SEPR Foster Spotlight:
Rosalyn was a hot mess when she came to live with Ali Horsted. Never mind that her toenails were so long they reminded Ali of macaroni… hence the short-lived nickname Macaroni Toes. The pit mix had heartworm and bad skin allergies; she was allergic to plastic and - believe it or not – HUMANS!! As if that wasn’t enough, she was dealing with a case of MRSA (a strain of staph infection), which required Ali to give her regular, medicated baths. And those were just the physical challenges.
Rosalyn was an emotional wreck, as well. Ali describes her as, “despondent.” Rosalyn - Roz, for short – had sat in a Missouri shelter, with all her health issues, for 8-months. Then SEPR came to her rescue, when Ali opened her home and heart to Roz. Lots of good food, meds and Ali’s TLC brought Roz back to life. Ever so slowly, her health began to return, and so did her joy.
And so it is with fostering a homeless dog.
Many dogs that enter the SEPR program have physical challenges, emotional ones, or both. They’re the ones that get overlooked at shelters, many of whom would otherwise be forgotten and ultimately euthanized. They often arrive raw and rough around the edges having been through traumas of all kinds. That’s why people like Ali, who step up and foster these dogs, are so vital to SEPR; which has no building to house animals, so must rely on foster homes. SEPR founder, Rachael Leighton says, “Fosters are so vital to SEPR that there would be no rescuing our pits without them.”
So, life-saving fosters like Ali step up to help settle them, heal them, teach them, nurture them, and show them love, for perhaps the very first time in their lives. From the intensity of the early days when a new dog arrives, through the trials and tribulations, to the triumphs and, finally, the send-off to their forever homes, “The transformation that takes place is amazing!” says Ali.
Ali has been with SEPR since the early days, and is on her 8th foster dog, Neo. Each of the dogs who’ve come to live with her have their own unique stories, but all will have the same ending if Ali has her way; finding a loving home, where they will live for the rest of their days.
If you think giving up a foster dog after months of loving care can be tough, you’re right. In fact, sometimes it’s impossible. That’s what’s called a “foster fail.” It happened to Ali with her 5th foster dog, Marshall, who she calls, “the perfect dog for me.” And perhaps one of the most wonderful “failures” of her life.
But for the ones she has to let go, it’s all worth it when she sees her former fosters get their happily-ever-after. In Roz’s case, after 10-months with Ali, her new family was perfection. A mom, dad and two kids with a special place in their hearts for a medically-challenged dog like Roz. As Ali puts it, “Roz completes their family.”
And what could be more perfect than that?