Jennifer Toth


Why did you get into fostering?
I can't remember how I heard of hart, but a few years ago I became interested in the idea of fostering. Since then, I have learned so much about the overpopulation problem in Alberta and I want to help any way that I can. I am fairly good at training dogs so I feel that this is an appropriate way for me too give back. I love comparing the dog you get (can be any or all of the following: scared, malnourished, untrained, sad, unresponsive) and the dog that gets adopted out (happy, loving, trained, playful, "normal" dog!). That's the best part of it for me. 

Which hart dogs have you fostered?
My first was Maggie - a young lab cross puppy - we only had her for a week she was so cute! Then came Seela - she was adorable, but had been tied to a tree and burned. It was amazing how she bounced right back, she has a fighter's soul. Jake - He was literally a day away from dying, but with patience and love, he is now enjoying family life. Paula - my special girl. She was so malnourished that her leg broke while in our care. We had her for almost 5 months while it healed after surgery. She was my closest call to a "foster fail"! (Affectionate name for a foster family that adopts their foster dog). And the last one (so far) was Goldie - just a puppy when her so called family moved and left her behind, she was quite easy to find a home for - a happy, affectionate girl with tonnes of potential! 

What has been the most rewarding aspect to fostering?
I love comparing the dog you get (can be any or all of the following: scared, malnourished, untrained, sad, unresponsive) and the dog that gets adopted out (happy, loving, trained, playful, "normal" dog!). The transformation is incredible. Especially when they learn to play - for most of them, I bet it's the first time they've ever played. That's the best part of it for me.

When individuals think it will be too much work or too emotionally taxing, what feedback do you have for them?
I think everyone has a certain amount of time if their lives, and you have to prioritize. That being said, what is a more worthwhile way of spending your time than saving a life? I won't lie, it is a lot of work, and potentially lost sleep, but I for one will keep doing it. And I would also say, try it, it may not be for you and you can stop after one, or you may get hooked! Worst care senario, you save a life. Best case, you save many lives! ;) As far as the emotional side of it goes, it is hard letting go. But I think before you foster you have to know what you are looking for in your family. For myself, I have a poodle because she is hypoallergenic, portable and good at dog agility (a hobby of mine). As adorable as they are, a hart dog wouldn't fit my lifestyle at the moment. I know that it's not appropriate for me to adopt a hart dog on a whim, and it's not what's best for the dog. Ultimately, that makes it easier to let go. I cry every time, but I keep getting new fosters anyways, because my small amount of discomfort is worth a new chance on life for the dog. 

If your foster dog(s) could speak, what do you think they would say to you?
When are we going for a walk? Let's cuddle. When are we going for a walk? Feed me. When are we going for a walk?