Our Featured First-Time Foster: Jessica Sundberg
Why did you decide to join the Saving Grace Foster Network?
My husband and I decided to foster through Saving Grace during the pandemic since we were working from home and weren’t traveling as much as usual. We saw a great need for foster homes and since we’re huge dog lovers we decided it was a great way to give back to our local community and give well deserving dogs a chance at a great life. We’ve also thought about adding a second fur baby to our family but weren’t sure what having two dogs would be like. We used our first foster experience as a trial run for managing two dogs and to gauge how much extra work having a second dog was prior to permanently rescuing.
What was your first experience like?
My first experience was much more emotional and rewarding than I ever imagined. We currently have a 4-year-old boxer and our first foster was *of course* a boxer. His name was Giles when we brought him in, but we later named him Tucker, since he “tuckered” out in my lap on the ride home from SG. He was a medical foster with a severely injured back leg that was later amputated. The first few days were an emotional roller coaster. You feel so sad for the animal and his past life wondering how he got to be here, you feel overwhelmed at times getting to know them and their quirks and then you feel intense gratitude that you’re able to impact their life, even if it’s just for a few weeks. He has most definitely left everlasting paw prints on my heart! I miss him every day.
What was your favorite part about fostering?
My favorite part about our first foster experience is the bond Tucker and I were able to make almost instantly. The second we pulled into the parking lot of SG, he wiggled when he saw us and just wanted to be snuggled and loved on. The most amazing part of this experience was his transformation when he first came to SG to when he went to his forever home. When he first came in, he had two swollen cheeks, a bad back leg, ticks in his ears and he was severely underweight. When he left, he was a healthy weight, he was adjusting well to tri-pod life and he had so much more energy and excitement. He honestly was two different dogs thanks to the medical and foster teams at SG.
Did anything surprise you about your experience?
You always hear the phrase “Who Saved Who” when it comes to fostering or rescuing animals. I always thought it was a sweet term until I actually experienced it firsthand. The most surprising part of this experience was how much you can learn from these dogs that you can put forth in your own life. They are so resilient, adaptive, loyal and optimistic. It gave me an appreciation that I’m able to open my home and provide a few fun and happy weeks to these animals that might otherwise have terrible fate. I feel grateful for the opportunity to foster and hope to continue for many years to come. The other surprising aspect was how large and helpful the network at SG is. We had to go away for a long weekend, so another gracious foster took him in while we were away and eventually, he returned back to us prior to adoption. Everyone we talked to was super helpful, understanding and passionate about helping these animals.
Any advice for other new fosters?
My advice would be to dive in feet first. We were on the list for a while but were afraid that we wouldn’t be good enough or know what we were doing. If an opportunity comes up on the email chain and you have free time at home, I recommend going for it! The next piece of advice is to ensure you can adjust your schedule and be flexible. It’s important to keep in mind that you have no idea the situation these dogs are coming from so you might be challenged in a few ways and every dog is so different. The fun part is getting to know each other and giving them a loving home until they are ready to be adopted. Plus, if you fall in love, you’ll foster fail and live happily ever after.