Spice Up Your Life!

Posted by Pia

Oooh how excited I am to tell you about my recent visit with the lovely Ms. Pepper!
Pepper is the adorable little pooch I was fostering last fall until finding her the perfect home on the east coast. On a recent trip to NYC, I got to see her for the first time since re-homing her, and it reaffirmed to me the many wonderful reasons to foster.

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Kelly, Pepper's forever mom, outfitted Ms. Pepper in a fab pink sweater for her day in the big city!

1 Kelly, Pepper's forever mom, outfitted Ms. Pepper in a fab pink sweater for her day in the big city!

I was so excited to see Pep when she arrived to visit me in the big apple!

2 I was so excited to see Pep when she arrived to visit me in the big apple!

I covered her with kisses.

3 I covered her with kisses.

Mama Kelly brought Pepper's best buddy Gus as well.

4 Mama Kelly brought Pepper's best buddy Gus as well.

It was so heartwarming to see how much they both love their mama and each other.

5 It was so heartwarming to see how much they both love their mama and each other.

And Kelly clearly loves them too- they are a family!

6 And Kelly clearly loves them too- they are a family!

We went up to the roof of my mom's building to get some sun.

7 We went up to the roof of my mom's building to get some sun.

I showed them where I used to keep a pet snail I'd saved as a kid.

8 I showed them where I used to keep a pet snail I'd saved as a kid.

There was construction taking place on the roof, but we got to take in some views of Central Park.

9 There was construction taking place on the roof, but we got to take in some views of Central Park.

That's the Plaza Hotel behind us.  Pepper wanted to go there for Tea!

10 That's the Plaza Hotel behind us. Pepper wanted to go there for Tea!

Kelly and I should have anticipated that the pooches would not stand for a long-distance view of Central Park, so off we went to Sheep's Meadow.

11 Kelly and I should have anticipated that the pooches would not stand for a long-distance view of Central Park, so off we went to Sheep's Meadow.

There was plenty to smell and assess....

12 There was plenty to smell and assess....

Pepper found the pigeons particularly engaging.

13 Pepper found the pigeons particularly engaging.

There were also all sorts of other NY canines to meet and greet.

14 There were also all sorts of other NY canines to meet and greet.

And Pepper felt the dry leaves needed some watering for sure!

15 And Pepper felt the dry leaves needed some watering for sure!

Pepper was excited to tell me all about her life with Gus and Kelly.

16 Pepper was excited to tell me all about her life with Gus and Kelly.

17 "Mama Kelly makes sure they are always presentable and takes us for fun long walks."

18 "This is my striped get-up..."

19 "...and my more formal evening attire."

20 "I even have stylish foot wear to protect my little pads from the elements."

21 "They match my pink parka. A parka is a warm coat that pooches wear in colder climates."

22 "This past November some weird white stuff started to appear on the streets. I had never seen anything like it!"

23 "It seemed to be coming from above and was getting me all wet!"

24 "I couldn't tell what it was by smell....and I can usually tell anything by smell!"

25 "My mama tried to explain what it was. It's called snoo"

26 "She said it part of something called seezuns."

27 "I wasn't sure what to say. We didn't have snoo in Los Angeles..."

28 "It kind of reminded me of the ice treats I used to have in L.A.."

29 "Gus (my BFF) explained how snoo was fun to run in and how it would soon be gone."

30 "Gus is super smart!"

31 "I love him a lot!"

32 "When we go on road trips I like to lie on him. He is very patient."

33 "And at Christmas, we decorated the whole house!"

34 "I thought we were gonna decorate me until Gus told me how it really works."

35 "So we helped mama get it all nice and ready for when she was gonna put presents under the tree."

36 "Decorating is not easy ! But mama says it's important to be festive."

37 "I'm so glad mama and Gus had my help. Truthfully, I don't know how they would have done it all without me."

38 "Housework and decorating can really work up an appetite."

39 "I really love my new home - I feel so safe here!"

40 "And fashion forward, too. That's very important, you know."

I often get asked if fostering is hard due to getting too attached. It is perfectly natural to get attached to an animal you are fostering, but keeping a few things in mind can be helpful. Fostering provides an invaluable service for rescue groups as it is often the only way they can pull an animal from a shelter if his or her time is up. It gives the animal and the rescue group the needed time to find a proper home. It can also help the animal to become more socialized or recuperate if he or she is traumatized by the unfamiliar shelter experience, as is often the case.

A foster can also provide a rescue group with useful feedback on an animal's temperament, energy level and other factors that help with placement in a new home. This information is critical to assuring a successful adoption.

While fostering is not for everyone, it is a great way for someone who cannot commit to a companion animal long term; not only do you get some furry cuddle time, but you also help the plight of shelter animals overall. Sometimes it can be helpful to establish a limit to how long you're willing to foster to mitigate any fears about becoming too attached. It also helps to keep in mind that for every foster that ultimately gets placed in a great home, you have a space open to save another animal who also deserves a second chance.

Sometimes you even get to stay in touch with your beloved foster animal like I do with Pepper. I often get cards and updates on animals I have fostered. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to witness them safe and happy in their new homes -- and to see the joy they bring to the two- and four-leggers in their new families! Add to that the fact that I have a space to help another animal, and you see why fostering is so rewarding!

To find out more about fostering opportunities, contact a group in your area. You can also create your own volunteer profile on AdoptAPet.com outlining the specific ways that you are able to help shelter animals. Be sure to designate fostering as an area of interest if you want to give it a try. There is no shortage of animals needing your help and so many fun and easy ways to get involved!

So consider adding a little "spice" to your life. I'm certainly glad that I did!

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (4)

  • Like I have said many times before...Dr.Pia you are a special person, including all those that have the Heart to foster.
    A great home for sweet Pepper with a heartwarming story and photos...thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Dr. Pia,
    Oh, what a wonderful day seeing how happy Pepper is--you did good doc. That Central Park must be a really fun place for all of the New York's best canines to play. Maybe a lot of people will add spice to their life after how great things went for Pepper. Thanks Dr.Pia.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • Pia - Thanks for the press! We had so much fun coming into The Big City to see you and take in the sights. Thanks for giving us a tour of The Park. We were unconscious on the way home as you saw in the pictures. Being a dog is not easy!!

    As for my new home, I can't say enough about Gus. From the moment you brought me here, he made me feel like I was home. As you could see from my picture on the chair, he has no problem with me cuddling with the babies. I like to snuggle - what can I say?! And smushing up with Gus is even cozier, especially when Mama isn't around.

    We can't wait until you come back and visit us at the beach. Your room is always ready!

    Big Hugs and Dog Kisses
    Peep (and Gus)

  • Hi Dr. Pia, You are one special person. How thoughtful that you were able to foster little MS. Pepper and then give her to another special person who took her into her home and made her feel right at home. I would have trouble giving up a fostered pet, but thankfully there are others who could do it. Thank you again for all you do for our animals. Jan

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