By Stephanie Svoboda
Jozee, the dog who found a forever home with Stephanie.
I first found out about PawsCo through a co-worker. I really felt that this was something I wanted to pursue, so I signed up to volunteer and foster. I had no idea at the time that I was about to get involved in an organization that was passionate about its mission, passionate about its animals, and passionate about its people. You see, I had just moved to Denver from Minneapolis, so I did not know a lot of people and this was a true blessing for me. PawsCo immediately made me feel like I had an endless supply of friends—furry and otherwise.
I became a part of the communications team to help with graphic design, creating stickers, postcards and a trade show banner for events. While working on these materials, I was instantly falling in love with every photo of every dog and cat. I decided to look into fostering. Having two kitties of my own (Murphy, the big orange one in the picture below, and Sydney), I was concerned about the dogs I would be bringing into my home, and what my little loves would think of it all.
After meeting my first foster, Raisin (Now Finnegan), I knew this was for me. I saw my fosters transform from scared and shy to excited, happy, and loved. Nothing can explain how good it feels to be a part of that transformation. It is true joy! Finnegan was such a fun and perfect first foster. One of the true blessings in fostering is getting to meet the families who adopt the animals we care for. I met the most amazing couple who Finn went home with. Being a part of the meet-and-greet makes handing over the foster I loved so dearly much easier.
My second Foster was Pippy, and she was a whole other experience. I fell in love with her. She was sweet, loving, loyal and just an all-around awesome pup. When I first picked her up she was shaking like I’ve never seen. She was scared, and had no idea what an amazing life she was about to live. I had to let her warm up to me, but as soon as she trusted me our bond started. I had Pippy for almost four weeks before her perfect family came to swoop her away. After a brief meeting at an adoption event this awesome family saw the potential. They were patient with her and gave her so much love. Another perfect fit. I saw it right before my eyes.
Not only was I learning about different breeds, what dogs need, and training methods, but I was learning that every pup has so much potential and there really is a perfect home out there for them.
Next came Harvey. I had Harvey the longest… and he was the most challenging. But he was also the biggest transformation. The day I got Harvey he destroyed my bathroom. I won’t go into details here, but after being spoiled with such perfect little pups I forgot the reality of having a 40-pound dog take over your apartment. Just 6 months old, Harvey required the most training and attention. I first saw this as a pain, but then I realized that this was a learning experience for both of us.
Considering where he came from and what his life had been like up to that point, in reality he was doing great. I sought out training info from the adoption team and it provided me with so many helpful tips and tricks for potty training, chewing, crate training, barking, leash/walks, and socializing. After a few unsuccessful meet-and-greets I was sure I would be raising this dog for the rest of his life (I can be a little dramatic). Then, it happened. Along came Harvey’s perfect family. He truly could have the space, attention, and pup siblings he had always dreamed of. I am so happy for him.
He left me a bit exhausted in the dog department and I decided to take a little break (for a week) from fostering. I decided to see what would happen if I brought a little kitten into the mix. It was a match made in heaven. I brought 10-week-old Theo (now Howard) home, and he instantly became best buds with Murphy (my cat). Of course, being an adorable baby kitten he was instantly adopted by his perfect forever home.
Tuesday has become my favorite day because it is the day I get to see the “Animals In Need List.” I would scroll through the short bios before seeing all the cute pictures. On one of those Tuesday’s I found the most adorable picture I had ever seen and I had to foster. Although I was on a foster break because I was going on vacation in just two short weeks, I decide to see if Kiera (now Jozee) was still available. She was and she would be coming to me that weekend. From the moment I met the little jumper, I knew we had a special connection. I knew she would be a hard one to give up. After hanging out with her for the day and cuddling up with her all night, I knew I just couldn’t imagine not having her. I put an application in for adoption.
Murphy embraces Howard, Stephanie’s foster cat.
After a lot of thinking, and the experiences I had with my other fosters, I knew this one was different. I loved all of my fosters, but Jozee was mine. She was mine from the moment I met her. I knew exactly how much work a 6-month-old pup would be, and I couldn’t imagine not helping her become the perfect pup in my life. Fostering helped me put things in perspective. It reminded me that a cute puppy face is so much more than just a cute puppy face. Every animal needs so much attention, love, training, and socializing. I couldn’t be happier to have Jozee join my family. She is the perfect pup and I love her dearly. Thanks, PawsCo for this unexpected, yet extraordinary gift.
Read another inspiring PawsCo foster story.