Fostering Hope – Cover Story

 

Published in the PATIO issue
/ Written by Lea Guedin / Photos by Woof Creative Photography

See Hope’s full photoshoot!

Becoming a foster mom to Hope saved my life, as much as it did hers. She came to me at a time when I needed her more than she needed me. After a traumatic accident at work, I was horribly depressed, not getting out of bed, not getting out of the house, not doing the things that normally brought me happiness. I felt very alone.

One Sunday afternoon, I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across a post from Fur Sisters about becoming a foster parent. I was feeling incredibly depressed that day, and deep down I knew fostering a dog was exactly what I needed. I’d fostered a few years before through a different organization, and when I tried to foster through them again, I was unable to be connected with a dog for over two years and I’d gotten frustrated. I got a call from Fur Sisters the day after filling out my foster application, and I was thrilled the process was moving along so quickly—I needed it to. I could tell by the way Channing from Fur Sisters spoke to me during our call that her heart was completely dedicated to rescuing dogs, and that I wanted to foster a dog with the Fur Sisters organization.

Channing texted me a few pictures of other dogs, but when I saw Hope’s picture I completely melted. I knew she was the dog I wanted to take care of. She looked like a tiny, sick grey hippopotamus who desperately needed a safe and loving home. I knew agreeing to become her foster mom was going to be risky, as Hope had suffered through an abusive situation and she only had a 50/50 chance of survival.
She’d been found abandoned—with a tumor the size of a baseball—at the dead-end of a road. It was obvious her previous owner had been using her for backyard breeding, and had attempted to give her a hack c-section without the proper medication or tools. The c-section wound didn’t heal properly, and it started pushing Hope’s intestines outside of her body, which caused a large tumor to form on her lower stomach, putting Hope’s health in great danger. Hope’s case was so severe she needed to go into surgery immediately if she was going to live. Channing reassured me that Fur Sisters would give me everything I needed to care for Hope, and they’d would be there to support us every step of the way.

I agreed that if Hope made it out of surgery I’d be her foster mama and see her through the recovery and through heartworm treatment. This was the absolute best decision I could’ve made. The way Hope accepted my help with so much love after all the abuse she’d endured was so inspiring to me. On so many occasions I thought, If Hope can make it through her trauma then I can make it through mine.

Becoming Hope’s foster mom has given me so much purpose, responsibility, and most of all, unconditional love. She’s brought me back to life and reconnected me to the simple things that matter—like kindness and love. I know that we were sent to each other for a reason.

Taking care of her hasn’t always been easy, but I love Hope so much, and seeing her recovery has been deeply rewarding. The days following surgery, Hope’s health was touch and go, and there were times I didn’t know if she was going to make it through the night. But, after a couple weeks of recovering and lots of love, Hope is now playing, cuddling, and sometimes so full of energy I can barely keep up with her! She will start her heartworm treatment soon, and once again I’m praying this miraculous little dog to make it through another challenge. She has so much love and support around her, I just hope she makes it through so she can live in a forever home where she is truly loved and appreciated!

Fur Sisters and Bluestar hospital have been so supportive of us and given Hope and I everything we need to make her recovery possible. They’ve delivered kennels, sheets, toys, food, and medicine to my door and I have never felt alone in this journey. If you are thinking about fostering a dog I would encourage you to contact Fur Sisters because there are so many other dogs—most of which have no medical issues—who need to be loved and protected. I am beyond grateful for my little Hippo. She’s everything I could have wanted in a companion and I am honored to be her foster mom! •

When you foster for Fur Sisters, everything is taken care of! Fill out the application today:
fursisters.org/foster

A Gift Of The Heart

A Gift of the Heart / Jessica Caplette
As seen in Unleash Jacksonville / No. 24 HEART Issue

“There will always be that dog that no dog will replace, that dog that will make you cry even when it’s been gone more years than it could have ever lived.”

(MD ‘The gift of a great dog’)

I cried when asked to write a story for the HEART issue of Unleash Jacksonville. Just the mention of a heart dog was enough to flood my face with tears (in public…again). I lost my heart dog after a two-year fight with lymphoma.

But this story is about beginnings…

Remi was a black dog who wasn’t doing well in a rural shelter. Fur Sisters stepped up and gave her the break she needed. She had two failed fosters and was back in boarding needing a savior. So why not me?

Remi was on kitchen counters, sailing over couches, digging, chasing cars, jumping on people and scaring the crap out of anyone on a bicycle. She was a disaster! There was no way anyone was going to adopt her! Luke hadn’t been home all week, but Thursday night he got to experience our new foster first-hand. That night he slept on the couch with her and Remi was immediately smitten.

We sent our unruly foster to training the next day at Jet Set Pets. She came home a few weeks later a manageable dog! Luke worked with her every day for a few more weeks and Remi was finally ready for her first adoption event!

I vividly remember watching Luke take her into the yard at Brewhound and her looking at him like he was the only one in the park. With the grin on his face, I knew he found his heart dog. When we left that night, he asked if we could talk about keeping Remi. My heart was still shattered from losing Max, I wasn’t ready for a new family member.

A week later Remi was headed back down to Brewhound for a meeting with potential adopters. Luke was furious that I wouldn’t even discuss keeping Remi and I was forcing him to participate. “It’s not fair that you’re going to deny me experiencing with Remi what you had with Max!” Words true enough I had to choke back tears. I don’t think anyone should be denied the privileged experience of a heart dog.

We arrived and Kelly from Fur Sisters asked Luke to fill out some information on Remi that might help the adopters. He took the pen, likely cussing me out under his breath, and started to read the questions:

1. Would you love Remi forever?
He shot me a dirty look.

2. We hope you answered yes because she is yours forever!

Tears welled up in his eyes as confusion became understanding that this “adoption meet and greet” was all for him. Remi knew, because in that moment she jumped on him frantically kissing him…and wouldn’t you know it but there just so happened to be a photographer handy (thank you Layla Neal)!

I love dogs. I’ve loved all my dogs deeply. But I think you only get one heart dog. And I’m so grateful that Luke found his. •

Hambingo With Fur Sisters

Bingo for a great cause!! Join us for a fun night out to help raise money for the many dogs we have saved recently. Vet bills add up quickly and we can’t continue to take in more dogs without the help and support of our community. Bingo cards are $10 (that’s 10 games) and all proceeds come back to Fur Sisters! We will have some great prizes for the winners! Mark your calendars and #giveback to the Furbabies! Make your reservations early and we will see you there!

My Kylo – It hurt my heart to let him go

My Heart Dog / Laurie Fowler
As seen in Unleash Jacksonville / No. 24 HEART Issue

Kylo

We were fostering three 7-to-8 week-old puppies for Fur Sisters Furever Urs Rescue for several weeks—two little girls and one boy who were taken from a bad situation. I was personally going through an extremely difficult time and fostering, along with my own pups, just helped ease the pain. The girls were quite hyper and would pick on the little boy. He just wanted to cuddle and be next to someone and usually that was me. He (Kylo) became a huge comfort for me. He helped me through many hard days.

Fast forward a few weeks … we’d pre-planned a vacation so another volunteer was going to take over fostering the puppies. I helped to get the girls get settled, but I just couldn’t bring myself to hand Kylo over, so I had my husband do it as I went to sit in the car crying. We’d fostered before and, although you love them all, you’re happy for them and their new lives. This time—with him—all I wanted was for his new life to be with us. But I knew my husband didn’t want three dogs. I was just so connected to him, it hurt my heart to let him go. The exchange was over and our drive home was rather quiet, minus the sniffles from my crying.

The whole time on vacation, and even when we got back home, I just felt lost.

Two days after our return, I was having a particularly bad day, and it just so happened that my husband told me that he had a meeting and would be coming home late. That just sent me deeper over the edge.

I was laying in bed when he got home. I didn’t turn around to acknowledge him, and before he said anything I felt the familiar sensation of excited little feet on the bed. I turned around to see the beautiful little puppy face I missed so much running up to me, ready for snuggles and kisses! Needless to say I burst into tears! Once composed, I asked my husband what made him bring him home and he said, “It was more important that you had him, then me not wanting a third dog.” He had planned the day after our return from vacation to pick him up after we got back. 🙂

Photos by Woof Creative Photography. See Kylo’s entire gallery!

Ruff Hour at Cruisers Grille

Join us for Ruff Hour! 25% of all sales (food & drinks) will be donated to Fur Sisters to help us save more Furbabies. They have a fantastic Dog Friendly patio – so bring your leashed, well-behaved pup and they get a FREE Puppachino! Eat. Drink. Be Happy.. GIVE BACK! See you there!

Blood. Sweat. Tears.

 

Reprinted from the Unleash Jacksonville Brilliant Issue.

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When you see someone fully embracing their passion—and growing in it—BOOM! It’s pretty darn inspiring, right? Kelly Kinlaw of Fur Sisters has been dedicated to saving dogs from high-kill shelters for many years and always wanted to be able to do more. Save more. Last July, Kelly realized her dream when Fur Sisters opened a 750 square-foot transitional space for dogs coming from urgent situations. In this space, dogs can decompress while waiting for a foster or adopter. This time allowed to transition is so important, because dogs are often too stressed in shelters to show their true personality and they get overlooked time after time. In the week or so that dogs stay at Fur Sisters, they can relax in this calm space while listening to music, enjoying some aromatherapy, and getting lots of treats. They are also tested with cats and other dogs during this time to see what kind of home would be best for them.

Here is where we need to stress that the new space IS NOT an adoption center (although that is one of Kelly’s ultimate goals), and it IS NOT a drop off for found or unwanted animals. But, while it’s true the new space is not an adoption center and you can’t just drop in any ‘ol time, there are always some very amazing dogs hanging out and you may make an appointment to meet them!

Fur Sisters mainly pulls from Putnam, Bradford and Clay county shelters, as these shelters are constantly overcrowded and, unfortunately, euthanize for space. They’ve also taken in some sweet pups from emergency situations, like Norman, who was thrown out of a moving car on Normandy Boulevard, and Angel, who was found in a Walmart Parking lot, completely starved, and the bottom half of her stained yellow and brown—you can figure out from what. You may also have seen Fur Sisters on the news when they helped Louis, a homeless man living in the woods taking care of a pack of dogs. Louis was taking as best of care as he could of the dogs he loved—they were being treated better than he treated himself. Fur Sisters stepped in to help the dogs and are also continuing to help Louis.

Here’s some exciting news for those of you who are looking for a great hair cut and want to meet some dogs at the same time! Kelly has moved her “day job” to be in the same building, so that she can be more efficient in both her rescue work and her making-people-look-gorgeous work. Cuts by Kelly moved to the front of the Fur Sisters space in Jax Beach in September of 2017. Go get your human hairs cut!

The new Fur Sisters location is a fantastic asset to our beach community. If you’d like to become involved (and become a “Fur Angel,” as helpers call themselves), Kelly says they’re always looking for people to help walk and socialize dogs, especially on the weekends. You could take a dog for a beach romp! They also always have a need for chew bones, dry dog food, monetary donations, and fosters—most crucial to save more lives!

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Donation items can be dropped off Tuesday through Friday 10-4 or email fureverursrescue@gmail.com to coordinate a time, offer volunteer time, or set an appointment to meet some amazing pups!

Fur sisters currently has several dogs they’ve pulled from high-kill shelters in boarding and the bills are piling up. Kindly Donate to Fur Sisters on #GivingTuesday or offer to foster!

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Hops for Hounds

Join ABBC and the FUR SISTERS as we  do a Down Dog the second Wednesday of each month this summer beginning 6:30pm at ABBC (June 13th, July 11th and August 8th).

Your $15 donation gives you a fab yoga class, one free pint of ABBC craft beer or one glass of Hogue wine as well as a chance for ABBC swag! Bring your mat and get ready to stretch. All proceeds benefit FUR SISTERS of Jax Beach!