It All Started with Nine Dogs in April 2009

I had been wanting to foster dogs for a while but had not found an organization yet. I tried few times before but each time I was turned down because I had a dog who was not spayed – Emma my little bitty 4lb Yorkie. She was never around unfixed male dogs so I didn’t want this little thing to go through any surgery. If she were bigger, wanted to play with other dogs, or liked being outside then I probably should have, but she was a very sheltered dog. I don’t think she even knew she was a dog (she acted more like one of my cats).

I know it’s probably a big no no for dog shelters to let someone with an unfixed dog foster one of their own. It goes against what they believe in so I understand why other shelters turned me down. Luckily, Austin Pets Alive! understood my situation and was able to work with me. When I went through the application process with APA! they called my references and came to my home to make sure it was suitable for the future foster dogs.

Once I was listed as a dog foster, I was ready to pick a dog to love! At APA! we use Yahoo! groups to match dogs to fosters.  First, APA! posts a plea message on their bulletin board for dogs who need to get out of the kill shelters around town.  Then, fosters volunteer to take the dog on a first come, first served basis. Back in 2009, APA! did not have a building for any of these dogs go to, so it was up to the fosters to take in the dogs and get them off the euthanasia list.

My first foster was Ella and her 8 new born puppies. Since I was first to pick them up from the shelter (where they were on the euthanasia list), I was able to name them. The mom was named Ella. The eight puppies were named Emma Jr., Austin, Dallas, Dottie, Jack, Jill, Ava, and Houston. I had the puppies until they were about 8 – 9 weeks old and I had Ella until July. Puppies went quick. It only took about a week for them to be adopted. It took couple of months for Ella.

They were probably not the best option for my first fostering experience and it was a lot of work (A lot of poop. A lot of feeding.) but I don’t regret it at all. Ella made it easier by being such a good Mom to her pups.  When the puppies grew up more and could walk, they would all come running towards me. That is joy that just cannot be explained. I still miss them all and think of them.


  • Jennifer

    MJ, we are the ones who adopted Ella!! Would love to get in touch with you to send you some recent pictures of her!

  • DogFosters

    Hi, Jennifer!! I’m so glad to hear from you! I’ve always wondered how Ella was doing. I really enjoyed taking care of her . She got adopted suddenly so I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. She was such a good dog and I still miss her. I will email you. I would love to hear about her life now. Thank you!