The Heart of a Hospice Foster
Fostering a rescued animal is truly one of the most rewarding experiences anyone could imagine. The process of rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming a dog, and seeing the transformation from rescue to adoption, is magical beyond words. We have dozens of foster families that can attest to this feeling.
But sometimes, an animal’s journey doesn’t end with adoption. Sometimes, we rescue animals that have limited time left on Earth. They might have a terminal illness or a life-threatening ailment. But when we encounter these cases, our goal is to provide the animals with a peaceful, pain-free life where they can know love, sometimes for the first time. This period might last a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. The volunteers that are by their sides during this period are called hospice fosters.
To provide end-of-life care for a rescued animal is one of the greatest sacrifices a volunteer can make. It involves many vet visits, hours of care, and a constant concern about the animal’s well-being. But the rewards are endless.
Allona’s story starts at animal control. When we learned of this special case, we didn’t hesitate to help. Kris Williams, a Gateway Pet Guardians volunteer, remembers seeing her for the first time. “When I walked into animal control, I saw the extent of her issues. Nails overgrown, blind, and I saw the tumors. My eyes got watery instantly. I was so afraid to pick her up for fear of hurting her. I decided to name her Allona, because it means ‘strong’.”
Allona has a grade 4 heart murmer and two large mammary tumors (one that has ruptured). She’s missing many teeth, and they are all covered in tarter. She is completely blind, and has severe eye and ear infections. And Allona is ten years old. But despite all of these medical issues, Allona is a character. Kris says, “I love that she is so fearless. She walks around with confidence even though she can’t see a thing. She has the best demeanor. She is so sweet and puts up with anything! She is also very trusting of us already after only a few days. In a really short period of time, she’s already taught me to be brave in any situation.”
Kris has opened her home to Allona to help her through this period in her life. When asked what she wants for Allona, Kris didn’t hesitate—“I want peace. No pain. Just relaxation and a wagging tail. I want her to feel better physically and emotionally.”
Kris and Allona are taking their journey together day by day, and although their time together is limited, Kris is giving Allona everything she possibly can. “I don’t know what her life was before but I’m not stressing over it. I just know that she is with me now and we will care for her the best we can. Knowing that my family will be her whole world gives me a sense of relief. I know she will have love and that eases my mind.” Allona’s latest vet visit had positive results. The vet approved her for surgery, and Kris and Allona are excited to see what these next steps bring.
Thank you, Kris Williams and family, for opening your home to Allona. Your sacrifice proves that one life does truly matter, and we are honored to have you as a member of the Gateway Pet Guardians Foster Team.
If you would like to help make a difference in the life of a dog like Allona, become a Gateway Pet Guardians foster today! Visit www.gatewaypets.com/foster to learn more.