Caitie takes care of them for several weeks or months at a time and the dogs often leave her for a ‘forever home’ looking unrecognizable from when they arrived. She does all of this whilst working a full-time job and using a dedicated Instagram page to advertise her foster dogs to potential adoptive owners. Volunteer, Caitie, who has no training in animal or veterinary care, said: ‘Houston has a huge problem with stray dogs, in our area we have about one million stray dogs. I have always loved dogs and I don’t want to just sit and watch this happen.
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‘I have the time and the ability to be able to help. I love making dogs happy and it makes me happy to see how much they change and how well they get.
‘Every dog that comes to me is in a life and death situation, some of them look more rough than others but some of them are dying because of infection and disease.
‘I really enjoy doing what I do and I get so much love back from the dogs for it. I remember when I first started fostering I never wanted to give them away, I felt evil and mean.
‘But even though I do form special bonds with some of them, it does get easier and it makes me feel good to see them get a new life.’
Caitie’s journey as a foster owner for dogs was kickstarted by chance when she was in her sophomore year at college and a part-time volunteer at a local animal rescue centre.
Aged 20, Caitie said she was called out of the blue by a friend who had found an abandoned puppy in a dumpster and unsure what to do, phoned her for advice. Having gained some experience in animal care she offered to look after the unwanted dog before sending it on to a rescue center for adoption.
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‘I ended up fostering it without even knowing’, said Caitie.
‘In the beginning I never went out of my way to foster dogs, people just called me whenever they found one that needed help and someone to look after them.
‘As time went on it became more of a thing and now I couldn’t see myself not doing this.’When Caitie takes a dog off the streets the vast majority of them require several visits to the vets or even a stay in an animal hospital. Whilst she doesn’t get paid for fostering, Caitie is supported financially for the dogs’ medical needs by her local dog rescue center, Chip N Snip.
Aside from the skills she picked up volunteering at an animal rescue center as a student, Caitie said she has used resources like YouTube to teach herself the basic veterinary skills needed to foster dogs at home. Once the dogs are medically healthy she dedicates her time to building the dog’s confident, diet and overall strength ready for a full-time adoptive home. Some of the dogs she fosters, like golden retriever, Lily-Mae, are pregnant and ending giving birth in Caitie’s care.
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Like with medical needs, Chip N Snip helps Caitie by paying for vaccinations and trips to the vets for the puppies.
Caitie, who lives with her boyfriend, has said she has no plans to stop fostering dogs anytime soon and has her eyes set on expanding her rescue home in the near future.
Caitie said: ‘I don’t see an end point for me here. The more I get into it the more I enjoy it and get out of it.
‘I have been doing it for seven years now and I find it such a humbling thing to do. It’s all about the dogs, I do it for them.
‘Our goal is to one day own a house and turn it into a foster home for dogs. That’s the dream.
‘It’s a special experience to see a dog glow up and change so dramatically in such a short space of time.
‘It’s always sad to see a dog leave but then I just think about the next one and how we can make another dog happy.’
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