By Janet McAfee
Diane and Travis Medley did not hesitate to say “Yes” to fostering a large German Shepherd Loving All Animals wanted to rescue from the county shelter. The couple usually fosters small dogs and puppies. Diane and Travis are pictured here with Zena, who thrived in their loving foster home, and went happily to her forever home.
Diane explains, “Fostering Zena was not much different than fostering a small dog, except large dogs usually need a big yard and more walks. We once owned two white German Shepherds and love the breed. Zena never had an accident inside the house, and at 6 years of age, she was very calm. With big dogs you need to have a strong presence and make sure you have control. We are “dogless” right now, and fostering gives us our “dog fix” because we like the freedom to travel. I love helping an unwanted animal prepare for a great home.”
Travis suggests folks consider the advantages of fostering a middle aged or older large dog. He notes that older dogs are calmer and they are usually already house trained. Travis adds, “Older and middle age big dogs are more adaptable to the humans they live with, they make great companions and accommodate your lifestyle.”
A visit to our public shelters in Riverside and San Bernardino counties quickly confirms the majority of animals there are large dogs. Apartment dwellers and retired seniors often prefer to adopt small dogs. The majority of people who volunteer to foster request a small size dog, therefore more homes for large dogs are needed. Large dogs need the extra boost to get adopted that foster homes can provide, showcasing them in social media and throughout their communities.
Fostering is the key to the Coachella Valley and other communities becoming a “No Kill” community. Fostering “expands the walls” of our often crowded public shelters. Most large breed dogs do not do well in a kennel for very long. They become stressed, and develop behavior issues they never had in their previous homes. Sadly, this can result in their being euthanized.
Animals that are stressed or frightened in a shelter kennel begin to relax and transform in a foster home where they have a warm bed and loving attention. Fostering may not only save a dog’s life, but it provides the socialization and training for a successful adoption.
If you can open your heart and home to a foster dog, consider taking one of the medium or larger size pups. Most large breed dogs are incredibly smart and easy to train. They quickly process information and thrive in an environment where they learn new things. Consider how amazing large breed dogs perform complex lifesaving tasks for our law enforcement, search and rescue teams, and the military.
There are more advantages to having a big dog. Most of them require more exercise, and they would love to accompany you on a Spring hiking excursion. Most large dogs are relatively calm during their time inside the house, content to relax by your feet. These magnificent creatures usually have an even temperament, and they are protective of their families. They tend to reserve their energy for romping in the back yard and trips to the dog park. Another plus is that they almost never have an “accident” inside the house.
Big dogs have big personalities and big hearts to love you. They give gigantic hugs and colossal kisses!
Coachella Valley residents can call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 www.lovingallanimals.org for more information about fostering. Palm Springs residents can contact the Palm Springs Animal Shelter at (760) 416-5718 www.psanimalshelter.org. Wherever you live, there are shelters and private rescue groups that would love to have you join their life saving foster team.