About The Foster Zoo

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We have decided to blog our adventures again. So much has changed since we last blogged. Bella and Shiloh both went to their forever homes and they are in wonderful families. June Bug got adopted. We quit fostering dogs after those adoptions because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. We quit doing therapy dog work because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. Tanker passed away June 9th, 2013. We adopted a senior border collie named Shania Tankerbelle in his memory. We still have our two cats, Sweet Pea and Little Bit. Wes has started rescuing pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart and we currently have seven. We have a camper. We camp. We have focused on giving our animals the best lives possible. We are The Foster Zoo Crew and we like to have fun.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Spreading God's Love through Dog's Paws

Wow!  What a busy weekend we had!  Wes and I are both exhausted, but we are filled with love from God above and the spirits of others.  We could not be more fulfilled than we are when helping those in need.  Giving our time to see another person smile, or to save a life, is what keeps us going.  Feed your soul with good things and you will reap the benefits the rest of your life.

No one has ever become poor by giving.  -Anne Frank

In doing your best serving others for free, a lot of eyebrows will raise and sneers will curve many a-faces. But in the end those incredulous to what you put up with to help, no longer matter. It's not between you and those snobs, but with whom you have given your hand to lift, and of course to God who Is watching and noting it in your book.  -Mother Theresa

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.  ~Elizabeth Andrew

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ...  -James 2:14-24

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”               -John 13:34-35

If you know me, you know I come from a long list of volunteers.  My family has been involved in charity work for as long as I can remember.  My grandmother, grandfather, and parents were involved in a lot of volunteer work in Florida.  My parents have been involved in animal rescue in Georgia.  My dad used to fly sick patients for free through Angel Flight.  My brother used to run a Car Care Ministry where he donated his time and money towards helping others in financial need with car repairs.  My parents used to volunteer at a soup kitchen.  I volunteered at the Humane Society walking dogs when I was in elementary school and helped with adoptions in middle school.  I volunteered hundreds of hours at the hospital in high school.  My family is not new to the world of helping others.  In fact, it is so ingrained in me that I feel any minute sitting around is time wasted for others.  It is just a way of life for us.

Wes and I became involved in therapy dog work after Blondie passed away last year.  I always wanted to use Tanker as a therapy dog, especially for special need children.  Tanker has a disability.  Who is better to show a kid that you can be happy and live life well with a disability than a dog?  Blondie did not have the temperament to be a therapy dog.  She was an excellent dog, but not a therapy dog.  I never had Tanker tested when she was alive because I felt bad taking him places and leaving Blondie at home.  Blondie passed away unexpectedly when I was in Georgia taking care of my grandmother at the end of her life.  Tanker got depressed, so I looked to adopt a new dog for him within a few days.  I looked for a dog with qualities that would make a good therapy dog.  I found Topher at Georgia Humane Society through Petfinder.com.  He could not have been more perfect for us.  We bonded instantly and he and Tanker became good friends from the get go.  We trained and trained until six months later when we were evaluated to become therapy dog teams through Delta Society and we passed!  Our adventures of spreading God's love through dog's paws started then.


Topher and Tanker in my parents' backyard right after we adopted Topher.  Happy boys!



One of the therapy dog programs we are involved in through Blue Gray Therapy Dogs is the Paws for Reading Program in the schools and library.  I have written about this program before.  It is designed to help children gain confidence and a love for reading by allowing them to read out loud to a trained READ Dog.  READ Dogs are trained to lay their heads in kids' laps, be attentive to the book, sometimes touch their noses or paws to the books so it appears as if they are looking at pictures and comprehending the story.  Kids love it!  Because kids are out of school for summer break, the program is held in the county libraries.  Children sign up in advance for slots to read to the dogs every month.  It is such a neat program and the kids get really excited to read!  The dogs enjoy it too.  On Saturday, Topher and Tanker volunteered as READ Dogs at the Porter Library in Stafford.


Riding in the car on my way to work.


We are here early, so we are waiting patiently for our little readers to arrive.

 
Posing with my bookmark while waiting for my first reader.

 
This is the bookmark that the library makes for me to hand out to kids.



Watching my brother and dad make a difference in the life of a child.



Tanker is being read to.  Some kids don't want us next to them or in their laps, so we lay in front of them and listen.  We wait for Mom and Dad to give us commands to interact with the kids.


We really enjoy helping children improve their reading skills.  Topher and Tanker enjoy interacting with the kids.  The librarian always gives the dogs bones after the read session.  The dogs are very popular! 


 Will work for bones.  Yum!


Exhausted after a long day of work.





After volunteering at the library on Saturday morning, we dropped Topher and Tanker off at home and took Bella and Shiloh out to play. 






At 3:00, we went to pick up three puppies that had been rescued from a shelter in North Carolina and were being transported to New York.  We picked them up in Stafford.



 
Jake


                                                             Hunter


                                                                Bear



Jake, Hunter, and Bear spent the night with us.  They were so much fun!















Sunday morning, we woke up very early and drove them to Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland where a volunteer pilot from Pilots n Paws flew them to New York.  The pilot was transporting nine rescue dogs that day.















At the end of the day, we were exhausted again.  We came home and Wes had to work on a paper for school.  He is doing excellent in school with a 97% average.  We spent some time with our other zoo members and then went to bed.  This weekend filled our souls with love and our hearts with joy.  Life is good in the Foster Zoo!










Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.  -James M. Barrie

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. -Albert Einstein





2 comments:

  1. You are both such awesome humans! I'm so happy Topher found you and became a part of your family. I truly believe he was sent to you so he could live up to his true potential. He loves giving back as much as the rest of the family. :)

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  2. Thank you, Michelle! Topher is the perfect dog for us! He and I read each other so well, so we work well together. Like most cattle dogs, he is stuck to me like velcro and is my little partner in life. That makes for a great working team! Most importantly, I trust him with Tanker. He is very caring towards Tanker.

    -Lindsay

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