Maggie, My Fifth Foster


Two months ago, due to a change in living situations, my husband and I flipped flopped which person had what pets. Before, he had the parrot and I had the dogs. Now, he has the dogs while I have the parrots. This has opened up a space in my home for a dog, and while I am not looking to permanently adopt a dog, I have the space and attention to give to a foster dog. I have fostered four other rescues in the past, all who were adopted to great forever homes. The sense of accomplishment you get from fostering and getting a dog adopted is amazing. Of course you get attached to the foster, but knowing you can find them a forever home, to open up your house again to another dog in need, is worth all the time in the world! Since there are no pets on Dogs on Deployment I can currently care for, I volunteered to foster For The Love of Strays, a local non-profit rescue group in Corpus Christi, TX. They gave me Maggie.

Maggie, a shepherd/chow/fluffy dog mix, was rescued off the streets of Corpus Christi, TX in the fall of 2012. She had three ~12 week old puppies she was caring for. The toll of feeding her puppies was extreme; she was emaciated and balding due to severe malnutrition. But she kept her pups alive, and soon after they were rescued and vetted, all her puppies were adopted.

She was a good mom and must have been so happy her puppies were all lovingly adopted.

Maggie when she first came into foster care, very skinny and with little hair! Her under-bite gives her charm!

However, she wasn't so lucky. It took time for her fur to grow back in, to gain weight, and be healthy enough to be spayed. She had to learn to trust people. It is suspected she was severely abused by a man in her previous life, as she is terrified of men at first. She has learned to warm up to a certain few, but is most comfortable and trusting of women.

She was with a very nice lady in foster care through For The Love of Strays for about six months, but her past foster home could not take her on walks, which she loves to do. She went into foster care with me, and I worked with her to find her the best home possible.

Through a lot of patience, love and carefully planned meet and greets, Maggie began to feel comfortable around new people. Though still shy around men, she began to gain confidence. After several posts and shares online to various pet communities, a wonderful gal in my hometown of San Diego came across Maggie's adoption video and fell in love. She had an older dog and cat, and thought Maggie would be a perfect fit.

I felt in my gut confident that this lady was a great home for Maggie. Plus, I was going to be moving back to San Diego soon, and I love having a continuing relationship with my fosters and their new parents. Maggie, not having the best start in life in Corpus, deserved to become a West Coast gal, and so we started to look for transport.

Maggie in the car ride to San Diego!
Maggie in the car ride to San Diego!

I posted on my Dogs on Deployment Facebook page a plea for transport, and miraculously, a military family was in the process of moving from the East Coast, to the West Coast, and was stopping through Texas to visit family. They graciously agreed to take Maggie along to her new home. So we met, handed off Maggie, and off she went to her new home. (Don't worry, lots of vetting/contracts/etc. went into this plan!)

Maggie lived with her new family for a few months. She LOVED California and her new owner, however, an unfortunate situation began to develop. The other dog would not accept Maggie, and was increasingly becoming resentful in Maggie's presence. After consultations with trainers and professionals, Maggie's new mom contacted me heartbroken, but in the best interest of her 15 year old dog, and Maggie's happiness, the adoption wasn't going to work out.

I felt crushed.

This was the first adoption that I arranged that fell through, and it hurt to know it didn't work out. Luckily, my husband and I owned a home in San Diego, and since he was living there, he gladly brought Maggie in our home there. She was still shy around men, but over the course of the next few months, Maggie and Shawn grew very fond of each other, and her trust for men was finally solidified!

I soon moved back to San Diego, and Shawn, me, Maggie, our two dogs,  JD and Jersey, our two cats, and two parrots lived under the same roof. We both loved Maggie, and were in agreement that if the perfect home never came for Maggie, we would keep her. She deserved love.

Maggie found her happy-ever-after.
Maggie found her happy-ever-after.

I had about given up my search when I got an inquiring email from a family in San Diego. A mom, dad, young girl and baby boy were looking for an only dog who would be a family companion. Jackpot! We met, interviewed, screened, and this family could not be more perfect. The children fell in love with her, and she fell in love with them. The family would go on daily walks, and Maggie would get all the sun and exercise she desired.

We decided to do a weekend trial run. The first hour alone with them, Maggie was desperately looking for me. But as soon as she settled, the last conversation I had with the family before finalizing the adoption contract was, WE LOVE HER! Its hard not to, she's an awesome dog.

Maggie has been in her new home now since January 2014, and she's in heaven. We keep in contact and she's doing great. The scared dog that once lived behind a dumpster is now the happiest California-girl you could imagine, with a family to match.

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