Foster families are the heart of EAC!
EAC relies upon the generosity of our foster families who provide a safe and loving home for our dogs.
"I work very close to the Early Alert Canines office and was introduced to them in 2013 when I saw a volunteer out in the parking lot with one of the dogs," recalls long-time EAC foster, Chip.
"Around six months earlier we had to put our own family dog to sleep after 13 years, so it was a very sad time. But I loved dogs and had always had dogs, so I was interested. I went inside and met the director, Carol, and she introduced me to what the program was doing.
I thought it sounded like a great thing and decided to get involved. Betty came the next day to look at the house and the yard to make sure it was safe for the dogs. After some training, within a couple of days, we had our first dog. Now, it has been more than eight years, and although I have lost track of the exact number of dogs we have fostered, it is probably somewhere in the mid-50s! Some we have hosted for a few days and others for a few months, depending on what the program needed at the time.
Every single dog, in some way, really takes a little piece of our heart with them each time. They are just great dogs and such a joy to host. EAC has been a great organization to volunteer with. The staff has just been so kind and fun to work with and we love the dogs. We love supporting EAC and it's been fantastic. The most memorable dog we fostered was Kathy (seen photographed above). At that time, my father-in-law had been diagnosed, with cancer. There was a very short time between his diagnosis and his passing, just around six weeks, and it was very hard for my wife. She was spending a lot of time with him, sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and Kathy was such a support for my wife and for all of us, really. She was just a super sweet dog. There is also a current dog in training named Blanche, and if I was ever given the opportunity to keep one of the dogs, she’s the one. She’s a Mary Poppins dog: practically perfect in every way. She’s really special to me. One of the great parts of fostering for EAC is flexibility and support. For example, if we have to go out of town, or even just on vacation, they find another foster home as a backup. We never have to worry about that. Although when it was appropriate we have taken a couple of the dogs with us on vacation. It really gives you a different perspective. I consider myself a dog person and I have always had a dog, but when you have a Service Dog it’s completely different. When you have a pet dog you leave them home when you go out, but your service dog stays with you all the time. And there are situations that occur that a regular person like me wouldn’t have predicted. It is not always easy and the challenges are really eye-opening - like the logistics of using a public restroom! For anyone considering fostering for EAC, I would say it is a wonderful opportunity. It is a win-win situation for both the foster family and EAC. It is such a wonderful program and the work the dogs do literally saves their person's life. The dog has a very big, important purpose, and you become part of that. And because the dogs all come from organizations that provide excellent training, they are very well behaved. The only real caution is that you have to prepare to have your heartstrings pulled because they are just super dogs.
Also, EAC provides everything you need to be a foster for them. So there is no expense to you, and they are very flexible if you have travel needs or something comes up. I foresee ourselves doing this for as long as EAC is around because it is such a great program. The dogs become part of our family when they are with us and, and you can see after a day or two that they just return that affection right back to us. It is really an awesome experience," said Chip.