October's Foster of the Month: Jodi McManaway + Family
How long have you been fostering with Fetch? I have been volunteering with Fetch for one year. Then we had our first foster dog last December 2014. I say “we” because it’s a family effort with both my husband, Dan, and sixteen year old son, Wes, actively engaged.
How did you get started? We had been doing some dog sitting for other people’s foster dogs when an opportunity came up to foster our first dog, Athena. Athena’s foster was going to be traveling outside of the country for a while and we were asked if we would like to keep her and be her new foster family. So while I always knew I would eventually like to foster, the timing of it all just fell into our laps.
Aside from fostering, what else are you passionate about? I'm active in mental health advocacy and politics. I am also passionate about spending time with both my immediate and extended families, many of whom live in the area. I also get together regularly with my closest friends. I love the outdoors, making hand-made cards, reading, and listening to music and podcasts. I am also very passionate about laughter and anything funny. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
How many dogs have you fostered with Fetch? So far we have fostered three dogs through Fetch. They are: Athena, an 11 year old Border Terrier mix, Ginger, a 4 year old Beagle (who we adopted), and Wendy, a six year old Yorkshire Terrier. Each experience was truly wonderful and we learned a lot from each dog.
Who were your last 3 foster dogs and what is your best memory/story of each of them? Athena had lived tied up outside her entire life without a lot of human contact. She was very quiet and was not very affectionate with humans. Because she was so used to being outside, she wanted to be outside most of the time. This meant we took her on lots of walks. Eventually, as she became more comfortable with us, she started “running” to the door when it was walk time and she had this cute little skip in her step all of the sudden that was adorable. That’s how Athena would show us she was a happy girl and that she was grateful. It was very sweet.
My favorite thing about Ginger is her huge repertoire of funny faces and sounds. There are moans and groans, loud sighs, grumbles, and squeaks just to name a few. She keeps us smiling and laughing every day. Ginger is also very outwardly affectionate and with the combination of her humorous ways, her squeezability, and her lumbering trot, I couldn’t let her go. Foster fail! She is certainly the best failure of my life.
Then there was little Wendy. Wendy came from a puppy mill where she was used for breeding and lived in deplorable conditions. Needless to say,at first she was scared and painfully shy. One day we were out sitting in the grass enjoying the sunshine and the nice breeze. For a long time she wouldn’t leave my side, but eventually Ginger lured her out into the yard away from me. After she investigated what Ginger was doing, she turned and looked at me. Then she started wagging her nub (tail) really fast and ran toward me as fast as she could with a big doggy smile on her face that showed pure joy. I cried. At that moment, I remember finally feeling like she was going to be OK.
Why did you get involved with fostering and dog rescue? Fostering is something I’ve always wanted to do, but until last year, it never seemed to be a good time. In past years we had adopted a senior male and a senior female Chihuahua (Louie and then a couple of years after he passed, Nina). Both the pups had come from puppy mills. The poor little souls had spent their whole lives in cages covered with their own feces and urine and never having had their feet in the grass. Both of them were amazing dogs and dear family members.
In 2007, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in a severe form. I spent several years trying to become healthy and stable and it was very tough on a daily basis. My dogs got me through many days alone. They forced me to focus on beings other than myself and for that I became a more compassionate person. My pups have played a very critical role in my recover. I felt very grateful to them and compelled to give back.
When Nina passed a couple of years ago, I held her in my arms for the last time and promised her that I would do whatever I could to help more dogs like her in exchange for all that she had given to me. That is why I foster.
What is your best memory so far as a Fetch Foster? That would be our first adoption experience with Athena. I knew that her adoptive family would be perfect for her and so I was very excited about it. Of course, it’s bittersweet having to say goodbye. Dan and I rescheduled our anniversary dinner plans so we could meet the adopters at 8:30. It went great and Dan and I both cried. It was our best anniversary date ever.
What is your advice to someone thinking about volunteering with Fetch? If you can make the time, do it. It changed my life and will be forever grateful for the opportunities that Fetch has provided me. In addition to fostering, I do a lot of home visits, transports, some owner surrenders (which can be very hard), and some dog sitting for other fosters. After being so ill for so long, I had lost a lot of confidence in myself. Fetch was the reason I was able to turn it around. To me, there is no better feeling than giving of myself to rescue. The people are deeply committed and passionate and the the feelings are very contagious. There are a lot of ways to help Fetch. I encourage you to check out the website for more information.
What has been a favorite toy or treat among your foster dogs? Hmmm. Well, none of my foster dogs really played with toys. As far as a treat goes, I would say “Salmon Strips” were a big hit with all of them and with my own dogs.
We're super grateful to Jodi and her family for their commitment to fostering. If you are interested in volunteering with Fetch you can find more information here. We'll be back soon with another Foster of the Month!