Alison’s relationship with APA! began this past January when she began volunteering in the Feline Leukemia Adoption Center and Ringworm Adoption Center. Pursuing a pre-medical undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Alison is always looking for more ways to give back to the Austin community; which led her to helping vulnerable pets in need. Like many of our volunteers, it wasn’t long after she started volunteering that she found herself considering fostering.
After some easy convincing to get her roommates on board, she was sold, and decided to spend her spring break caring for her first foster pup. This experience went absolutely beautifully, and she soon found herself ready to foster her second dog, Scooby.
But, Scooby isn’t just any dog. He has tail-chasing syndrome, which causes some unique behavior and medical quirks. Alison didn’t plan on taking home a pup with these quirks so early on, but the foster pleas for him kept coming and she could no longer ignore his sweet face. So despite her worries, she figured she could at least spend a couple weeks with him and then go from there.
A few weeks has quickly turned into over a month and a half, and Scooby and Alison have found their groove. Anytime you bring home a foster pup that has specialized medical and behavior needs, it can feel overwhelming. Alison recalls being so scared that first night, worrying about giving Scooby the right medications: “My biggest worry was that Scooby wouldn’t be able to sleep through the night without having an episode, which entails some barking and growling. But when I woke up the next morning, well rested and relieved, I knew that I could do this. By the next day, I was leaving him alone to go to class, and he was unbothered by the thunderstorms!”
Alison has truly been a savior for Scooby. Since being in a home environment, he’s gained tremendous confidence and strength. Even though he’ll have to deal with this tail-chasing syndrome for the rest of his life, it no longer impedes on his daily activities; he’s even put on 20 pounds and looks so much healthier!
Alison says the best part is that he’s been the same happy soul since the moment she brought him home. One of her favorite moments with Scooby was when he was wearing his cone and she captured his face full of pure bliss: “He was absolutely unfazed by the cone of shame, just enjoying the life he was given. I smile everytime I look at or remember this moment. Nothing special was happening. We were simply doing homework outside, but to him it’s everything he could’ve asked for.”
For Scooby, being in a foster home has made all the difference. It’s hard to say where he’d be now if he was residing in the shelter; but rather than being in a stressful environment making him more prone to attacking his tail, he’s at peace with Alison. Sometimes all you can give a pet in need is a place to relax while they await their forever home, but that’s enough and more.
“Not only does fostering a dog help that specific animal, but [it] also opens up a space in the shelter to bring in another pup that’s at risk of euthanasia. It may seem small individually, but when you add up the supplies amongst all the fosters, it relieves the shelter of a large financial burden to provide all these dogs with food and enrichment,” says Alison, whose statement on the importance of fostering cuts right to the immense impact it makes not only on the animals in foster, but on the shelter itself. “It also provides adopters with so much more information about the animal’s behaviors and attributes so they can be better matched and more seamlessly transitioned into their forever home.” Scooby is still looking for his forever home. Visit his bio to learn more about this adorable pup!
Fostering can change the world of sheltering as we know it. It’s been essential to Austin maintaining its unprecedented No Kill status, and will continue to be the backbone of our pets’ success. If you’re interested in becoming a foster, learn more here. Thank you to all that help save pups like Scooby!