Birthday Reunion

Birthday Reunion

Blog post by Meagan Maue, Pet Haven volunteer and foster:

“I could never do that. It would be too hard to give them up!”

Fosters hear these words all the time. And it’s true; fostering isn’t always easy. Handing over the leash of your beloved foster dog or cat into the hands of someone you have only met once or twice is tough.

But it’s worth it.

In August 2015 Pet Haven received a call from Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue. “Three 4-week- old puppies had been found under the outdoor couch of a community resident, with no mother in sight for days. Did Pet Haven have a foster home for them?” Fortunately, I had experience with orphaned canine litters and was not currently fostering any other dogs, so I was able to take them in.

Initially these pups were in rough condition. They were flea-ridden and anemic. Their fur was coarse and dry. They were all underweight and full of worms. Worst of all, they were terrified. Terrified of people, terrified of sounds, and terrified of anything outside their crate. As I do with all my foster dogs, I allowed them an adjustment period so they could warm up to me and the elements of the house at their own pace. Once that trust was built, we started a daily socialization process. This involved the introduction to various stimuli, with each of these opportunities carefully controlled by me, to ensure a positive interaction/association for the pups. Additionally, my roommate’s resident emotionally-healthy female lab mix acted as surrogate mama, leading the pups through these adventures.


Slowly each pup started to gain weight and confidence. By 9 weeks old I was confident enough in each of the pups to send them off into the world without one another, to their own forever homes.

Last weekend the 3 pups – now beautiful adults – reunited for the first time to celebrate their first birthday, along with their owners and me. Despite all the other dogs at the Dog Park that day there was something magical about the way the three continuously gravitated toward each other. They even took on the hierarchical roles that they played when they were babies!

Fergie, the only female of the group, reigned supreme as the beautiful boss of the group; despite being the smallest. Fitz and Hotch the two rough-and- tumble boys, had a blast playing together in the pond and were never far apart from each other.

Seeing them all so well adjusted, happy and loved just reaffirmed for me why I do this. Why, despite crying as I hand over that leash to the new dog-parent, I come back for more. Because I am their voice. I am their advocate. I am their foster mom. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

It wasn’t easy for me. But it was worth it.

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Note: Birthday party images compliments of Project 13 Photography, who generously donated their time to capture the magic.