by Stephanie East / Published May 1, 2019
Number 72. Before I meet a foster, before I get to know their personality, they represent a number on a list of foster dogs that I have had over the years. I’ve been fostering off and on for several years, starting in the Central Valley of California where many of our fosters come from. Since fostering in Oregon, I have been with OFOSA for about a year now. Many people who’ve been fostering dogs for as long as I have tend to have a much higher number. Mine is lower because I typically only foster dogs that need training or behavioral rehabilitation. Many of my fosters are with me for months while I work with them and get them ready for their forever homes. However, some of the dogs that cross my path, like Tony, do not need any training but simply need a place to be while they wait for their forever homes.
Tony is my most recent foster and he came to us from Korea. Tony was literally hanging outside of a Korean Meat Market and was cut down by an animal rescuer and sent to OFOSA’s rescue partner!
I wasn’t sure what to expect and did some research on the Korean Jindo breed. There are a lot of similarities between Jindos and Siberian Huskies (I have a husky that I adopted) and that helped me get a sense of what Tony’s needs are going to be. One of the reasons that dogs so often end up in shelters is because people fail to do their homework. They adopt a dog because it’s cute, not because it is a good fit for them and their lifestyle. A Korean Jindo is an active hunting breed and absolutely needs an outlet for their energy. Tony is no exception and I am fairly confident that he has not stopped moving since he got here.
When Tony first came to us over the weekend, he was fearful and reserved. He clearly did not know what to expect. However, the second that Tony met my husky, Arya, he ran off to play with her and has not stopped since. My personal dogs, Dexter and Arya, (both rescues) work just as hard with the fosters as I do. Dexter is a Jack Russell mix and has been a part of my pack since the beginning. He is the enforcer and the dominant dog; his role is to teach dogs the ropes and set boundaries, which he does well. Arya is the calmer, younger, more playful dog and she is skilled at breaking the ice with new dogs and getting them to play. She immediately helped Tony settle in and has been playing with him non-stop since. Tony mimicked Arya’s behavior and very quickly warmed up to all of us. House-training has come easily to him and he loves toys and affection.
Every dog we’ve had has their own process for adjustment. Tony is a true puppy and came in and acclimated to our home, dogs, and routine almost immediately. He will be ready for adoptions this weekend and will likely get a home quickly. Many of our fosters take much longer than that but we allow them however much time they need. Tony is one of the sweetest and most playful dogs that we’ve had. One of the things that I have observed in my fosters is they all seem to know they’ve been rescued. Watching Tony experience his first time in a yard, first trip to the park, first car rides out of transport kennels, was absolutely priceless. The enthusiasm he has for life is boundless and you can see the joy he has on his face every time he gets to do something new. Even though he came from farther away than other fosters I have had, the process has been the same. Each dog takes a little piece of your heart with them when they go. But seeing them happy in their forever homes makes it all worth it. Tony knows that he has a second chance at life, and he is going to make the most of it.