Monday, July 20, 2015

Foster Feature: Aileen

When Aileen Alfandary’s beloved 14-year-old dog Sonia (who’d been adopted from Berkeley Humane) died a few months ago, the time felt right to open her home to other dogs. 

 “We'd had her nearly 12 years and I missed the doggie presence in the house," explains Aileen. “Fostering works well as we're not able to adopt a dog at this point.”  

Since then, the doggie presence in Aileen’s house hasn’t let up as adoptable pets like Miss Rose, Mushi, Sugar, Elsa, Manhattan, and others have come to stay a while before moving on to new homes with their adopters. 

In addition to helping Berkeley Humane save more animals, fostering reduces stress, improves human-animal bonding, and helps shy animals learn how to be house pets. For example, Aileen helped guide one nervous pup toward confidence. “The first dog I fostered was little Mushi who had undergone surgery and was at first hesitant that anyone touching him was going to hurt him," she says. “After we got past that barrier he was super excited every morning when I came down to feed him and take him for a walk.”

Foster care providers like Aileen provide physical assistance as well as emotional nourishment. One five-month-old puppy required medicine and love to address respiratory troubles. “She worried me when she didn't want to eat or drink much before Berkeley Humane got her started on antibiotics,” Aileen says. “She wanted to be picked up and held pretty constantly. It was like having a newborn baby or toddler all over again.” The puppy healed quickly and went on to a happy adoption.

"It's fun to suss out each dog's very distinct personality but what they've all had in common is how much they want to give and receive affection." - Aileen Alfandary, foster care provider

Miss Rose
When it’s time to send her charges to Berkeley Humane for adoption weekends, Aileen says goodbye with an upbeat attitude. “I've grown very fond of every dog I've fostered and am hopeful they'll be adopted by a loving human or humans," she says. “I hope I'm giving them a good experience along the road to a permanent home.”

Fostering dogs continues to be one way Aileen honors her departed pet Sonia. “There's a doggie sized hole in my heart following the death of our dog and fostering goes a long way towards filling it.”

Aileen, we thank you for the time and love you’ve given to fostering adoptable dogs for Berkeley Humane. Here’s to many more happy dog stories in your life!

If you’re interested in opening your home and heart to adoptable pets, Berkeley Humane would love to hear from you. We provide food, bedding, toys, any medications needed, personality notes and history on each animal, and endless support. Learn more on our Foster Care page.

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