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The FitzGeralds Foster

Ellen FitzGerald shares her experience of becoming an IndyHumane Foster Parent for the first time!

What inspired you to foster?

My husband, Sean, and I had been talking about getting a dog for the last few months, even going so far as to visit IndyHumane a couple of times in January and February. However, we never went all in because we didn’t feel like we’d found “our dog” yet.

That said, when COVID-19 hit and Sean and I found ourselves working from home indefinitely and when IndyHumane put out their call for additional foster parents, we sort of looked at it as a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t we do this when we suddenly find ourselves with so much additional time at home?!

So we filled out the foster application form and attended the virtual training. It was so easy! The only problem was that we were too slow on the uptake when the first few pleas came out, so it took a couple of weeks to actually end up with a foster in our home (a good problem to have!).

But on Monday, March 30th, when Foster Care Manager Jessica sent out a plea and Joliet was on it, we jumped at the chance and picked her up on Wednesday, April 1st. IndyHumane has put a lot of great safety precautions in place to keep foster families, potential adopters, and their staff and volunteers safe and to abide by social distancing guidelines, so we simply drove up and stayed outside, while we got all the things we needed (food, toys, crate) and loaded her into the car. The amazing thing about the foster care program at IndyHumane is that they give foster families everything we could possible need – if you don’t have food or toys in your house already, they will provide everything for you!

Joliet is an actual dream dog and has fit in really well to our lifestyle, especially in this new normal we are currently living in. Sean works downstairs at our kitchen table, while I’m upstairs in a nook outside our bedroom, and Joliet spends her days downstairs, her crate set up in our living room. She is playful, but also spends most of the day sleeping 😊. We take her on a few walks a day and have been working on her “sit” and “down” commands. She loves ice cubes, training treats, and snuggling on the couch (but only when explicitly invited).

We’ve been smitten by how sweet (and cute) she is and feel lucky that our first experience with fostering has been so wonderful.

The benefits of fostering 

During this incredibly uncertain and anxiety-ridden time, Joliet has been a welcome respite and comfort for us. Taking her on walks has allowed us to make sure we’re getting our steps in and getting outside each day, which has allowed us to somewhat avoid feeling cooped up. And the nightly couch snuggles don’t hurt either. We’ve found she’s a calming presence in our household, which has made this very scary time just a little bit more bearable for our family. It’s also shown us that we really could add a dog into our lifestyle.

What you would say to those considering fostering or even adopting?

Do it! Not only is it rewarding since you will be helping out the staff and volunteers at IndyHumane, but I can assure you it will have incredible mental health benefits during this chaotic and weird time.

We are grateful to the team at IndyHumane who has made this process go so smoothly and even helped us when we were concerned Joliet might have a cold – we couldn’t be happier with our experience and would encourage anyone considering it to take the plunge!