Tag Archives: Foster

Foster advice or updates

Call Me Selfish…


For me, fostering is a selfish act.  I am a fickle person who changes material things often and I ‘have commitment issues’! I also prefer to keep myself naive because, well, it’s easier on me!  Animal rescue is ugly and heartbreaking! I’ve tried different avenues to help or work with animals/rescues from walking dogs at animal control, visiting rescue cats and cleaning up cages at a local pet store or fostering a pup and taking her from event to event in an attempt to get her adopted; watching people love on her, ask how they would go about adopting her and then never hearing from them 💔 ! I’ve found that fostering puppies for THIS rescue works for me!  I get a new puppy every few weeks, I keep them for what is a short period of time in the rescue world, send them back to the rescue where they stay at an adoption center until they get adopted (which is normally quick because, let’s face it, they’re puppies and puppies get adopted faster than an older dog).  I don’t have to deal with people ‘dissing my kids’ by saying you’d love to adopt them and then never fill out the application!  I get more fun and love than exercise or poop (although it’s really close) and don’t have to deal with the heart wrenching side!  SEE SELFISH!!!

Part of fostering is the cycle that animal ‘owners’ usually take a lifetime to go through.  You get a new puppy (hopefully adopted or rescued) teach it right from wrong, love it even when it’s bad, encourage it when it’s scared, nurse it when it’s sick and say goodbye with hugs, kisses and tears!  This means that your heart is now that much fuller because of all that!!! For people that foster, that ‘lifetime’ could be weeks or months or sometimes years! We know at some point you will HAVE to say goodbye and it is NEVER easy! I knew this foster period was only going to be for days as these two were slated for an event where they would hopefully find immediate homes!!  My job was simply to let them see just a glimpse of what was to come!

Attempting to meet catsimageTaking long naps  image  Pondering poultry

imageRelaxing with toys after a meal


Going for car rides


Blue Belle and Hudson Bay have left the building!!!  image

Surprisingly, I did not cry for these two!  They are adorably perfect pups and my confidence that they would be placed in forever homes through the event was high.  Blue Belle slept in hers that very night.  Hudson Bay would have to wait.  I will stalk the website until I see that he gets his home as well; I’m sure it will be soon.

What that means for me, is that I get to do it all over again.  A new set of pups will be coming soon and more adventures will follow.


Darwin Von Doodlebug IV


Social media has it’s good points and bad points!  The bad being, what ends up on social media – STAYS on social media, especially pictures!  Facebook can be like a therapy session that the rest of you have to ‘listen’ to but it can also be like a picture diary.  With the events of this past week, I keep telling myself to stay off Facebook but like a train wreck, my ADD brings me back time and time again, looking back, like a movie of the past year at pictures or posts – torturing myself, not knowing why I keep doing it.

On Fridays, the ‘grandkids’ come over if Tracy has to work to have some puppy play time.  Delilah loves when Darwin comes over because he puts up with her ‘play’.  After Oscar came home, we had gone out to get something to eat and when we came back, my son , Ryan, told us that Darwin had thrown up! Hmm, not that unusual! With a total of 8 animals in the household at one time or another, any one of them could be spewing something. It wasn’t even an after thought, it was time to feed the dogs! Four dogs, four bowls, four places!  I ran out to the store and when I got back, my husband told me that Darwin had thrown up 2 more times! Within about 4 – 5 hours he threw up a total of 4 times.  Looking back now, he went from his jumpy, playful perky self to an ‘I don’t feel so good Mommy!’ little boy!  We called Brandon to let him know and he ended up being up with him all night (he is such a good doggy daddy)!

Saturday morning, the vet managed to squeezed him in, gave him a quick once over, x-rays, a few shots for the nausea and sub Q fluids and sent him home with some anti nausea medicine.   Darwin seemed to be a little better throughout the day but still not his barking at every squirrel, no depth perception/bumps into everything, so excited to see you self.  Brandon kept in contact with the vet by email/phone throughout the weekend and on Sunday, they both decided he probably needed to go back in Monday morning; but that if he got any worse, he should go to the emergency vet but expect them to opt for emergency surgery (which wouldn’t have been a surprise).  Darwin managed to keep some food down and was still drinking but wasn’t getting any better!

Monday morning back to the vet, more exams, blood work, xrays, barium series this time and, low and behold…an obstruction.  The dye never left his stomach and seemed to be getting absorbed by something.  Surgery it would be!  His vitals weren’t that great so the vet decided that they would get his numbers up and do the surgery Tuesday morning.   The surgery was successful, he had two blockages.  They found some stringy stuff and some plastic stuff (possibly a nylon bone).  They showed it to Brandon, I don’t know all the details on exactly what it was but, YAY, it was out and Darwin would be on the road to recover!  He stayed at the vet all day Tuesday and Brandon was able to pick him up on Wednesday after 2 pm.  Oscar and I went over to see Darwin that evening and so Oscar could help Brandon cut a counter top.  I sat and cuddled with Darwin (& Dixie).  He was doing good, normal after surgery grogginess but still gently hopping off the couch, wagging his tail when he saw Papa and then back on the couch for cuddles with Nana!  Sicky little boy, I will just cuddle you and it will be all better very soon! ❤

Thursday morning Brandon says that Darwin had a bad night, couldn’t get comfortable, was very restless and flopping in bed.  He wasn’t able to keep his medicine down and hadn’t really had anything to eat although he was drinking water.  Around 6 am, he had gone out and pooped ‘a little nugget’ but by around 7 am he was projectile vomiting all over the place, whining and shaking in pain.   Tracy called the vet and rushed him back in so they could administer the medicines by shot or IV and see what else was going on.

I’ll make the rest of this quick, because that’s how it went…by around 11:30 am they were rushing him back into surgery, by around 1:30…he was gone!  Apparently, the part of the intestine after the blockage gets weak from the lack of blood flow or fluids and ruptured.  Our beloved, 2nd foster failure, bull in a china shop, has to lean against you even when he walks, licks you CONSTANTLY, rests his head on your knee/leg/arm while you’re eating was gone.  As I type this, I still can’t believe it, how fast it all happened or that it happened at all.

There aren’t too many dogs that I look at that I don’t think are cute, I pretty much love them all but Darwin had THE most gorgeous face around and he always melted your heart when he looked at you with that heart shaped nose.  I just couldn’t help but smooch his face, even when he was in trouble or getting on my nerves!

I completely forgot that this was his full name until I started writing this (some how the boys in our house got LONG names)!  Social media therapy also allows one to write down their thoughts, removing them from a persons head, releasing just a little hurt, although any animal lover  knows, not all of it and not forever!

Here’s to you – Darwin Von Doodlebug IV!   Your life was SO short, we had you for just one year but the imprint you have left us with will last us a lifetime!

RIP my gorgeous Tin Man

08/??/12 – 11/14/13

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1057813_10200495243445998_1821293056_n  DARWIN DIXIE


I’m Back…


I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything and I’m sure you’re all wondering where I’ve been.  Well, in short, we lost my Mom at the end of July, switched voice over ip phone systems at work (what a nightmare), took a long weekend with some of my favorite girls, had a new server installed at work at the same time our installer lost his Dad and his backup had family emergencies as well.  (deep breath in, ssslllooowww exhale out).  With all that we are also attempting to sell my Moms house without an agent and I think it’s starting to weigh on my husband who has been acting as the real estate agent since he is bi-lingual.   I think it may be time to find a pro!

That’s a lot, isn’t it!? Well don’t feel too bad for the ol’ hubby because in the midst of all that, my boss came to me in September and asked if I wanted (ha ha) to go to a conference in, of all places, Orlando!  For those of who you don’t know my husband, over the last 30 years he has connived 🙂 a trip to Orlando between 8 – 10 times.  To say this is one of his favorite vacations would definitely be an understatement!  He earned this one though, so while I sat in a hotel conference for 8 – 9 hours a day, he putzed around Orlando sending me texts of all the places he’d been!  Not a bad way to see Disney if ya ask me!  (Don’t feel bad for me either, we took some time for vacation as well!)

Honestly, I’ve had this blog on my mind for some time since my mom passed away in July but never really came up with anything that I felt would warrant a post.  Today, I got a tag on Facebook from a lady I know who works with a rescue group (Chicago Pit Stop to give them a plug) who has been trying to get me to foster for them for some time.   My first thought was that there were puppies at Chicago Animal and Control that needed rescuing and they couldn’t be pulled until she had a foster home set up (her tags make me nervous because I am SSOO ready to foster again).  To my surprise, this is the picture she tagged me in!  Can you imagine how tickled I was!   OK, I’m biased, but aren’t my babies gorgeous!



Darwin, Duke, Delilah and Dixie!

Fosters puppies are coming soon too!  Feelin’ the urge!

Don’t forget that October is breast cancer awareness month also!  My mom was a breast cancer survivor <3!!


Forget the Pibble knees…


I had intended on having this post be a part 2 of Whats With Pibble Knees and how breeders of all dogs, not just pitties, are ruining the quality of ALL breeds!  They don’t care about what the outcome is, they just want numbers.  The more in the litter or the more litters per year, the more dollars they get, whether its puppy mills or dog fighters.  In a perfect world, EVERYONE would just go to a reputable breeder to get their dogs.  Shelters would be extinct!  It would be an honor to breed dogs, create life and get quality living, breathing beings; they would care what was produced!  They would go to wonderful homes and would be taken care, as family members, until they die!  Teaching their human children the right and wrong way to treat animals so that when they had their own homes, the process would start all over again. OK I’m back from Lalaland!

Every time I started writing or thinking about the direction the post would take me, I found myself getting angry, sad or disgusted just thinking about what happens to animals in puppy mills, basement cages or secluded dog fighting ‘arenas’.  That’s one of the reasons I started fostering!  I couldn’t stand going to the shelters, seeing the animals in cages, barking like crazy, pleading with their eyes to get out.  Maybe I’m a weenie, I don’t know!  It broke my heart!  On the other hand, I’m not a person who would do well in a customer service job because I would most definitely give you my opinion and it was surely coming out when I was thinking about backyard breeders, puppy mills or dog fighters!  It would not have been a positive post!  Anybody interested in reading these posts are more than likely dog/animal lovers, have dogs/animals of their own or volunteers with dogs/animals/shelters and they already know what comes and goes, the horror stories about shelters/abused animals and how dreadful people can be and feel the same as I do ANYWAY!!

There is probably not, in recent history, a more prominent backyard breeder, dog fighter, animal abuser than Michael Vick and his Bad Newz Kennels!  After Michael Vick’s 51 pit bulls were seized from his property in April 2007, two rescue groups took most of them in — Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, and BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls) in San Francisco. Don’t get me started on this topic!

Finally, the positive and the direction this post SHOULD go…

Although the Vicktory dogs don’t have perfect stories, most have perfect, positive endings!  If you follow any of them on Facebook (and if you don’t, I suggest you do), you can see that although they still have some issues and health problems, they are wonderful dogs, in fantastic homes with loving families who are willing to do the work that they needed, not only for the Vick dogs but for many other fosters as well!

Today, instead of beating a dead horse and  bashing people who do everything wrong when it comes to animals or pitbulls, read about where a few of these dogs are today, 5 years later!  All because of the work of loving people who didn’t think these dogs should just be discarded.  They knew they deserved a second chance and, OBVIOUSLY, rightly so!

Good Newz…

…and a smilearrow-down

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Darwin sez ‘How you doin’?’
Way to go Vicktory Dogs!

What’s with Pibble knees?


Our experience started with Dixie at about 4  – 6 months old.  She had been going to the dog park since she was 12 weeks old but one day, she started limping and it seemed that she didn’t stop for 3 years!  She had her first ACL surgery when she was just about a year old.  Dixie is a pretty lazy dog but when she wants to run, she takes off like a shot! When the limping started, our minds wondered, going over all the possibilities of what it could be.  Just cold from the snow?, a sliver in her pad; maybe she stepped on something?, a sprain?, maybe something got pulled?!  You start at the least painful and travel to the worst case scenario.  Finally, the decision to seek veterinary advise!  The routine is to rest the dog for anywhere from two weeks to 6 months along with anti-inflammatorys to see if that helps!  For Dixie it was a no go.  X-rays of her knee showed she had torn the ACL, the meniscus and had some arthritis.  She was only a year old!!  It would be surgery for her! 😦  Now if trying to keep a dog at rest for two weeks (give or take) isn’t hard enough!  Try keeping even a lazy dog from no running, no jumping, no stairs, no couches, no beds  FOR 6 WEEKS!  If any of you know little Miss Lazy Dixie Doodles, stairs may be ok but jumping, couches or beds?  BE SERIOUS!  She was not a happy camper – although she did like being picked up to get on the couch  AND it was a little funny watching her figure that cast out (especially when it came to potty breaks) but you could see she was miserable and it was hard just to lay down!


The one word of advise that came from the orthopedic surgeon when Dixie had her surgery was, if she tore one, she will more than likely tear the other!  ‘Sure Doc, what’s the likelihood!?’  Well, let me tell you that the likelihood is very high!  Not only did Dixie have to have yet another surgery, she tore #2 in less than a year.   Keep in mind that even though her cast came off in two weeks, the no jumping, no stairs, blah blah blah goes for 6 weeks and they REALLY don’t completely recover for  quite a few months!  Dixie barely recovered from #1 when we came to the realization that she would need #2!


I remember my husband giving me that look when he heard the cost of the surgery!  My response was, ‘What?  You think if it was Duke we wouldn’t be footing that bill?’  Of course we would!  Well, this post is dedicated to anyone who has had to rest their dog; restrict activity; take short,  slow walks; carried their dogs up and down stairs umpteen million times just to go to the bathroom OR who have had to pay for ACL surgery!  Talk about OUCH!   Brandon didn’t even have #1 paid for before she needed #2. (Thank you CareCredit)

So Dixie had two ACL surgeries, one year apart.  One of my past fosters that I still get updates on, Zoe, had double ACL surgery this year!  Like back to back isn’t bad enough, have them both done at the same time! DOUBLE OUCH (note the pain patch on her hiney)! Poor Zoe!


Yesterday, Delilah was told she has a luxating patella!  Actually, both her knees ‘luxate’ but the left one is pretty obvious where the right isn’t so bad!  For those of you who don’t know what a luxating patella is:  basically her knee slips out of the socket or grove that it is supposed to sit in/on and it causes her lameness!


 She had been coming in from the back yard holding her left hind leg up!  She wouldn’t put weight on it but then would walk it off and be fine!  One time this even happened on a walk WHILE she had her puppy Uggs on!  Here come all those from minor injury to worse case scenario thoughts!  Since she would need to be sedated for removal of a cyst from her hind right paw that kept growing, popping and bleeding, we thought we should see if the vet thought an x-ray was in order!  Good thing we did!  Although, it’s not the worst case possible and surgery is not necessary at this point, WHAT’S WITH PIBBLE KNEES!?!?!?!?!?!?  I hear so many dogs having to have these types of surgeries lately that it makes me wonder.  Actually it makes me mad because I have another thought as to why this happens but we will save that for another post!

And on second thought, I think the hardest part for the dogs is the cone!

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Share on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EnlightenedByADog photos of your dogs after surgery or cone pictures!

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Growing up…


…it’s not always pretty, but it is quite a ride and rewards come when you least expect them.

I was a young bride so growing up for me was fast – I met my husband at 16, started dating him at 17, married him at 18 and had my first baby at 19 (my second at 25)! Raising my children, or just going through life in general, has definitely been an education for me. From my youngest, I’ve learned not to let things bother you! He is a duck, things just roll off his back! From my oldest, I’ve learned not to judge a book by it’s cover! He has a gruff exterior with a huge heart!

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Yes world, this is my contribution to society!!!

I don’t remember thinking too much about what my children were going to be when they grew up, or myself for that matter! I guess we really did it together! I just lived my life, day by day, tried to do the best I could with what I had and wanted my kids to be happy in their decisions, no matter how much money they made. I know the mistakes I’ve made (some of which have bit me in the butt) and the moments that I deserved a pat on the back! For my youngest, his decisions changed often. For my oldest, he was what he is today at a young age! I now realize maturity hadn’t even kicked in yet for me to even think about what I wanted to be when I grew up! It just happened that way – I was a Mom!

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It was a bit the same way when it came to fostering puppies. I had met a sweet lady through work who was a big animal/shelter/rescue advocate. Somehow our conversations went from business to dogs. The rest, as they say, is history! We clicked! She became a wonderful friend (along with another girl from New Jersey) and opened my eyes to the animal lover that I didn’t realize that I was! We even vacationed together (which reminds me, its time to take that trip again!)


Here we all are at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.
Sarah, Stacy, Char, Oscar & Joy!

One day, Sarah sends me this email about 5 puppies at PAWS that need a foster home! “Oh my, they sure are cute!” Their names were Ham, Lamb, Beef, Liver & Fish – what adorable names! “Sure Charmain, go ahead, fill out the application! No better way to find out if you want a 2nd dog – fostering puppies!” In the same moment that I click send, I’m excited, scared and wondering what in the world I just did, offering to take 5 puppies without so much as even talking to my husband! Can I even handle 5 puppies! 5 PUPPIES!!!!????? Within half an hour, I had a phone interview with PAWS and 2 puppies (thank goodness I didn’t have to take all 5) to be picked up the following day! I was again, A MOM!


Lamb and Fish, my first foster puppies!

If you have children (or husbands), I’m sure you have said, at least once in your life, “it’s like talking to a brick wall!” You never really know if your children are paying attention as you are raising them! I have, on many occasions, heard things my children have said or saw things they have done that tells me they heard it all, the good and the bad! At some point, they start making decisions on their own and you see the seeds you’ve planted grow! My oldest has had some eye opening moments over the last few years! He learned that companies aren’t always loyal to employees, no matter how much money you make them; that the loss of an animal can break your heart as badly as your closest human friend and the sad truth about how shelter dogs are euthanized ‘in bulk’!  He has also learned that there are thousands of dogs in shelters and the best way to see if you want a 2nd dog is to foster! YES, my oldest son has fostered his first puppy!

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Resting with Tracy!


Sleeping comfortably!

Ok, so maybe he has ulterior motives and already knows he wants a 2nd dog but it doesn’t take away from the warmth I feel in my heart knowing that that came from a seed I planted. For those mistakes I made that bit me in the butt, they are all erased by the care and concern I see in my son when it comes to animals, dogs and pitbulls!

Thank God for my children (,husband) and growing up….

P.S. I guess it would be no surprise to any of you if I told you that my son is a horrible foster father!  He is beyond a failure!  Unofficially, meet my new granddog! Looks like Brandon is keeping the puppy!

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Meet Darwin Von Doodlebug IV

Where does the time go!?


This summer for us and the dogs has just gone by SO fast that I am having a hard time even remembering the fun things we’ve done let alone posting things to this blog.  My initial intention was a daily post of dogs and fosters and the things they do, maybe a training tip or two!  It turned to weekly, then monthly and now they are just random!  Between the ungodly weather and hospital visits, time really has just flown by! So here is, hopefully, a quick synopsis of what has been going on other than normal doggy antics, walks and funnies:

The most important, for me anyway, is that Mom is doing MUCH better!  Although she still needs ‘drainings’ about every 5 days or so, it seems to only be the lungs and not both, belly and lungs!  Medications are still being adjusted and we are keeping our fingers crossed that she will not need any permanent procedures that could cause more damage than do good!  We shall will know more tomorrow!

For those of you who don’t know Oscar and I on a personal level, we have been together for 30 years this past May!  It’s safe to say that we don’t ‘date’ that much anymore!  Well, on August 18th we got casually dressed up, hopped in the car to have a bite to eat and went downtown to see a movie called Beyond the Myth!  It’s a film about Breed Specific Legislation!  Anyone who owns a bully breed or pitbull type dog knows this discrimination, even if you have just gotten a strange look from a passer by or someone who has crossed the street when walking another dog!  That is bad enough and hard to NOT take personal!  This movie shows the real statistics, media bias and first hand accounts of family dogs unfairly taken from families for no good reason and destroyed simply because of their looks!  For anyone who followed Lennox in Belfast or Wicca in Canada, it’s a must see!  Yes, a tear jerker at times but eye opening as well!  We got to meet Fifty, the 2-legged pitbull!  What a ham and talk about ‘enlightened by a dog’!!!  A sad story, injury to the dog caused by human fear or ignorance and NO grudges held!  This is one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet!  LOVE HIM!!!!

Delilah signed up for her PAWS pit-bull required basic obedience class!  I think she is a quickly becoming a Daddys girl because Oscar took Delilah for all her training classes while I kept Duke in a ‘sit-stay’ outside the rink!  We would purposely get to class early, before all the other dogs, so he could practice his ‘leave it’ while all the dogs paraded passed him to enter the rink!  He did very well and it’s starting to show on our walks!  Delilah did FANTASTIC in her basic classes learning heal, about turns, sit, stay, down, stand and leave it!  I am a proud Momma, she GRADUATED FIRST IN HER CLASS!  Not that I want to brag (ok, I want to brag) but that is 4 dogs, 4 basic obedience classes and 4 blue ribbons!  Woo Hoo!  It would be nice if that was the end of dog training but we all know different!  I’m sure Delilah will be signed up for an advance class soon and the training will continue…

Sometime before we got Delilah, we signed Duke and Dixie up for a dog walking group called Chicago Sociabulls.  It’s a ‘dog walking group founded in 2011 to provide an opportunity for socialization and exercise through an on-leash pack walking experience for pit bull-type dogs and their allies.’  With the summer months and the popularity of the group, there was a waiting list.  Our turn to join the walk finally came up two weeks ago!  We did our first required dogless walk and then got our registration to signup for events!  Their site is a bit like a Facebook friends page for dogs!  The new member coordinator wanted to make sure I ‘friend-ed’ her dog, which I did!

Boy that dog looks familiar!  O M GEEEEEEEEEEEE Could it be?

Merci?  Is that you?

I couldn’t type fast enough to send an email to the coordinator of the group to find out if she adopted her dog from PAWS!  Yes, she had adopted her dog from PAWS and yes, it WAS Merci!  I was overjoyed!

Being a foster family, the joy comes from taking care of the animal while they are in your home.  We treat them as if they are our own!  You feed them, clean them, walk them, discipline them and love them!  Then you cry your eyes out when it’s time to take them in for their surgery and transport to the adoption center where they will meet their forever families!  Job well done!  Normally, I stalk the website to see when they post their ‘recent pet adoptions’ just so I can get a glimpse of the new Mommy and/or Daddy!  I smile and cry a little more!  Now bring me the next puppy!

Mercis’ new mom was just as excited as I was which also made me ecstatic!  Long story short, I would have been happy with a current photo of Merci but her new family was willing to come over to my house for a play date and I was able to get a few more smooches!

She and Delilah became fast friends and I believe she even remembered Papa Oscar and the pond!

(All foster puppies end up curiously falling into the pond and get their first swimming lesson!)

We even got to walk together on Sunday at our first SociaBulls walk !

As if that isn’t ‘exhaustingly exciting’ enough!   In showing Mercis’ new Mommy the collage of photos I have of all my fosters, she notices that one of my other fosters looks familiar! From afar the dog looks more like an American Bulldog rather than a Pibble so I discount that it could happen twice in one week! I happen to be viewing pictures from previous SociaBulls walks and I notice a familiar GUY!  Yep, the guy not the dog!  (Remember I said I stalk the website to find the recent adoptions photos?) I compare the photo of the guy and his dog to the photo I stalked from the past adoptions!  I squeal!

Those ears on that dog have spots!  I didn’t notice that before!

OH MY, NOT AGAIN!  Is that my lipstick wearing pitbull China Girl!?

I do believe I may have a heart attack!  Confirmed via email!  That is China Girl!

 More emails flew back and forth with photos included and, by golly, another foster found!  As I said to both adoptive families, never in my wildest dreams could I imagine having any knowledge of one of my fosters and yet, I’ve found, by chance, two in one week!

Thank you Chicago SociaBulls for creating a group that led me to two of my past babies, both adoptive families for being receptive to the small role I played in their animals life and to my husband!!!  I could not foster if not for his help!!!