By Janet McAfee
Bennett was never allowed inside a house before, and I shudder to think how he suffered through the scorching Coachella Valley summer. The young couple who owned him already had their moving van packed for their new home when they relinquished Bennett to Loving All Animals. In a sadly familiar story to animal rescuers, their new home did not allow pets. The dog was horribly matted, neglected though not appearing abused as he wagged his tail and happily jumped into my arms.
This 1-yr-old Maltipoo got a second chance because Loving All Animals’ foster mom, Julie Kendall, agreed to take him into her home. Bennett thrived in Julie’s loving care, and her dog Max happily helped him learn the potty training routine required to be indoors. Without an available foster home, the fate of this wonderful young dog was uncertain.
Julie Kendall has fostered 17 dogs thus far for Loving All Animals, caring for them lovingly in her home. She specializes in helping dogs that may be a bit frightened just coming out of a shelter. Julie participated in a class offered by dog trainer Sandy Miller for Loving All Animals where she learned advanced training techniques.
Julie is a unique foster parent who actively networks to help her animals find homes. She has a vast network of friends and contacts in the Pacific Northwest who seek her assistance to adopt small rescue dogs. She has placed 7 dogs in homes in Washington and Oregon. Her contacts know that she provides reliable information about the dogs.
Julie arranged for Bennett to be adopted by her good friend Rachel Purcell in Oregon. Rachel was thrilled when Bennett arrived, “I love him! He’s so sweet. Bennett is my jogging buddy every morning. Julie would send me daily updates on how he was doing.”
What motivates Julie to take in these homeless dogs and prepare them for their adoptive homes? Julie explains, “I was looking for a worthwhile project to work on while I’m in the desert when I met Janet and Lynne (Lockwood) at an adoption event on El Paseo one evening. It brings me great joy to work with these dogs. I’m making a difference in a dog’s life one dog at a time. Loving All Animals provides the vehicle for me to do this, and I love working with this organization.”
Sometimes others tell Julie they don’t see how she can handle it when her foster dogs leave for adoptive homes. She is quick to respond, “My purpose is to help rescue as many homeless dogs as I can help. If I were to keep them, I could not help the next dog. I tell people ‘Just do it!’ There is no risk, because if a dog does not work out in your home or you go on vacation, they will find another foster. Fostering is perfect for snowbirds who want to travel and can’t have a dog of their own.”
Think fostering would make you feel sad when the dog leaves? Imagine how sad that dog feels abandoned in the shelter. When you foster, you often save the life of a dog. Fostering “expands the walls” of our overcrowded public shelters where many adoptable animals end up euthanized due to the lack of space. In the world of animal welfare, “foster failure” is a term of endearment when the wonderful foster parents decide to make it permanent.
What is required to foster? The most important ingredient is having room in your heart and a place in your home. The length of time is up to you. Most of the dogs are quickly adopted within a few weeks. Even if you can only provide a home for a few days, that still helps a homeless dog until a long term home can be located.
Join Julie Kendall and the life-saving team of foster parents at Loving All Animals. They provide all vet care, food, supplies, training help, and adoption assistance. Foster homes for cats are also needed. Contact their Palm Desert office at (760) 834-7000, www.lovingallanimals.org. Be a part of a happy ending, and help precious animals like Bennett get their second chance.