As part of our commitment to giving back to the greater canine community, Ollie has partnered with rescue organizations Mr. Bones and Co. and Animal Haven to help support some of their pups in foster care. We want to shine the spotlight on this often overlooked aspect of the adoption process, through which dogs are able to live with loving families while they search for their forever home. The foster parents are some of the unsung heroes, so we'll be chatting with them about their role and the dogs they take in. In this first installment, we're checking in with Katie (also mom to Chase aka Sometimes Carl) and Hammy, whose belly we're filling with Ollie food.
Ollie: Tell us how you got involved with fostering dogs?
Katie: Fostering is something that Eric and I have always wanted to do—the more dogs in the house the better! But I didn’t really know much about it or even where to start until I started following Mr. Bones and Co on social. On a whim I filled out their foster application and a week later, we had our first foster! A ridiculously adorable and sweet Pitbull puppy named Jack, and that gave us the foster bug. We've been doing it for about a year and Hammy is our sixth.
Ollie: Why foster versus adopt?
Katie: I would love to have ten dogs of our own full time. Dreams! But we already have Chase, a five year old Pitbull who was rescued from a Tallahassee shelter. His demeanor lends itself well to having younger dogs around—he's very calm and patient—and having a puppy in the home is great for us because we’re able to help dogs out while they're looking for forever homes. It also gives Chase some company and helps the puppy get socialized, they take their direction from him.
Ollie: Why did you chose to work with Mr. Bones and Co?
Katie: The women who run it are so beyond dedicated to the organization and raising awareness for Pitbulls—from their events, to the money they raise to support various surgeries, and the million other things they do to help rescue dogs from terribly unfortunate situations and bring them into loving, forever homes. We're grateful to be a part of it.
Ollie: Do you have any tips for first-time foster parents?
Katie: One thing you don't really need is a lot of supplies—Mr. Bones and Co. provides everything the foster needs, including a leash, harness, bed, treats. The most important things you’re able to provide are time, attention and patience, especially for a puppy. The best thing for them to grow into a well behaved dog is to have that time to spend with you in a comfortable home environment—having coming from not-great backgrounds, they may not be used to even being outside of a tiny cage. Try to understand their personality, and what’s going to work for them individually. It’s been different with every dog we’ve had: our first foster was immediately on our laps or on the couch, following us around the apartment. Hammy was shy at first but two weeks later he was trying to jump on our bed. You just have to be patient and do things on their schedule.
Ollie: What has being a foster parent meant to you?
Katie: For me and my boyfriend, it means we have the opportunity to meet and form relationships with these incredible, sweet dogs that we otherwise wouldn’t have spent any time with. Once we've done our part, it's so wonderful to see them grow up in their adoptive homes. It’s certainly always difficult to say goodbye, but what gets us through is knowing that it means we can bring another dog into our home.
Ollie: Do you get to stay in touch with the dogs you fostered?
Katie: There’s a private Facebook group that Mr. Bones hosts, where the people who belong are foster parents, trainers and the adopters. It's essentially the entire Mr. Bones and Co family. It’s a great way for everyone involved with the rescue organization to share photos, ask questions and get advice. That's where we see a lot of the updates on the dogs we foster.
Ollie: So how did you come to foster Hammy?
Katie: We saw a photo of him, fell in love, offered to foster him, and brought him home after Mr. Bones and Co's Rescue the Runway event. He was initially quite shy, but now has more energy and spunk in him compared to last five fostered combined! He is constantly ready for playtime, which is a nice balance with our other dog Chase. Hammy is also the first dog that is big enough to hold his own with Chase , so it's especially fun to see them interact. Because he's still a puppy, he eventually tuckers himself out, crashes, and just wants to be cuddled up on the couch.
Ollie: How does Hammy like the food?
Katie: He flips for mealtime! He gets so excited when we get out the bowls, scoops and containers of food, and will sit patiently in the kitchen while we’re getting it ready. He gobbles it up quickly, it’s been great for his diet.
Ollie: If someone is interested in adopting Hammy or another foster dog, how does the process work?
Katie: You fill out an application to adopt, and once you have a conversation with Mr. Bones and Co., the next step is a meet and greet where you come to our apartment to spend some time with the dog. Then we do a home check to make sure it’s ready for a dog, and start a two week adoption trial period to see if it's a good fit for your family!
To learn more about Hammy and other awesome dogs up for adoption through Mr. Bones and Co., check out their One Lucky Pups program. Hammy will have some exciting news of his own that we are excited to share in the coming weeks!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.