At SMTP2GO we pride ourselves on being a company with a heart.
As well as donating to multiple charities at home and abroad, our staff is encouraged to take a day once a year to volunteer for a cause close to their heart.
In Louise’s case, that means puppies!
Louise’s Staff Volunteer Day
“Working for SMTP2GO and working from home means I have a really unique opportunity to do what I love best, which is looking after little guys like Kristoff. In the five and a half years that I’ve worked with SMTP2GO, I’ve fostered 64 abandoned puppies and kittens. Some of them have needed bottle-feeding because they’ve been newborn. Others have been about 3 or 4 weeks when they’ve come to us and they all stay with us until they’re ready to be adopted. For some, that might be eight weeks, twelve weeks, for others we’ve had them until they were about six or seven months.
So, all of this is on top of our regular family. We have two dogs, three cats, two chinchillas, a tortoise, and our most recent addition which is a Betta fish. All of these plus the fosters means that things can get a little bit crazy and it means that without being at home all day every day, it wouldn’t be possible to do it.
Kristoff was one of a litter of 11 puppies who were found abandoned in a cardboard box in Madrid. Six of them went to live with one foster family, we got Kristoff and his two sisters Elsa and Anna, and two more went to another foster home. They came to us when they were three weeks and they’re about nine weeks old now, and Kristoff is due to go to his new home in a couple of days! Anna and Elsa have already been adopted which means that I get a few more days of cuddles with this little guy.
Yesterday, on my volunteer day, I went out to the El Campito shelter and I got to meet with the adopters of Elsa and Anna. We did all of the paperwork, we got the puppies microchipped, got them checked over by the vet, and made sure that they were healthy before going to stay with their new families.
In my spare time (not that there’s a lot of it!) I also work as a dog trainer. It means that when I meet with the adopters, I’m able to spend time explaining to them what is involved in taking care of a puppy and I can give them help on best practices on how to look after puppies or kittens, to give them the best start in life. Obviously, once they’ve been adopted, if the adopters have any questions, if they need any help, they can always get in touch.
So… What’s Involved in Being a Foster Home?
Fostering an animal involves taking care of them in a home environment until they’re ready to be adopted. Life in kennels or a pound can be extremely stressful for any animal. Young, weak, or older animals have a much greater risk of getting sick. By fostering an animal in a home environment, it helps them to get used to their new life once they’ve been adopted much quicker. They learn valuable life skills and they receive crucial socialization.
The Importance of Socialization
Socialization is especially important for puppies. Puppies have an open socialization period of about 16 weeks, during which they don’t experience fear like they would in later life. When puppies grow up in a shelter or a pound environment, they’re isolated from a lot of the stimuli that they might later experience in a home. This can result in fears and unwanted behaviors as adolescents and adults. By raising puppies in foster homes, we’re exposing them to things like other people, other animals, children, sounds, bikes, and cars. By teaching them that they’re nothing to fear as puppies, will also help them later on in life.
Fostering Isn’t Easy… But It’s Always Worth It!
Soon after the puppies arrived, we realized that Elsa was having problems eating. We took her to the vet and he suspected that she had megaesophagus, which is a condition that means that she can’t swallow food properly. We had to feed her four times a day in an upright position, and we had to keep her in that position for 30 minutes afterward too. We tried a lot of things like feeding her in a bucket, in our arms, even in a pint glass. In the end, though, a friend bought us a doll carrier and it worked perfectly! Luckily, after a few weeks, we were able to slowly reintroduce her to eating normally and she’s been fine since.
Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy…
I mean, while the puppies are with you, they become part of the family. Wherever I go, the puppies go, and since I don’t have a car, I often need to get creative with my daughter’s old stroller and baby carriers. But… it’s always worth it.
After 6 weeks, the big day finally arrived and it was time to say goodbye… We loaded the puppies into the car and headed to the shelter. While we were there, we made some new friends! (I wanted to take the little chocolate bonbon home with me!) And, the puppies got to meet their new families for the first time! After the papers were signed, and the puppies were microchipped, then it was time for them to go home.
So, while these guys have gotten their happy ending… it means that I’ve got space for another litter of puppies in the future!”
Thanks, SMTP2GO, for helping me to help them!