. A pit bull-type! I don’t have any problems with the breed, but I know the breed discrimination surrounding them. How was I going to foster a pit bull-type, let alone find someone to adopt her?
Candy, however was very calm. While the other dogs were all up and barking loudly, she was lying in her kennel smiling. I decided I would give her the benefit of the doubt, and asked the assistant if I could walk her around the grounds to see how she would be with my family and me. She was very sweet. She walked fine on a leash and seemed to be fine with my boyfriend, his son and daughter, and me and my son. She smiled the whole time. Candy had scars all over her face, feet, and legs, implying she may have been a fighting dog. But regardless of her appearance, she was the most beautiful, sweet, laid-back, and friendly pit bull-type I had ever met.
I said we would try Candy out. I filled out the necessary paperwork and drove her home. She followed me right out of the car and stood by my side as I attached a leash to her collar and walked her around the neighborhood. I then put her in the kitchen with her kennel. P.A.W.S. likes their fosterers to keep pets a couple weeks, so they can adjust to being in a home, get spayed or neutered, and recover. During that two weeks, Candy — whose name I changed to Sahara — followed me everywhere. She is always by my side, even now. I didn’t want to be a foster failure, but like my boyfriend said, “She loves you too much; you can’t let her go.” Sahara goes everywhere I go. If I don’t have her with me, my friends will ask why I didn’t bring Sahara. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. And to think I thought I was rescuing her.