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Front Porch: Pet fostering a worthwhile undertaking

In November, my husband and I became foster parents.

After a weekend trip to Seattle, the 11-year-old brothers came home with us. Since then, our monthly food bill has doubled, the toy basket has grown exponentially with not only stuffed animals but tiny, squeaky tennis balls, we’ve had mishaps and minor setbacks but all in all it’s been a smooth transition as the two await a forever home.

Dante and Keats, aka The Literary Duo, are Italian greyhound foster pups. Their owners were ill, which brought them into the Italian Greyhound Rescue Northwest program (, where they were cared for by a Seattle foster family until they came across the mountains to Spokane in hopes that a forever home could be found here.

Years ago we fostered retired racing greyhounds. We know the ropes, the hopes and the pitfalls of fostering. The steepest pitfall is when you convince yourself there’s no one in the world who can care for and love this perfect pooch better than you. It’s a hard pitfall to crawl out of, but eventually you do.

As with all beings, Dante and Keats come with baggage: They’re older, making them difficult to place; they come as a package deal … after all, they are The Literary Duo; Keats has only one tooth remaining (his food bowl would beg to differ) and Dante is on lifelong medication for seizures. But these baggage claims are minuscule when viewed through another prism.

Older dogs know their manners – the bouncy, chewy, “OK, who did that?” days are pretty much over. Two is a blessing. Canines, by virtue of wolf DNA, are pack animals. They do better in groups. No teeth? Doesn’t faze them. Taking medication? That’s why wet food and hot dogs were created.

Shortly after the duo arrived, the local adoption representative took care of them while we went on vacation over Thanksgiving. In the midst of doctor appointments and tests, she also evaluated their personalities; a potential forever home was in the offing but the fit just wasn’t right. Surgery has sidelined her efforts in finding the boys a home for now … and that’s fine.

Dante and Keats are funny, playful and affectionate. They’ve definitely tugged on the same heartstrings Sam and Lucky, our own Italian greyhounds, lassoed years ago. We’ve learned, however, that two is our limit – emotionally and financially. But there’s always room for a foster, and as long we stick to our “two dog” guns, we’ll be fine.

The gist of this story is simple but important: If you have an undeniable connection with the animal world, a warm home, a fenced yard, good eats, lots of love and a desire to help a deserving critter while they wait for a forever home, you too can be a foster family.

There are rescue groups for every breed of dog, cat, bird, even ferrets, and too many adoptable animals are filling up the local rescue groups to the max.

Think about it, and if your heart’s ready for this worthwhile endeavor, call or check out the websites of the local shelter or rescue groups.

These tails deserve a happy ending.

Voices correspondent Sandra Babcock can be reached at Previous columns are available at