It was during this time I discovered Homeward Bound and knew I had found my little part in the great scheme of helping these worthy animals. Mississippi is overwhelmed with homeless dogs so this program was established to foster and prepare dogs for adoption in the Northern states. Kirby and I now keep one foster dog at a time. It's turned out to be a win-win situation. We save a dog which opens a space to save another dog. Truth be told it's really Kirby and I who are the lucky ones because these fosters are changing our lives one dog at a time.
Kirby has easily stepped into the role of therapy dog. He teaches them how to play again and the proper behaviors they need to learn. They watch him picking up on his cues and reactions. Kirby has a balanced demeanor which means he reacts well to change taking everything in stride and is virtually fearless. His positive attitude gives them a positive attitude. A good example would be when we experienced our first thunderstorm with Gracie, our current foster. She was terrified of the thunder crying and trying to hide. When the second storm came rolling through she barely acknowledged it. She would stay close to me or Kirby but remained calm only looking at him each time it thundered. She was learning to gauge her reaction based on his reaction.
The one negative reaction Kirby has is with boxers in general since he was bitten by one last year. Our fosters seem to be helping him move past that learned aggression. We have noticed a steady improvement each time he has gone to the local dog park. He has always loved to play with the large dogs but would become aggressive every time he encountered any boxer. It got to where we would either leave if one showed up or not even stop if any were already there. On our last trip someone brought a boxer, and before we could get to Kirby, he walked right up to the boxer without a single growl. They sniffed each other and then went their separate way. We consider this a huge milestone thanks to our fosters who are helping him just as much as he is helping them.
What do I get out of these endeavors? I feel a little better knowing I'm doing something even if it is only one dog at a time. Not to mention I actually get more done while Kirby and his foster friend entertain each other.
November 4th - 6th, 2010
Our weekend test run girl to see if we could be a foster family. I was told she may never travel North because she is a Pitt mix. However, she will always be safe with a foster family until she finds her forever family.