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Foster fail Friday, edition #7: BessieMae and Pheebie

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Foster fail: A term of endearment within the rescue community; the foster parent can’t imagine their lives without their foster animal, and adopt the animal themselves.

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Jennifer and Joey have been together for 23 years, and they are still as madly in love as they ever were. They do not have human children, and feeling that they had been given so many blessings over the years and wanting to pay it forward, decided that they wanted to begin fostering.

Jennifer was an avid fan of Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. She had adopted her dog Caralee from the organization, and had watched Caralee transform from a terrified dog that hid in a corner to a joyful, playful dog. Jennifer knew she wanted to foster for Angels Among Us and help other rescue dogs make this huge and meaningful transition.

On a fateful September day, a video of two Sheepdog mixes, a mother and daughter, made its way to Jennifer; it begged for a foster before they could be euthanized at the shelter. Jennifer pleaded to her husband Joey, wanting so desperately to save them. He told her that they could foster the two girls, but only for two weeks. Jennifer was over the moon; she let Angels Among Us know that she and Joey would foster. The two girls, BessieMae and her daughter Pheebie, went home with Jennifer and Joey.

Jennifer’s excitement would shortly turn into horror, however. As first time fosters, Jennifer and Joey faced one of the most terrifying experiences a foster could have: Pheebie slipped her leash during a walk, and bolted away. Eleven long days of agony ensued, with Angels Among Us volunteers searching endlessly for BessieMae’s missing daughter. Finally, Pheebie was found in one of the humane traps that had been placed, and was returned home. Her return provided utter relief to everyone – especially her concerned momma BessieMae. This incident, coupled with the fact that BessieMae had started intensive heartworm treatment, prompted Joey to agree to become the permanent foster parents of BessieMae and Pheebie.

Day after day, the couple watched as BessieMae and Pheebie became more and more a part of their family. Jennifer notes that the two Sheepdog mixes brought her adopted dog Caralee further out of her shell, which completely and utterly warmed her heart.

“All three were on the street and filthy, then in animal control, when Angels Among Us rescued them,” Jennifer says. “They are the reason we need fosters… these girls just want love! They are so thankful. I remember the night the temperature was going to drop to the single digits, and my heart ached for all the animals outside with no shelter from the cold. However, on that night, I looked down and saw my Pheebie and BessieMae, safe in our home, and I just wept. I told Joey in tears that it’s true, we can’t change the world or help all dogs; but for these, their world is forever changed. They will never be cold, hungry, or without shelter ever again.”

Months later, Jennifer made a very special and heartwarming announcement to the Angels Among Us community:

“This picture is not one you are use to seeing from me. Not the usual gorgeous blonde and fluffy black beauty. NO, this picture is way more important. I found this little matt behind BessieMae's left ear several months ago. I could not cut it. I would rub it between my fingers, and imagine their lives before us. Something so simple really impacted me. It made me realize why scratches on our original wood floors, and more miles than I know, have been put on my car – going to vet appointments, and driving the roads in search of a black beauty, that for 11 long days, eluded us (she slipped her leash and AAU fans helped us get her home.) Most especially, it reminded me why we had to say YES, when we were asked would we take two dogs? Would we please save them, having only an hour and a half to spare? Would we please FOSTER? And not too long ago, I determined that when I found the perfect home and family for the girls, I would cut this matt from behind her ear, symbolizing that their old life – where they were severely matted, filthy, and scavenging for every meal – that that life was over for good. We are very confident in our ability to find them a wonderful, happy, caring home and family, but what we got hung up on was, could we find anyone to love them more? The very simple answer to that is NO. As of this morning, BessieMae no longer has the little matt behind her ear, and Pheebie no longer wants to run away in fear, but instead, plop in your lap for cuddles – all 60lbs of her! Today, they both are having something added to their lives...because TODAY, they are officially getting the last name of Pruitt.”

Jennifer and Joey had foster failed, and it was a most joyous occasion.

When asked what rescue and fostering has taught her, Jennifer answered, “I think rescue and fostering has taught me that if I will open my heart and mind, and my home for fosters, and give a little bit of love, that in return you get a whole lot of love and appreciation from these babies. All we provide is food, shelter, and some time for cuddles and play in the yard. What we get back it unconditional love, accompanied by the most excitement one can imagine. To say they are grateful to be safe in your home is the understatement of mass proportion!” Jennifer continues, “I was told years ago before we ever rescued that a dog you save knows it. Daily, they find a way to express the gratitude for saving their lives... and I can now say: THAT is the truth! Fostering is such a small effort with such a huge reward. You are literally saving a life! There simply is nothing better...”

Don't you want to save a life, too? Apply to foster today at www.angelsrescue.org/foster.

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