By Leila Martinez-Melo
My name is Leila Martinez-Melo and I am in the sixth grade. My mom and I have been fostering dogs for five years. It has been such a rewarding process not only because you get to spend time with animals, but because you are saving a life.
I won’t lie, fostering animals has its ups and downs: my most recent foster would bark at everyone on the street whether it be a stray cat, dog or human. You could hear her bark from down the street. Over the four weeks that we fostered her she improved in several ways including fewer accidents in the house and being more relaxed and socialized. The wonderful couple who adopted her were aware of her stress, but were patient enough to teach her that she doesn’t have to bark at everyone.
Another foster we had about three years ago was terribly skittish and timid. He would hide in corners on his hind legs trying to hide from everyone. I was given the honor of naming him and I chose “Joey,” like a baby kangaroo, because of how he stood on his hind legs.
All of the dogs that I have personally worked with were fairly easy going and chill. That might not be the case for other dogs, but it really depends on where they are coming from. For instance, Cece would rip up her toys, her harness and leash. But fortunately, by the end of our time with her, she had quit her bad habit of chewing things up. We achieved this by crate training her and taking her out more frequently for walks.
Why we foster and why you should consider it, too:
* It’s a rewarding experience because you get to see a pet find its forever home.
* You are saving the life of an animal and opening up a space at the shelter, too.
Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) always needs more foster families. Shelter pets are happier staying in homes while they wait to be adopted. They relax, learn better manners, and become more adoptable. To apply to become a foster family for an animal that is currently a resident of FAAS, please call Nanou at (510) 337-8565.
Read more middle-school student essays on pets and other animals as part of the Kasey Brown Animals online learning experience.