Unconditional Love: Why We Foster
The definition of unconditional love is to show complete affection with no limits or conditions. It is often said that the closest thing to pure, unconditional love on earth, is the love of a dog.
Pictured above: Foster mom Victoria and her foster Charlie Brown, who was adopted from TBR this January.
At Triangle Beagle Rescue of NC, we would have to agree. It is that very love that inspired us to begin a journey of rescuing beagles almost 18 years ago. Triangle Beagle Rescue of North Carolina (TriBeagles) was started in 1999 by Susan Hogarth and a group of Raleigh-Chapel Hill area beagle enthusiasts who wanted to see all homeless beagles in the lifetime homes they deserve. In 2000, TriBeagles formed a Board of Directors, becoming an 501(c)3 non-profit in the fall of that year.
Our goal at TriBeagles is simple: to find great, lifelong, loving homes for as many beagles as possible! That passion has resulted in placing over 2,000 beagles in their “furever” homes. TriBeagles is unique in its approach because we believe that any beagle that has ever been adopted from us is a TBR dog for life should they ever need to be returned. We also do not turn down dogs that are heartworm positive, which makes up of about 25% of our rescues.
TriBeagles is blessed with a group of incredible volunteers who serve in a variety of capacities. But the core of our rescue is fostering adoptable beagles waiting for their forever homes. We believe that a foster-home-based approach to dog rescue provides the individual attention that beagles need. It’s the human version of showing UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that beagles demonstrate by nature. TriBeagles receives requests to re-home beagles every day from caring people who have found a beagle, and overwhelmingly from shelters. Many of these dogs are labeled in shelters as “rescue only” often due to very treatable medical conditions. The reality is that many do not make it out of the shelter to live out their happily-ever-afters because we do not have enough foster homes for them.
A common reason people often give for not fostering a rescue dog is that they feel they would never be able to give the dog up to an adopter. The reality is that the sadness you feel from giving your foster dog to its new family can be offset by the fact that you can now help another beagle who needs you. The best way to show how much truth lies in this statement is by introducing a couple of amazing fosters so you see how rewarding giving unconditional love to a foster beagle can be.
Rebecca has been a dog rescuer and foster parent in North Carolina for sixteen years. She has helped over 500 dogs find forever homes. She is one of TBR’s go-to people when there is an abandoned, pregnant beagle or orphaned puppies in need rescue. Rebecca says the best part of fostering is watching them grow, become confident and find a great forever home.
Rebecca’s biggest piece of advice to others considering fostering is “You have to go into it emotionally ready and tell yourself no matter how hard it is to let go, you have to give them all the love you have and let them go when the family is right, even though it will hurt emotionally. When they are gone it is bittersweet. It is so rewarding to take a beagle from what is sometimes a horrible situation and you give them the chance of living a good life.”
In addition to long term volunteers, Triangle Beagle Rescue relies on new fosters such as Victoria who has been fostering for a year and a half. Recently, she had a memorable foster named Charlie Brown. Charlie and his pal Snoopy were found in a state of severe starvation and close to death.
Victoria says “the best part about fostering is it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Being able to take a dog like Charlie Brown, emaciated and scared, and watch them become healthy, playful pups full of spirit and love, is such a great feeling. Also knowing that an animal gets another chance at having a great life always makes me over the moon.”
For many dogs winding up in shelters, it becomes a choice between sending them to rescue or putting them down. In Charlie Brown's case, if TriBeagles and Victoria had not stepped forward the shelter would have had to euthanize him and Snoopy due to their condition. So quite literally, getting them into a rescue group and having a foster home available saved their lives. We have been lucky that most of the families that adopt our foster dogs keep in touch with us, so we're able to see what great lives they have after they leave their forever homes. Hearing from the adoptive family that their new dog is a treasured family member can be the most rewarding part of fostering.
Charlie Brown was adopted in January! Victoria agrees that the toughest part is giving them up.
"It’s a bittersweet part of fostering and always extremely emotional.” She says. “I get a little teary eyed every time they send me a picture because he seems so happy.”
Charlie's buddy, Snoopy was adopted by his foster family and is now living the dream!
Victoria’s biggest piece of advice to those interested in fostering a rescue dog is"just try it once and see how you like it."
She adds, “To know that if I hadn't stepped up to say 'yes, I can foster this dog' they would have been left behind in a sad, high-kill shelter to likely die or end up in another bad situation, that isn't something I can bear to think about. Given the alternative between death and being in a home that isn't mine, I choose the latter. I will always encourage people to foster, because despite the heartache when they go, there is really no greater joy than getting an update a few months down the line of them happily running through a yard with their tails wagging and ears flapping!”
If you would like to learn more about fostering opportunities or adoptable beagles contact TriBeagles at their website or on their Facebook page. Fostering is a wonderful way to introduce your family to full-time pet ownership if you are wondering what it is like but not ready to make a commitment.