(Wood Green Press Release) Looking at a photo of two-year-old Labrador Jake, it’s little wonder he melted the hearts of his new owners.
But just a few months ago, Jake looked like having a far more uncertain Christmas, when he arrived at the Cambridgeshire headquarters of Wood Green, The Animals Charity.
With a sketchy history and evident signs of epilepsy, he was desperately in need of some genuine TLC – without the threat of having to be on a lengthy waiting list to discover his ‘forever home’.
Wood Green decided to use their special Fostering Service, to enable Jake to find loving ‘parents’ who would look after him immediately, and give him exactly the right nurturing home environment he needed until a long-term family could be found.
Help came in the form of dedicated doggy-fosterers, Nancy Payne and Tony Pritchard.
“We’ve both always loved dogs, but because we’ve spent so much of our lives travelling around the world, it has never made sense to ‘permanently’ own a pet,” said 78 year old Nancy, who is originally from the United States but now lives in Wistow.
“Dog fostering makes so much sense to people like Tony and I because we can benefit from having wonderful long walks with a dog, and sharing in all the benefits of pet ownership – but perhaps not being committed long-term.”
Except, all that changed not long after Jake had become a resident in the Payne-Pritchard household.
“We adored Jake from the minute we saw his photo on the Wood Green website, but we knew it would be just temporary,” said Nancy.
“We were very clear about that decision….until we realised that he was being passed over for a forever home a number of times because of his epilepsy.
“In the end, we decided to accept that we’d actually been very fortunate with all the travelling we’d done to date, to change our lifestyle and provide a permanent forever home for Jake. Now, instead of travelling the globe, we’re now happy that we’ll be travelling around the beautiful British Isles as and when we want to, with our gorgeous retriever.”
This Christmas, Wood Green is asking more people like Nancy and Tony to consider a role as foster parents to dogs.
The charity, which rehomes thousands of animals every year, requires dog loving individuals or families to take in a dog, usually for between two and six months. Dog fosterers have 24/7 access to Wood Green’s veterinary team, receive lots of hands-on support, and are provided with essential items and toys to help with the animal’s ongoing care.
Genevieve Samson, fostering development officer for Wood Green, based at the charity’s headquarters in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, said the role of a fosterer is a perfect one for an animal-lover.
“Fostering an animal can give such a huge sense of satisfaction – not only because you are spending time with an animal and enjoying the wellbeing benefits of that, but because you also know you are playing a really important part in helping out someone else at a time they need it.
“We’re now entering the time when the requirement for fosterers is particularly busy, because of the fact that more people have commitments over Christmas, so if you’ve ever thought about a role like this, now is definitely the time to get in touch.”
She added: “Nancy and Tony are perfect examples of people who’ve found such joy in fostering. In their case, they’ve decided to adopt Jake full-time, but they will also continue as doggy fosterers for us, and it’s people like them who we’d love to see more of.”
Wood Green runs a similar scheme, known as Moggy Midwives, where people can step in on a temporary basis to look after pregnant cats until their kittens are born and old enough to look for forever homes.
Anyone interested in being a fosterer must have access to a car, must live within a 40 minute drive of the Godmanchester site, and must be able to cope with returning the animal or seeing it go to a new home.
For more information, contact the rehoming team on 0844 241 8181.