I didn’t know what to expect as I drove through the streets of a rougher part of town. All I knew was that my husband called and said he needed help – I’m always worried he is going to be robbed or beaten up or worse. So when he calls, I drop everything and get to him as quickly as I can. These calls have resulted in me crawling under an abandoned crack house (not an exaggeration), crawling as far into a drainage pipe as I could get, and searching railroad tracks – all in an area that has made more than one appearance on the TV show First 48.
I parked my car close to an abandoned building next to the railroad tracks. I take a deep breath as I start to exit my car. As I get out of my car, Kyle motions for me to stop….I’m instantly nervous because I can hear music blaring in the background and someone yelling to Kyle from a house across the street. As I stand next to my car, unsure of my next move, I see them – the reason I am standing in the middle of the street in a bad neighborhood – 3 tiny puppies and a mama dog that is still a puppy herself.
You see, he’s been feeding this group of dogs for almost two months by this point. It has taken this long to gain their trust to get close enough to try and catch them. This is why I got the phone call, it was GO TIME! We were going to finally try to get these dogs off of the streets and to a life of “no more bad days.” We didn’t know how long it would take to rescue them and didn’t care, all we knew was they deserved so much more than a life of roaming the railroad tracks and sleeping in a scary, abandoned building.
Izzy (mom), Asher (boy), Sawyer (girl) and Ryder (girl) all came to the Yonke household that day. While we can end the story there with the happiness of them being off of the streets and knowing they will receive the care and love they deserve, their story is far from over – it was actually just beginning. After they are rescued, they enter foster care. This includes time for decompression and adjustment, as well as seeing the vet to get treated for any issues – including spay and neuter.
It took lots of conversations and finally seeing one too many dogs on the street and in terrible situations, but I convinced Kyle that we could foster dogs to try and be a small part to help. Fostering dogs is no small commitment, it is the hardest, but most rewarding thing that we do. We have cried, laughed, been cussing mad and exhausted, but we would do it all again every single day. Fostering animals makes a huge difference. Most animal rescues and shelters are in dire needs for fosters – even short term! The animal rescue that we work closely with in town even covers all medical expenses for the animals. You just have to commit your time and love.
This group was not our first time fostering – far from it. It was by far the most challenging group we have had to date. This group was so nervous and scared of people that I would have to open the door and hide just so they would go outside to potty. It took a couple of weeks for them to get comfortable being around just us……4 foster dogs and 3 dogs of our own? It was a LOT of work. For the first couple of weeks our 3 and the 4 fosters had to be kept separated – just to make sure for health reasons. This also meant that Kyle and I had to split our time with each group. There was a lot of trail and error too. This was our first active group of mom and pups…..whew y’all. There were days when it was really hard, and even frustrating…..kind of exactly what I hear having human kids can be like. (Kidding – kind of).
Skipping ahead for length’s sake: After a while, it is time for the group to be placed as available for adoption. Asher goes first and he is currently living his best life. He has a fur brother and gets to go on trips and loves the boat! Sawyer was then adopted and is being spoiled by her human siblings – 2 sisters and a brother. Izzy was still nervous around new people. Because of this, we did reach out and she was placed in a new foster home and adopted a couple of weeks later. That leaves Miss Ryder.
Ryder was and still is by far the most skittish of people. She is a dog’s dog – Snyder is her favorite. The first time a potential family to adopt came to visit, she ran away and hid – zero interest. This was her behavior for most of her interactions with humans, except for us. Being the last one of the bunch, we started letting her interact with our pack regularly. She began to come our of her shell and she was adopted by a family that was ready for a dog to be added. We discussed, extensively, about her backstory and being nervous around new people. We even kept her a few extra weeks to help her get used to them with visits and shirts they wore in her crate. She lasted less than 3 days at their house. She was so nervous and decided the best option would be to hide in their garage under some stairs. Kyle had to crawl under the stairs to get her out and bring her home. (I want to mention here – the family is not fully at fault. It happens and I’m glad they reached out to us. Each dog is different and requires different needs. So be prepared for a commitment to do what is BEST for the dog, even if it is not best for you.)
Yes, I said home. As soon as she got to our house she ran around the back yard, her tail was wagging so hard I thought she might fall over. She played with the dogs, ate and fell asleep on the couch. She let us know by her actions, she was home. She is the happiest dog I have ever met. She wakes up and her tail immediately starts wagging – each time she wakes up, even from naps. She back talks – especially when you tell her to stop being rowdy. There was no way that Kyle and I could let her go somewhere that she would not be comfortable. That is why we currently have 4 dogs. While she is still nervous around people that aren’t Kyle or me, she is making progress – slowly.
This is the part where people always say is why they could never foster. “I would want to keep them all.” Yes, you will. But not all dogs are for you, some are, but not all. You can keep one or two (or more) of your fosters for 10-15 years and that is awesome. OR you could keep one or two and foster countless more -helping more, loving more. Each time we foster a dog and they find a family – I cry. I cry because I am so happy they found their family. I cry because I am sad they won’t be here for me to love on anymore. I cry because I am tired and need a break – but I cry because it is just one of thousands that need help.
There are many ways to help make a difference in animal rescue. The obvious is monetary donations – always good. Fostering – always good. Volunteering – always needed. Like and share social media posts – easy and free. Reach out to local animal rescues, you never know what needs they have and how you can help.
While this story was about Ryder’s Rescue, it is just one of many! I will be sharing more stories of rescue, foster and adoption as it is a cause that is deeply important to me. If you have questions let me know, I’d be happy to answer or find the answer for you!
Just a few pictures from Ryder’s Rescue so far:
Two by Two Rescue: https://twobytworescue.com/