This month we received some happy holiday news! In mid-November we submitted 5 heartwarming stories to the PetCo Foundation for their Holiday Wishes Grant. We received a phone call just last week letting us know that one of our stories was selected as a $5,000 winner! Below is the story that won the grant.
Bo was a true mutt. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. He had been kept outdoors his whole life; it took us hours to even get him through the door. He desperately need groomed and wasn’t potty trained. He did ok with our dogs, although he wasn’t quite best buds with them. Bo’s owner had lost his home and couldn’t take Bo with him. My husband and I took Bo in temporarily and began looking for a “permanent” foster home for him. When one stepped up it turned out to be the perfect match.
I hadn’t heard anything on Bo in a couple weeks when I got an email from the foster home. This particular home fosters both dogs and children. I was sent a copy of a paper that one of their foster children, Hunter, had written for school, it was titled “Bo-Man, A Boys Best Friend”. As I read the paper to my husband I began to tear up.
“I’ve always wanted to have a dog all to myself. I thought having a dog that would play with me and sleep with me would be fun. I was moved into foster care when I was fourteen. Some of the families I lived with had family dogs and some of my foster brothers and sisters even had their own cat or dog or hamster. I didn’t have anyone I could call my own. I was away from my biological family. I was moved to different homes and it was hard to make new friends all of the time. I felt alone a lot. There were days when it felt like it was me surrounded by people, but no one was there just for me. My dog would always play with me and always be my friend.
In August I moved in with a new family. They have a lot of dogs. Big dogs, yapping dogs, scrappy dogs that guard the food bowls. At night each of the kids would go off to bed and their dog would go with them. One of my chores was to help feed the foster dogs and the family dogs. This big crowded family not only had foster kids, but foster dogs as well. I didn’t mind helping because I love dogs, and some of these dogs were new just like me.
There was one dog, a dog that came to live at the house a few days after I arrived. He was big and black and very rambunctious. The others dogs ignored him or growled at him and I knew how he felt. The kids in the house either ignored me or were not always nice. My foster moms didn’t know much about Bo. His file said he was three and unwanted. My foster moms said black dogs are the first ones to be put to sleep in shelters and so he came to stay with us until a forever home could be found.
Bo is black with a few white patches on his body. Everyone in the house said he jumped around too much and ran through the house making the cats hide and the dogs nervous. I started taking Bo outside to go play fetch and run around the yard. The exercise felt good to me and it gave me an excuse to get out of the house when all six of the kids were home. I was not used to so many people around. Bo and I clicked. I defended him when the kids said he was naughty or when the dogs chased him away from the food or water bowls. Last week when two dogs were growling at each other, he stepped between me and them and made sure I was safe. I finally had someone who was on my side. When he snuggles with me at night he feels warm. When I stand up to go to bed, he beats me to the bedroom door. I can’t help but smile when he greets me with a cheerful tail wag. His eyes are pretty far apart so it makes me feel like I am talking to a human. I know I can talk to him and my secrets are safe. He is a foster dog and, like me, he came here as a temporary house guest. I am part of the family and the people who count have made it clear I am staying. Bo is still called “foster”, but I have hopes that soon he will be mine.”
Sure enough, a couple weeks later Bo’s adoption was finalized. The foster family added one more to their permanent family. Bo and Hunter continue to be inseparable. Bo goes everywhere he can with Hunter and his tag has Hunter’s cell number. Seeing how just one dog can make such a difference in a child’s life makes everything we do worth it. The sad beginnings are greatly offset by the happy endings.
While I love the fact that Last Hope won $5,000 and I know that can go a long way to helping other dogs, what still makes me tear up is just reading Hunter’s paper and knowing what a difference Bo made in this boys life. When my husband and I took Bo in it was supposed to be as a favor to an old high school buddy, temporary, until he could find someplace to live. But that just wasn’t meant to be. Bo found his place in the life of a young man who was struggling to find his own place. Stories like this help you realize that rescue isn’t just for the dogs. It’s about the families that we help complete, the children we provide the perfect playmate for, and young men like Hunter, just looking for a friend.