A ‘Failed Foster’s’ Success Story
Peaches is Bonnie’s first foster pet through a program like Good Dog Rez-Q.
Native Americans living in reservation communities love their pets as much as pet owners anywhere else in the U.S. However, they have limited access to veterinary care, spay/neuter providers, and other pet care services most Americans take for granted — 69% of pets living in these underserved communities have never seen a veterinarian.
Through Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR), a program of Partnership With Native Americans, we support tribal groups that rescue hungry, injured or stray animals and stop the spread of disease. One such group, Good Dog Rez-Q in St. Johns, Arizona, is on the frontlines of animal welfare efforts and constantly in search of loving foster homes for dogs found on or near Navajo lands.
Tamara, our program partner, help find Peaches a forever home with Bonnie, someone who has lived with dogs her entire life. Bonnie fostered her dog Peaches who was found starving in Piņon, Arizona in December 2021 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Posting ads for fosters on their Facebook page, our Good Dog Rez-Q Program Partner Tamara recognizes the desperate need for foster homes, as well as the difficulty of increasing retention. “People will find a dog and they foster it for us, but usually when they’re done, they’re done. A few people say, ‘that was kind of fun, let us know if you have another.”
Herself a long-time foster of over 30 years, Tamara is cognizant of the importance of finding the proper home, noting that “we’ll take back any dogs that we place. We just want to make sure they’re going to a good home and it’s a good fit for everyone.”
One of these “good homes” Tamara found is with Bonnie, someone who has lived with dogs her entire life. Bonnie fostered her dog Peaches who was found starving in Piņon, Arizona in December 2021 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now 1 year and 9 months old, Peaches is healthy and the happy heart of Bonnie’s family. Proclaiming herself a “failed foster,” Bonnie said, “I can’t treat one dog differently than the other dogs in my house. I can’t put up that barrier.” With another eight-year-old rescue dog in-house (Maddy), Bonnie, her husband of 51 years and Maddy quickly fell in love with Peaches and decided to keep her for their own.
A big fan of the outdoors, Bonnie mentioned that Peaches was a runner early on, with “selective hearing.” In other words, Peaches would run away from their cabin to explore before eventually returning for food and water. “We realized she may have been on her own a lot, and she’s very curious,” Bonnie noted. “There was never any downside to running off, but as time went by, Peaches realized she wanted to be home.”
Peaches has been with Bonnie and her family for over 2 years now, and she is healthy and happy as can be.
Today, Peaches has relaxed and settled into her new home life, constantly playing with Maddy and gently cuddling with Bonnie’s terminally ill husband. Bonnie said, “she’ll just cuddle up to him, put part of her on part of him and just sit there and love him.”
Peaches is Bonnie’s first foster pet through a program like Good Dog Rez-Q. She shared it has been a remarkable experience, so she is open to fostering again when she has just one dog. With keen understanding, Bonnie said, “There is a huge need for people to care about dogs. It’s very fulfilling to know you’ve helped an otherwise totally helpless creature. Peaches was on her own and she was surviving, but for her not to know love and what it feels like to cuddle on the couch… If I think about that, it kind of breaks my heart about all the other ones out there.”
With limited resources, both Bonnie and Tamara emphasized that spaying and neutering is a crucial obstacle in the effort to stop animal overpopulation in tribal communities. Until more spay/neuter services are available, finding foster homes and community volunteers is the priority. Recognizing people have different limits to what they can do, Tamara added, “there is so much you can do without ever touching a dog" like buying some dog food or simply posting a picture on their Facebook page.
Bonnie suggested that everyone who is able should foster or adopt a dog: “They’re going to support you and they’re going to help you… They need love, shelter and safety, and they just turn into these beautiful creatures.”
Please consider fostering a dog or donating to the RAR program today to be a crucial part of the effort toward animal welfare in Native communities.