In just a little over 24 hours, our latest addition to our family will be here! When I say “our family” that consists of me, my husband (Mathew) and our 5yr old fur babe, Tilly.
Before you follow along on our journey with Carina, I thought it’d be best if I introduced myself. How I got involved with the volunteering and ending up with Carina! Quite honestly, it’s a case of “meant to be”
(Mathew, Me and Tilly)
So as you may already know, my name is Katie. I’m 33 years old. I have been married 4 ½ years to Mathew and my deep love for Pit Bull type breeds really began when I first laid eyes on Tilly. Our family lost a very special 4 legged family member named Chip. We don’t know for sure what breed of dog he was, but we knew he had some sort of Pit breed in him. So after he passed and we were ready to adopt another dog, along came Tilly. At the time I had little knowledge about the breed. She was listed as an “American Staffordshire Terrier”. But it was her resemblance to Chip that drew me to her. She was ours a couple weeks later.
As my bond with Tilly grew, so did my love for the Pit Bull. (Of course I am using that as a blanket term that covers many bully breeds). I began to research and learn more and more about this beautiful, strong breed. Tilly’s personality definitely fit the description of a pit bull. Affectionate, extremely smart and stubborn! As I continued to learn about her I began becoming more attracted to Pit Bull stories, the Facebook Pit Bull groups. I began following these pages regularly. Two of these pages were the Facebook pages “Cleveland Pitties” and “City Dogs Cleveland”. I was always sharing their posts along with positive stories on Pit Bulls, and without even realizing, advocating for the breed.
It was around early July when I received a friend request from one of the page admins for “Cleveland PItties” (CP). I don’t normally accept friend requests from random people but saw she was from CP and I accepted her request. Upon talking with her, I learned that CP was a networking page for “City Dogs Cleveland” and that they could use some help creating collages of the dogs that are from City Dogs. I was beyond excited to start helping them. I jumped on board pretty quickly and started busting out picture collages like it was my job. I honestly took it as seriously as a job!
A few weeks after “joining the team” it was time for one of my regular hospital stays. These are a normal part of my life now. I am in the hospital about every2-4 months for treatment for a disease called Cystic Fibrosis (It is an inherited life-threatening disorder that damages mainly the lungs and digestive system). You may or may have noticed that earlier in my intro I did not divulge what I do for a living. And this is why. Because of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and the many other health issues that have stemmed from CF. I eventually had to quit my job of 8 years in the medical field. One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make for I took a lot of pride in my work. After a few years not working, I began to lose a lot of self-worth. As my health issues have begun to get worse I’ve became pretty housebound. Between pain, fatigue and just not feeling well, home is where you can find me most days. So during my most recent hospital stay, I devoted a lot of time to Cleveland Pitties. I had a lot of time on my hands, as you can imagine, being in the hospital for almost a month. My volunteering with Cleveland Pitties, led me to become involved with City Dogs Cleveland. I was able to come home from my hospital stay a week or so before the next “New Volunteer Orientation” for City Dogs Cleveland. I was so happy to be able to attend this orientation because that was the first stepping stone to becoming an official volunteer.
Shortly after that orientation meeting, I was at the kennel doing one of the programs they offer which is passing out Kong’s to the dogs at the shelter. There is a very precise routine in this line of volunteering and I love it. As I became more active as a volunteer for CITY DOGS CLEVELAND, my passion for these dogs grew even more.
And here is where Carina enters the picture. The situation for heartworm positive Carina was becoming more and more dire. This beautiful, sweet girl needed a foster and badly. It never really crossed my mind to become a foster parent seeing as we had Tilly, who can be quite “dog selective” so when filling out my CITY DOGS CLEVELAND volunteer form, I never even checked off as being interested in being a foster.
One night while posting on my personal FB page the desperate need Carina needed for a foster, the stirring in my heart to be that foster was so overwhelmingly strong. I knew in my heart, we were meant to do this. The decision to foster Carina was made quite quickly between my husband and me. Fortunately “Forget Me Not Animal Rescue” was willing to pull Carina from CITY DOGS CLEVELAND as a foster if both my husband and I were serious about taking on this responsibility. And we were.
So here we are, a day away from picking up Carina and becoming her foster parents. Have you ever heard the saying “Who rescued who?” when it comes to a rescue animal? Well this saying couldn’t possibly hold any more truth for me. Becoming a volunteer and dedicating my time to these dogs has truly saved me mentally. I was at the point of feeling so trapped in my own body. My mind wanted to do so much but my body just doesn’t allow it. These dogs have given back my sense of self-worth. Before becoming involved with “Cleveland Pitties” and “CITY DOGS CLEVELAND” I began questioning, what is my purpose now? Surely there must be some place for me in this world. I’m so happy to say, that the dogs have given me the answer to that question that has been bothering me for so long.
Fostering is a brand new endeavor for both Mathew and I. We are excited and nervous at the same time. It’s a whole new ball game for us! But we are ready. Ready to learn. Ready to love and ready to share this experience with you all. This blog will keep you updated on the progress of Carina as well as hopefully an informative tool for you to learn about this whole process. So stay tuned. Our adventure begins on Saturday! I will be keeping you posted!