By Lindsay Long
I was introduced to Country Roads Animal Rescue in 2018 when I adopted Maverick. I had lost my two dogs in a cruel twist of fate and was looking for a new companion. I had seen Country Roads on social media, but didn’t know a whole lot about them. Long story short, I have always been partial to labs, black labs in particular, and they had two brothers at the time. Maverick has been the best – he’s chaotic, fun, has a huge personality, and a confidence that some don’t understand (mainly because I tell him at least 15 times a day how handsome he is).
Since adopting Maverick, I have continued to follow Country Roads on social media and watching their call for fosters. In February 2018, they posted a black and white pit mix that was on death row, super skinny, and trembling at the shelter. For some reason the look in her eyes stopped me in my tracks. I was sitting in a work conference at the time and couldn’t stop looking at the video they posted of her. I contacted the rescue and said if they couldn’t find another foster for her, I would be willing to foster her. The day before she was set to be euthanized, I was contacted because no one else had stepped up
When I picked her up, she was nothing but a bag of bones! I think I could probably count every bone in her body. It was quickly discovered that probably due to her rough life, she was not going to tolerate Maverick (nothing anything new for Maverick) or my cats for that matter. Betty is a special foster. She is basically boarded in my house because she does not like my animals. She stays in a kennel in a bedroom on her “down” time because she and Maverick do not do well at all; partly because of her, but partly because of Maverick too – he’s a lot! Yet she still seems happy and she knows the routine and the rotation and seems good with it. While I think eventually, she needs to go to a single animal home, for now we make do with the situation.
Then, last week, I guess I was bored or needed a challenge and decided I could handle two puppies. The puppies have been great! They’re puppies, so they are a lot of work, but I knew that before I agreed to take them. It took me a LONG time to decide that was I was ready to give puppies a try. That decision took some time because I had Betty to consider and I had my life to consider. Would I have enough time to devote to them? Would Betty suffer because of new puppies? Logistically, how would juggle everything? Months…I thought about these things for months before I felt confident that I could take puppies on knowing I may have them for 2 weeks or I may have them for 6 months.
Rose (left) and Oliver (right)
Fostering is a BIG commitment. A dog may be in a foster home for 2 weeks or 2 years, there’s no guarantee. Sometimes a dog may be dog friendly, other times it may want to eat everything with 4 legs. Going into it, I know fostering isn’t a lifetime commitment like adopting a dog, but I also consider what happens if I have the dog for an extended period of time. The situation with Betty isn’t ideal, but it’s what I signed up to do when I signed up to be a foster. Dogs aren’t perfect, they require time and attention and training. And rescues depend on fosters to help save these dogs.
Country Roads provides a tremendous network of fosters that are more than willing to offer advice and support to other fosters. They have helped me in my times of “what the heck did I just do”, when things don’t go as planned. For every difficult, or less than ideal situation, there are 10 times more rewarding situations when it comes to fostering. And sticking with it has proved even more rewarding that one could ever imagine!
Charli Bear's Legacy
Written by Charli's loving foster family
Charli came to us on a hot day in June 2017 with 3 new puppies. She looked like your typical street dog-cauliflower ears, dull coat, skinny and multiple abrasions, scars & her bottom lower teeth completely ground to the gum. It was clear she had lived a rough life. Charli was not a big cuddler or tail wagger, and in the beginning it was hard to read her.
One of our favorite stories of her was the story of the stolen Mac & cheese! Charli had taken a pan of leftover Mac & cheese off the stove (using the handle of the pot & without making a sound!) She took it to her bed to share with her babies (see photo above for precious babies). She ate whatever was left after they were finished.
As time went on we realized she would talk to you with her eyes and then she started “talking” a lot. She became a very vocable girl!! She fit in well with a retired couple who enjoyed their walks 2x a day. She loved the walks to chase squirrels, eat elm leaves and became the neighborhood nosey rosey, stopping at every driveway to see what the neighbors were doing. Her pitty smile came, her tail wagged and she would to talk to us and all who visited. The granddaughters visited and she became their gentle friend. The girls called her Charli "Bear" cause she looked like one. She became the love of our daughter's dog - Brink's - life (also a CRARS alumni).
Life was good for all of us for several years.
Now her talking has stopped and her tail wags rarely as she battles her mammary cancer. But her eyes still talk to me. I hope she sees how much she has brought to our lives and how glad we are to be part of her last journey.
Last night her eyes were tired. She looked at me and I knew what needed to be done.
Today Charli Bear closed her brown eyes. Her battle is over. And another piece of my heart is replaced with her memory.
Charli Bear's foster family was in the process of formally adopting her when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge on September 11, 2019.