With pounds and shelters bursting at the seams, there’s never been more of a need for foster families. We caught up with nine year old Grace to find out more about her fostering and why she gets so much from it.
Hi Grace. How many dogs have you at the moment?!
Right now I have 2 foster dogs, Shinji and Hope. And of course my two other dogs Mollie and Luna. Mollie was adopted from the dogs trust in Ballymena as a puppy. We then adopted Luna from a family in Belfast at 10months old. Mollie is now 3 years old and Luna is now 2 years old. You can see the photo of us at the top of the page.
Do you normally multiple fosters? To be honest no, normally we foster one dog at a time, but right now there are so many dogs looking for homes that all the rescues are struggling so we’ve decided to take a few more than we usually do to help. A few months ago we had 5 puppies and Alfie a wee Jug.
How long have you been fostering?
Our 1 year anniversary since we started fostering is on 18th March. We always would do wee fundraisers for Friends of Rescue. Mummy saw their appeal requiring for a foster for Baxter and sent it to Daddy, he then contacted Friends of Rescue to see if Baxter would be suitable with me and our 2 dogs. We started fostering because we know too well how many dogs are needing help, and the amount who are left into pounds who are at risk of being put to sleep.
What’s your number one job as a fosterer?
My number one job is to give the dogs as much love and affection as possible. Some of the dogs are confused as their families had to give them up. Some are frightened because they were lost on the street. My job is to make sure they feel safe and happy so we play with lots of toys and have lots of belly rubs. The second most important job is to work out the personality of the dogs to find out what their perfect forever home would be. I also help feed them, let them out to the toilet and toilet train them if they need it.
I thought families with children weren’t allowed to foster?
No that’s just a myth, same as the myth that rescues won’t let families with children adopt. An important part of fostering is seeing how the animals react to children, other dogs and even cats. This helps us know what their new home should look like, what the dogs needs are. I’ve been around dogs since I was a baby so I know how to play with them properly. My first dog was called Sam, he shaped my love for dogs and animals, we lost him 2 years ago, he got very sick. He was coming nearly 14 years old. He was the best boy. I still miss and talk about him. Mummy and Daddy had him before I was born, he accepted me in the house, absolutely adored me. Even when people had said to mummy and daddy that they would need to get rid of the dog because of the new baby coming.
Also I’m 9 now so I understand some animals have different needs. Younger children may not understand that yet so most foster families have children over 8. It’s important to understand when the dogs just need some space and time to themselves.
Do you get sad when they get a new home?
Yes I get sad, (we all shed a tear when we say bye to the dogs), but I know they are going to a loving home, and we have gave them the best start we can. Not to mention there is always another foster dog on the way as it’s never ending at the moment. We also have a scrap book with photos to remember every single one.
Which was your favourite foster dog so far?
I don’t have a particular favourite, but loved the experience of having 5 puppies all at once to look after.
What’s the best thing about fostering? The best thing about fostering is all the cuddles you get from different foster dogs and knowing the difference you are making to that dog's life.