Rhody Pets: The Joy of Fostering

Opening heart and home to dogs in need

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Looking to add unique accents of fluff to your sofa? Perhaps a sandy paw print or two to your designer rug? Fostering a pet can bring that most stylish of elements to your home: love! Katie and Jim Fusaro know a lot about both; not only do they own Wickford Village home store flatfish cottage, they also recently fostered a Yellow Lab named Annie and all ten of her puppies. Yes, ten!

“This experience touched my soul and pulled us closer together as a family,” shares Katie, who fostered with Cranston’s Heart of RI. “Life was pulling us in different directions but cuddling and playing with those babies and their mama had us prioritizing being together. They prompted so much laughter and wonder, just watching their pure joy at discovering each blade of grass or mist coming from a hose!”

Though the family is keeping puppy Abbie, Fusaro admits there was a lot of ugly crying saying goodbye to the others. “I truly loved each little personality but I know that opening our home gave them the start they needed, with lots of love and security.”

Heart of RI currently has 14 dogs, cats, and kittens in foster care. “We focus on nursing moms and under-socialized animals that need to learn how to be in a home,” explains executive director Tammy Gallo. “Breed and sizes run the gamut. We recently had two Chihuahuas and four Great Danes! Our 10-year-old Great Dane went to hospice care with a foster and though London passed away after three months, what a wonderful, loving, caring end of life she had!”

What advice would Gallo give first time fosters? “It’s a huge, scary commitment that you won’t regret; in fact you will want to do it again and again,” she enthuses. “You will be their hero!”

And what about the common concern of becoming a “foster fail?” Meaning taking in a dog on a temporary basis and bonding to the point that you can’t bear to be parted? “Fostering saves lives, especially with dogs that need a paw up. If you are happy to see the foster you nurtured go to their new adopted family, that leaves you available to foster again and save another life. If you choose to adopt, you get a new furry love of your life! Either way, you can’t lose!” Learn more about fostering at HeartofRI.org and visit Abbie and Katie at flatfish cottage, 12 Main Street, Wickford, Saturdays and Sundays from 10-5pm.

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