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Those of us who work with animals on a daily basis see the confusion, fear, loneliness, and pain of homelessness. Injured, sick, elderly, and emotionally jarred animals struggle to make sense out of our human world, and know full well they are always at the mercy of human treatment–be it kind or cruel.

Rejected, lost, found, and all physical and emotional conundrums of being homeless can culminate in the luckiest of pets ending up in shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries. But for the severely scared and scarred, getting out of incarcerated chaos is crucial. Hence, home fostering serves a calming respite for those little lost souls. Rescues that have volunteers that open their hearts and houses are golden resources. Fostering rescued animals is a huge and vital cog in the wheel of animal welfare–even though it is most often a quiet, behind-the-scenes, unsung, and sometimes unnoticed key to building trust in the timid, or allowing the injured to rest and heal.

I have been honored to have been able to foster and rehabilitate over one hundred dogs and cats in my own home. Even though I hope I have chosen new families well, I have no way to know definitively.

Until–I am gifted with a letter, email, or call such as the one below. As foster parents, we must remember that what we offer not only affects the animals we care for, but influences future generations, which in turn, grows the kindness and compassion in the world. This heartfelt email made my 30 years of work on behalf of the rejected and forgotten pets worth every tear, every cent, every worried sleepless night, and every minute of care worthwhile.

Hi Sunny!

You fostered out little three-legged Pekingese Tita (now Teela) after she had been left at the shelter. She was hit by a car and had to have an amputation surgery. She recovered with you, and my husband Jason and I adopted her. She has been the sunshine in our world ever since! We adopted her in 2007, and she has beat the odds again and again. We call her our Energizer Bunny because she has survived everything from post-accident medical emergencies to an insulinoma. This dog is a fighter. She is also the sweetest, most lovely little soul. Now quite old (15) and frail, she is our little shadow. She quite likes that we’ve all been home with her for the last year!

We are so thankful for your role in her journey. She has been the biggest gift to our family. Our two children love her as much as we do.

She still barks only when she needs something and goes for walks with the family in her stroller. I would love to share some photos via email if I may.

Additionally, I want to tell you that we have been fostering for our local rescue (we moved to Fort Worth for a job). When I visited Teela at your home in 2007, I was awed by the love that you put into the world with so many rescues and fosters. I remember telling Jason that your house felt like magic with all creatures great and small happy and getting along. Our kids are really involved, and we are trying to put some of that same love into the world down here in Texas.

Thanks for doing what you do. I am excited to see all that you are doing now. Many, many thanks for loving our Teela through the most difficult part of her life.

Much love,
Ashley and Jason

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Sunny has over 25 years’ experience in pet rescue, humane education, shelter & sanctuary work, service dog training, obedience competition, dog & cat fostering, pet medical care, horse ground training and has authored articles and books in several fields.

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