Did you know that Born Again Pit Bull Rescue doesn’t actually have a physical building or facility to keep our dogs in? It’s true! Instead we rely on a network of foster homes to love and care for our dogs until they can be matched up with their ideal forever family. We affectionately refer to these temporary homes as Pit Stops, since that’s exactly what they are — a pit stop for a dog that’s on its journey home! Sometimes it’s just a quick pit stop, sometimes a little longer, but it’s essential to what we do as an organization — and so are the generous foster families that open up their homes to the dogs in need. This series is designed to introduce you, our faithful readers, to some of these amazing people.
Next up, meet Mary Mandeville…
BAPBR: How long have you been fostering?
My family and I have been fostering for BAPBR since May of 2012, and we’ve fostered nine puppies in that time! Overall, however, we’ve been doing this for about thirteen years.
BAPBR: What drew you to fostering in the first place?
Our first foster experience began one rainy day when we found an emaciated red-nose red pit bull momma and her five puppies abandoned at Kelley Point Park in North Portland. It was literally freezing outside, so we took them to the Humane Society. They told us the dogs would have to go to animal control if they couldn’t find a foster home — that afternoon, we became the foster home! We adopted one of those pups and he lived with us until his death from cancer in 2011. We fostered more puppies from the Oregon Humane Society, a few personal fosters that came through friends or acquaintances and more through Fences for Fido.
BAPBR: How did you hear about BAPBR?
All of our current dogs are pit bull type dogs. Ever since the lovely red-nose red mentioned above, we have been devotees of the breed. I saw a plea on Facebook for foster homes for puppies, filled out an application and haven’t stopped having BAPBR puppies since!
BAPBR: ‘Fess up- ever foster-fail?
Are you kidding? We kept one of the red-nose’s pups, and all three of our current dogs started out as fosters! One off the street through a friend — we were just going to keep her for a few days and that was eight-and-a-half years ago; one I watched someone drop out of a car at Kelley Point Park in the sunrise hours of a summer morning and then speed away; and an adorable foster pup who came through Fences for Fido — we had him all of three weeks before we caved and now he’s two years old!
So far, so good with letting go of the recent puppies, tho. Great work on finding excellent homes by BAPBR makes it palatable, if not easy, to let the puppies go. We had a rough go with a recent blue puppy, and it was a good thing an awesome family came along when they did. We had all started making excuses for having 4 dogs!
BAPBR: Who is part of your permanent family?
There’s me, Mary; Kim, my partner; and our sons Brandon and Tim, both adopted from the Oregon foster care system. The three foster-fails are Isabella, a 9-year-old brindle pittie; Kelley, a beauty of a red pittie, approximately 4-and-a-half years old; and Barney Rubble, a two-year-old tiger-brindle pittie. Oh yeah — and a 9-year-old Australian bearded dragon. We used to have chickens, but Barney Rubble thought they looked like dinner, and well, they were.
BAPBR: Are you currently fostering?
Our current foster pups are Johnny and June Cash — in search of their forever homes!
BAPBR: What’s your best former-foster-story?
I guess my favorite foster story is also my first — a bony-thin and bone-weary red-nose red momma dog approached Kim one freezing cold February day in 2000. Kim, afraid of pit bulls at the time, initially shooed her away so she could put our Labs in the car. The skinny, shivering dog turned and began to slink away. Once our Labs were safely in the van, Kim turned, knelt down and called the cold dog to her. Just then, three tiny black heads popped out of the bushes. Within a few minutes, we realized there were a total of five puppies that mom must have been in the process of moving.
We were able to gather the dogs all up and drive them to the Oregon Humane Society, where, as I mentioned, they said they couldn’t keep the dog and her litter — unless they could find a foster home. But, they told us, they didn’t have any foster homes available. By three in the afternoon, we had completed the paperwork and picked up the dog and her pups, along with some food and blankets and stuff.
The red dog — we called her Rosie, but the woman who adopted her and still loves her today named her Molly — was an epic example of courage and grace under fire. Never aggressive with us or our dogs, even hungry — close to starving — and with puppies. The puppies grew up to be 80 to 100 pound dogs — one of those pups was one of my favorite dogs ever, my canine main man. I blogged about him for the better part of a year while he lived brilliantly and surprisingly long on natural medicine after diagnosis with lymphoma.
BAPBR: Any advice for someone considering fostering?
I have some puppy-specific advice: arrange for extra garbage service; put your shoes and slippers up, way up; sleep extra before they come; don’t bother pruning plants, they’ll do it for you; have potty-parties when pups pee and poop outside; buy enzyme stain and odor remover, in fact, take out stock in the company; plan time for holding babies on your lap, nothing sweeter; get ready for kisses and tiny super-sharp teeth; spend plenty of time with your own dog or dogs; and every puppy you let go means another one saved.
Fostering puppies is a lot of work and a lot of fun. If you have a phobia of pee, poop or work, you won’t like it. Otherwise, it’s swell and rewarding!
BAPBR: Go on and give one last extra plug for your current fosters — you know you want to!
June is the cutest little thing. A pit bull mix, she has floppy ears and the markings of a shepherd or Rottweiler in black and tan. Smart, active and sweet, she likes to snuggle with her head on a shoulder or lap. She wants an active life with an involved family. She loves to follow us upstairs and downstairs, inside and outside, and is curious about everything. I have even caught her watching TV.
Johnny is shiny black, sleek, and looks all pittie though he and June are litter mates. Johnny is a little shy of new people and doesn’t love to be picked up, but he has learned the pleasures of snuggling and will curl up close to one of his current people and snore through a nap. Both will be make great dogs for active experienced dog people with time to spend with their dog.