I had heard the term before.  I assured my husband it would NOT happen to us.  I had fostered once before, and although I cried (a lot) when I placed the dog – I absolutely understood my role as a foster. I pointed out that a number of our friends and neighbors foster, with great success.  I also argued that fostering a dog was a great way to see how Boomer and the cats would react to another dog.

Finally, I made my most emotional plea – by stepping up and fostering, we would be saving a dog.  Rescues can only pull as many dogs as they can place either temporarily or permanently. We got our first Aussie, Hobie, from Aussie rescue a number of years ago – so Aussie Rescue Placement and Helpline (ARPH) is my rescue of choice.  Over the years I have donated to and volunteered for ARPH.  Most recently, I have helped on the administrative side – checking personal and vet references of potential adopters, conducting home visits of potential adopters and helping to transport a couple of dogs.

Earlier this year I jumped in with both feet and volunteered to foster.  We were approved and on the list!  Our criteria was pretty simple – our foster dog needed to get along with the cats.  Our Aussie Boomer gets along with everyone – including the cats, and we didn’t want another dog, even a temporary one to upset our feline/canine balance.

Our ARPH rep emailed me one day to say that there was a pending cat-friendly owner give up in West Virginia and once he was vetted and evaluated by ARPH, we’d likely be asked to foster.  I confirmed, we were still available and ready for the challenge.  For reasons I no longer remember, it was taking a while to get the dog in the system.  While we waited, we were asked to help transport Kacey, keep her overnight, and then take her to her foster.

We met Kacey in a large corporate parking lot in Centerville, VA.  She had been pulled from a high-kill shelter in Roanoke, VA.  At 9.5 years old, she was an owner give up because “the landlord would not them keep her.”  An all-breed rescue worked with ARPH to get Kacey from the shelter and to us. Kacey arrived with a number of dogs making the trip to freedom and a forever home from southwest Virginia.  At least six other organizations received dogs that morning, including Lab Rescue and a group that works with tri-pods (dogs with 3 legs).  We were NOT the last trip to the day – I think we were the second of four stops.

The moment I laid eyes on Kacey I was overcome with sadness and a desire to protect her.  Trying very hard not to judge (but for the grace of God go I), it broke my heart that this poor dog was given up after nearly 10 years of being with a family, sent to a shelter, and now being driven across Virginia.  She was matted and a little stinky.  Her breathing was labored.  She was dazed and confused.  She looked at me with her sad eyes as if I was her lifeline.

Kacey on the world’s most expensive dog bed
We brought her home – gave her two baths.  Brushed and cut out her mats.  Even the fur on her paws was matted and her nails were so long it made it difficult for her to walk.   Once in the house, she jumped up on the sofa (or as I call it, the world’s most expensive dog bed) and went to sleep – snoring away.
One of Kacey’s favorite positions

That night she slept at the foot of our bed.  The next day I took Kacey and Boomer for a walk.  She was great.  Very happy to be out and about.  Wonderful with other dogs – just happy to be with us. Later that day we took her to her new foster.  I said to my husband as we were leaving, “we should have just kept her.”  I was sad to hand her off.

A week later, I was on my way to New York for client meetings when Aussie rescue called me.  Kacey was not a good fit for her foster family – would we be willing to take her back since she did so well at our house.  I was thrilled that she’d be back.  A quick call to my husband and coordinating some transportation – we had Kacey back in two days.  It was clear she was happy to see us.

Boomer and Kacey at the Hardware store

Over the next six weeks we learned that Kacey has a bit of arthritis, she is hard of hearing and has some vision issues.   She’s also a counter surfer (and an ingenious one at that, utilizing a table cloth, bag handle or chair to her advantage). She loves the cats (and their litter box).  She follows Boomer anywhere and enjoys his many outings (including doggie daycare and the dog park.  She doesn’t really play, but she observes and gets lots of attention.  She also has a number of fans at both).   Boomer in return has developed into her younger big brother – he’ll run and play, but circle back to check on her.

Kacey about to shop at Crate and Barrel

Overall, Kacey is a very low-key, low-maintenance Aussie.  Getting her out and moving, along with regular doses of Dasuquin, have helped her stiffness to the point where she’ll actually trot a bit – but she’s a happy and willing walker!  I think Boomer also keeps her motivated.  She’s also a very loving, sweet and content little dog.  We’ve had a number of house guests and parties since she came to stay with us and she’s enjoyed both!

Last week we officially adopted Kacey. Our ARPH rep said she wasn’t surprised.  The gang at the dog park knew it was going to happen.   My guess is that Kacey also knew it would happen, it was simply a matter of time.  We absolutely adore her and cannot imagine our home without her.

Kacey enjoys the Aussie Meetup at the Zoom Room
Boomer and Kacey after a day of wine tasting in Virgina

I will continue to support ARPH and the dogs they save and serve.  Hopefully Kacey’s story will encourage others to volunteer, foster and adopt.  I tear up to think of her fate had the collective ARPH community not engaged.  PawsGo (www.pawsgo.com) promotes a number of rescue groups through Facebook and Twitter.  We are always happy to share and support more.  Social media is a powerful tool in supporting organizations and saving wonderful animals, so share a photo, a link or a tweet!  Also, share your story.  We’d love to include it in our blog!

If you’d like to support ARPH and the work they do, you can purchase one of these t-shirts.  The original design is from PawsGo.  They are 100% cotton and printed in the U.S.  50% of your purchase goes directly to ARPH.  Sizes s,m,lg, and xl — for 2lx and 3xl, please send us a message, they are not on the website. (www.pawsgo.com)

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