Fostering a Dog- Is it for You? A Q & A.

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Fostering dogs and cats is a great way to help save a sweet, deserving life, but can seem daunting for those who have never been through the journey. One of our pet sitting clients fosters Boxers, in addition to having a wonderful furry family (we pet sit for little Bianca, their beautiful white Boxer in the photo). The Vargas’s recently welcomed one of their foster dogs, Jeter, as a permanent member of their family. Elizabeth was happy to answer questions about her experience fostering dogs for the Coastal Boxer Rescue of Florida. We hope her account convinces you to open up your heart and home to the many dogs and cats in need of help!

Why did you start fostering, and why Boxers?

I posed this question to a friend when I first decided to foster. When I asked her opinion, she said, “if you have room in your heart and your home, go for it.”  I had both of those things, so my decision was easy.  I became Facebook friends with a local organization called Coastal Boxer Rescue, and it was amazing to see a community come together to help these beautiful dogs.  It called to me, and I knew that I had to help.

I decided to foster Boxers because they are a very special breed to me.   The first big dog that came into my family was when I was a teenager.  My sister and her now husband bought a Boxer puppy that they named Bianca.  She was a very special dog. When they started a family together, Bianca was always so gentle and loving with the children.  I always knew that a Boxer would be the dog that my husband and I would get when we had a family of our own because of their playful and gentle disposition.  We now have three girls and a white Boxer who we also named Bianca in her memory.

How did you sign up for fostering?

The organization that I foster with is very responsible and thorough.  I filled out an application on their website and a volunteer representative from the organization came to my home to meet our family.  She also toured our home and our property to ensure that it was a good environment for a foster animal.

What was the most surprising thing you learned from fostering dogs?

I was afraid that I would adopt every dog that I brought into the house.  I thought that I would feel guilty giving the dog up to its forever home.  I realized that my role was not to be every animal’s savior.  I was needed to save them from shelter life and bridge the gap until they found a home.  However, sometimes you find that there is that one foster dog that was meant to be yours all along. For us, that was our newly adopted foster dog Jeter.

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How did your life change with fostering?

My children are so proud of what we do.  Being compassionate is such an important quality, and I am so glad that we are teaching our children this very important trait.  Catching up on how your foster dog is doing is very rewarding also.

What are some tips for fostering that would benefit first-time fosters?

You have to be flexible and must understand that some dogs have manners and some dogs do not.  You have to be gentle and loving. When you are, they will surprise you. Most importantly, don’t ever give up on them.  Challenge yourself to help him/her succeed.  You will feel even more rewarded for your efforts.

Do you recommend that people start fostering?

YES, YES, YES! There are so many animals out there that need a home.  Giving a dog or a cat the chance to live a good life is the best feeling in the world.  Find out what works for you. Maybe it’s a small dog or a cat with a litter of kittens.  Everyone can make the difference in the life of an animal in need.  It just takes a little bit of personal sacrifice and lots of love and affection.

We are grateful for such a beautiful, honest, and informative response from our friend Elizabeth, and we hope her experience inspires you to foster your own dog or cat. There is a wealth of information on local rescues who need help fostering. We have fostered for the Dachshund Rescue of South Florida, for example, and we too are “foster failures,” but we have helped re-home many more. We also recommend a few Miami cat rescues. Please call us with any questions or if you’d like personalized advice on fostering.

Five Easy Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Dogs and Cats!

pet sitters cat dog

Five Easy Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Dogs and Cats!

Valentine’s Day romance aside, your pet sitters know that what’s really most important to any pet parent is how to include their pets in fun holidays like these! We have found a few creative and pet-friendly ideas to make your pet’s Valentine’s Day special. Whether you’re staying in together, or leaving these gifts for us to give them while pet sitting them, we hope you enjoy!

dog accessoriesFashionable Felines, Dapper Dogs: Dogs and cats like to look fabulous for their selfies. Head over to Etsy.com for beautiful, handmade dog and kitty accessories to up any pet’s selfie game! We love this pink sweetheart bow tie for dogs, which comes in sizes XXS to XL. Your pup’s collar will slip through the bow’s thick elastic backing, making it easy to put on or remove.These cute ties are handmade by LittleDartDesigns for Furever Friends, which donates part of its profits to dog rescues. We can’t wait to see Boots in one of them!

Etsy dog accessoriesCute Collars. Which dog doesn’t love a new collar? Ours seem to know when they’re getting a pretty new one, and strut around the house feeling fancy. We love the sweet “Be Mine” collars from RogueCollar, which can be customized to your requirements. You can search all of Etsy.com for just the right handcrafted accessory, in just the right color for Valentine’s Day. Be careful; this site is almost as addicting as Pinterest, with all of its beautiful offerings and fun ideas!

Kitties love gifts, too. We adore these organic Catnip Strawberries! Another beautiful handmade item found on Etsy, the exterior of these chocolate-covered strawberries is fleece, and they are filled with organic catnip grown in the U.S. They come in packs of three and are so cute, we want to order them for our home (even though we don’t have cats)!

Healthy Valentine’s Day Dog and Cat Treats

Leashes and catnip are great, but the quickest way to most dogs’ and cats’ hearts is through their stomachs! We traveled the Internet to find the best cat and dog treat recipes, and have found our two favorite Valentine’s Day treats for dogs and cats. These treats are the perfect supplement to your pets’ diets. A little goes a long way!

Cranberry-Valentine-Dog-Treat-Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart-Shaped Cranberry Cookies: Dogs will enjoy these crunchy, heart-shaped cookies, which are packed with healthy cranberries and coconut oil.  We found the perfect recipe from PrettyFluffy.com. You’ll need the following to make them:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

Click here for the rest of the recipe.

Joy the Baker

Image: Joy Wilson

Valentine’s Day Treats for Cats: Yes, you can make your cats their very own Valentine treats as well! Short on time? Bring home a pretty, pink watermelon and cut out heart-shaped pieces for a holiday-themed snack most kitties love. Is your cat a fish-aficionado? Then these tuna and catnip treats will make him go wild. You’ll need:

  • 1 (5 ounce) can tuna, no salt added and packed in water, drained
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp dried catnip

Read on for the recipe from Joybakes.com.

We hope we’ve started the proverbial ball rolling in your household. Did you already plan a special treat or gift for your pets on Valentine’s Day? Share with our readers, or post your photos on our Facebook page!

Moving to Miami with Your Dog?

dog walker

Moving to Miami with Dogs? Things to think about.

Our wonderful Coral Gables pet sitter, Sara, recently relocated to Miami with her dogs from New Jersey (lucky us!). She is a wonderful addition to our team, always ready to help, and our pet clients love her. True to form, Sara wanted to share her story about her experience and tips for long distance trips with her pups and boyfriend in order to help those making similar moves. We hope it helps!

“When I first moved to Miami from the suburbs of New Jersey, I had some serious concerns. What would it be like to integrate into a totally new culture, influenced heavily by Latin America? What if I met someone who didn’t speak any English? How would I find work? Most importantly, how would my two dogs feel about such a drastic change of scenery?! Then I joined the Equipaws team and discovered that, like me, a lot of my coworkers and clients also made the move to Miami for work, family or a significant other. Whatever brought us to this tropical melting pot, we are all living here now, and so are our pets.

As a pet owner, there are always lots of additional things that require your consideration when moving to a new place. What sort of dangers might a pet face in a sprawling metropolis that is constantly struggling to grow as fast as its population? How does a furry friend fair in the intense summer heat? What sort of tropical organisms might pose a threat? There was so much to be curious about, and even more that my family and friends wanted to know.

Concerns I had about my dogs.

I often walked my dogs off leash in NJ as I lived in a quiet neighborhood with little traffic. I knew that would have to change in busy Miami. Both of my dogs had been on leashes before but weren’t accustomed to their everyday use. I made sure to start getting them acclimated right away. It took several days, many treats, and LOTS of praise before they were both completely comfortable but now it’s second nature. It is very important to be able to control your pet with so much going on in the streets.

Florida wildlife was something that also concerned me. North Eastern America is home to a handful of predators that can be harmful to pets (especially chihuahuas!) but Miami has a distinctly different set of dangers. Snakes, certain insects, alligators, Bufo Toads, plants, and even the poisons that humans use to control pest populations can all present potential hazards.

The sweltering Miami heat also poses a threat to many pets. Some breeds of dog, like my chihuahuas, thrive in the heat. Other species are not accustomed to such extreme temperatures and can quickly overheat. It’s important to carefully monitor your animal, especially when they’re out on hot summer days. Always make sure they are properly hydrated and NEVER leave them in a hot car for any period of time! Also try to be aware of how hot asphalt can become in the sun; our shoes protect our feet seamlessly but our pad-pawed-pals are not so lucky!

Making the move to Miami

Driving 1300 miles with two dogs and two humans presented a huge challenge in itself. Once we made it to Miami, though, my pets and I adjusted pretty quickly (the beautiful weather helped a lot). To help make your experience as seamless I recommend doing research online to find pet stores and dog parks in the area. It also helps to speak with local pet owners to find a vet that you and your pets agree on, along with an animal hospital in case of emergency. Also be on the lookout for the numerous pet-related events that happen around Miami. There is always something fun happening here, even for our four legged friends!

Equipaws has helped me immensely in my adjustment to living in Miami, both as a pet owner and a petsitter. I have learned a lot from my co-workers and they have even taken care of my fur babies for me when I had to leave town. It is so beneficial to be able to rely on such a great network of pet care professionals and so rewarding to know that I am able to serve my community through them! I’m hopeful that if you make the move to south Florida you will find these tips useful, and even more hopeful that you will choose Equipaws if you ever need a reliable, professional pet sitter!”