Contributed by Jessica Caplette, Foster, Fur Sisters Furever Urs Rescue
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it seems appropriate to spend some time reflecting on the things in our lives that we are grateful for, the things that fulfill us. Gratitude inspires kindness, connection and for some, positive life changes. We need more of it in this world. Many of us spent at least some portion of our lives looking outward and came to realize with age and wisdom that the most important things aren’t things at all. One of the things I am most grateful for is my extended foster dog family. I am forever thankful for all of the love and lessons each new foster brings into our home and the amazing people that I get to meet and keep in touch with over a shared love for a dog. And even though our fosters come and go, our foster dogs complete our home.
Gratitude accompanies love, happiness, humility and the desire to pay it forward. It was my search to pay it forward that led me to Fur Sisters Rescue. I had just lost my 17-year-old dog Lexi and we had just beat round two of cancer with my other dog Max. I was feeling inspired and thankful, and I felt that I needed to do something to show it. That was 1 year 7 months, and 22 foster dogs ago (Remi, Josie, Bella, Downtown Puppy, Puppies 1-3, Mollie, Mya, Puppy 1 and 2, Jackson, Bryce, Luna, Dex, Peanut, Bear, Blue, Maxi, Emmie, Maddie and Harper)!!!
Watching my “unwanted” fosters transform with love, patience and understanding is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life and it makes me a better person. It challenges me, humbles me, and helps me keep perspective. Dogs are remarkable teachers. They are resilient, healing with a little love and kindness. They are forgiving, always willing to give second chances. They are happy with the basics; food, water, shelter and companionship. And they are grateful for the simple things in life, a walk, the sunshine, a car ride or just being in the same room with someone. They have taught me to always show love, find the humor in life, eat the food, give the kiss, don’t be afraid to look like a fool, love can mean letting go, forgiveness is possible, and nothing smells worse than a dog fart. Despite their lack of opposable thumbs and their inability to read, dogs are pretty bad ass scholars of life.
But as wonderful as dogs are, we are still euthanizing them for space at shelters. The animal shelters in Northern Florida are overcrowded and insufficiently funded, especially the rural shelters. Kelly Krehbiel started Fur Sisters Rescue in 2016 to combat overpopulation and reduce euthanasia rates. And while Fur Sisters isn’t location or breed specific, Kelly has a soft spot in her heart for the underdogs at the rural shelters. Fur Sisters has saved over 1,000 dogs using a network of foster homes and supported by funding based solely on donations. Kelly is an incredible human being and she works tirelessly because there are so many dogs that need help. She truly believes in the rescue’s mission and works hard to educate and involve her community. Her drive and compassion for the dogs is contagious and despite all her accomplishments she remains humble and grateful for her village. “Rescue is my passion and it’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. Dogs that have been abandoned or mistreated deserve another chance at a happy life. They are worthy of love and compassion and they teach me how to be a better person. We can all learn something from the unconditional love of a dog.”
The rescue community is always looking for volunteers, donations and foster homes. It truly takes a village! “You can do something big or you can do something small. Because whatever you do…it’s better than nothing at all.” Reach out to Fur Sisters Rescue and find out how you can pay it forward.
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