Foster Turned Forever

By Taylor Mundy

Some pets need a little extra TLC or are too young for adoption. To help them grow big, strong and healthy, many pets join the SPCA foster program. The SPCA provides all the supplies and fosters open their hearts and homes until the pet is ready for their forever family.

But sometimes things don’t go as planned.

This, my friends, is affectionally called a foster failure.

While it is technically a failure because foster placements are meant to be temporary, this is also a big success. It usually means you fell hopelessly in love and the pet has found their perfect match.

And this is exactly what happened with Rufus and Rick.

Rufus was an adorable black Shepherd Labrador mix. He was experiencing separation anxiety which would cause him to sometimes pee in the house. To help with his socialization, he joined the SPCA foster program and was matched up with Rick. “The first time I met Rufus was while I was volunteering at the SPCA walking dogs,” Rick remembered. “Cocoa, our family dog, inspired us to go to the SPCA and help less fortunate dogs. I wanted to get into fostering so I agreed to foster Rufus.”

“When we first brought Rufus home he was nervous,” Rick recalled. “He peed a little in the house. The poor guy had been returned a few times because of those issues. With daily exercise, love, and understanding that we weren’t going to just up and leave him, all those issued were fixed.”

When it came time for Rufus to go up for adoption, Rick and his family couldn’t stop thinking about what a great dog he was. “I knew deep down Rufus wasn’t going anywhere,” Rick smiled. Rufus had already found his forever family so they made it official.

“Rufus taught me and my son the joy and unconditional love a dog brings to your life,” Rick exclaimed. “The loving you just for you, no matter what you have or don’t have. Rufus taught us how much we love and need dogs in our lives.”

That’s not all. Rufus also taught his forever family how to live in the moment.

“We used to go to White Point every summer,” shared Rick. “The first time Rufus came with us was not long after we first adopted him. I’ll never forget that one night while we we’re sitting on the beach I look over at Rufus and he was sitting up looking over the water as the fresh ocean breeze washed over his face. You could literally see the appreciation he had to be experiencing the freedom of sitting on a beach and taking in all the smells. It wouldn’t be the only time throughout his life I’d catch him truly living in the moment, but it was the first time I witnessed it and it’s a special memory.”

Rufus and his fur-sister Cocoa were inseparable. Whether it was trying to jump through the window at Tim Hortons to grab a timbit or they were cuddling up with Rick’s son, the pups were always making the family smile and laugh.

But sadly, after a long, happy life, Rufus passed on. Five months later, Cocoa joined Rufus at Rainbow Bridge. “It was always Cocoa and Rufus together,” Rick grieved. “There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about them. We miss them and are forever grateful for the paw prints they both left on our hearts.”

Inspired by Rufus and Cocoa, the family turned their compassion into action and made a generous donation to the SPCA. They also kindly treated the staff and volunteers to gift cards for a local pizza shop.

“Me and my son were inspired to donate to the SPCA because the work you guys do is meaningful,” gushed Rick. “We thought it would be nice for all of you to know that without the dedication and hard work both physically and emotionally that you all put in, beautiful souls like Rufus wouldn’t have the chance to live the life they deserve.”

“Not to mention all the memories that we would never have gotten to experience if you guys didn’t take the time to help him find his forever home,” Rick continued. “Those 2 reasons are priceless. There is no donation big enough to say thank you enough for that.”

Fostering for Rick and his family was truly life changing. And for Rufus, and other homeless pets, Rick’s family and their support is lifesaving.



Taylor Mundy

Taylor is the Communications & Development Officer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-mama to Bonnie and Clyde. She is passionate about raising awareness and funds for local animals in need.