My First Foster

I saw his picture, and felt obligated to help. Jerry had a terrible upper respiratory infection, globs of mucus streaming from his nose, and was being held at a local high-kill shelter. He was feeble, thin, listless. And he was a cattle dog. I love cattle dogs. I have two at home, and along with my husband, they’re the greatest things in my life.

We’ve heard the story so many times: a dog rescued from a high-kill shelter with no time to spare. But it takes on a whole new meaning when it’s a dog that you’ve fallen in love with.

When Kelly from Pepper’s Paws first went to take photos of Jerry at the shelter, she knew he was special. Her 2-year-old son tagged along, and Jerry was calm around him, and gently took treats from her son’s hand. Her son even walked Jerry on the leash, without being pulled.

Kelly and her friend Christina knew he needed to be saved, and saw the potential joy Jerry could bring to a family. When they pulled him from the shelter, he was malnourished and had no energy. They immediately took him to a vet, and aside from his upper respiratory infection, they also discovered Heartworm disease. After a week at the vet and a weekend recovering at Christina’s, Jerry came to be with me.

To tell the truth, I was nervous. Excited, for sure… but the female cattle dog I have can be aggressive toward newcomers. When Christina dropped him off, it was obvious that Jerry had already become attached to her. He stayed by her side as I knelt down to pet him. Once he was familiar with me, it was time for the official introduction.

I tried to bring Aussie, my female cattle dog, out on a leash first, but her pup Bandit darted under my feet and rushed to greet Jerry in the front yard. My heart was pounding, expecting Aussie to charge Jerry, snapping at him, the hair on her back sticking straight up.

But what happened brought a tear to my eyes. She stood straight up; ears erect, and tail wagging incessantly. Then she yelped, spun in circles, and was ready to play. It was love at first sight. Our whole family agreed: Jerry was special.

I’ve had him for a few weeks now, and I say it constantly: “If I had a bigger house I’d keep him.”

Everyone that meets him falls in love. My friend Juliet told me, “I’m really not a dog person, but there’s something about him.” She swears if he could talk he’d be telling me how he “roves me.”

Whether I’m working in the kitchen or sitting on the couch, Jerry is always by my feet. He can’t be close enough. The only thing he asks for is affection, and I give it without complaints. I know that when the time comes for Jerry to go to his forever home, it’s going to be difficult to say goodbye.

It’s even tough to write that.

He’s had his first heartworm treatment and is on the road to recovery. He still has a way to go, but for now, he is loved, safe, and well fed. And one thing’s for sure: I rove my Jerry boy.

As the charity coordinator here at Chewy.com, I have the opportunity to interact with some great rescues and shelters on a daily basis. If you’ve never fostered an animal before, I encourage you to think about it. If you’d like to find a great rescue in your area, just ask. I’d be happy to point you to a few!