I first learned about PAALS about 4 years ago from a neighbor who was temporarily housing one of their puppies. When I learned that service dogs were being trained just four houses away from mine, I definitely wanted to get involved. My only hesitation was that I had a dog of my own who, in the past, had exhibited some pretty aggressive behavior with some other dogs. I worried that we wouldn’t be able to bring a PAALS dog into our home without some issues. It turns out my fears were unwarranted. The PAALS dogs are so friendly and easygoing that my dog, Birt, never had any problems letting them share his home for the weekend.
Being a PAALS volunteer and weekend foster has obvious benefits for any dog lover – you get to interact with beautiful, friendly, loving dogs. Honestly that was the main draw for me. I didn’t count on the incredible feeling of satisfaction you get from seeing a dog matched with a client. These dogs make a huge difference in people’s lives and it’s a great feeling to know that you played a small part in making that happen.
Over the years, my husband and I have had dozens of PAALS dogs in our home and they’ve all been wonderful houseguests. Each has their own quirks and idiosyncrasies, but they are all eager to please, affectionate and well behaved. They are a joy to have around!
People often ask how we can stand to get attached to these dogs knowing that we will have to give them up when they get placed with a client. I won’t tell you that we’re not a little sad when that time comes, but it’s so exciting to see them matched with someone who truly needs their help. And the next dog we foster is always just as wonderful as the last….just in a new way!