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Fostering Ginger

I met Lisa Begin Kruysman through the Dog Writer’s Association of America. She is an accomplished, award-winning writer who has written five books, 220 blog posts, and manages the Facebook page for National Dog Week. I am excited to welcome her as my first guest contributor as she shares her experience fostering a special dog named Ginger.

Fostering New Vistas

By Lisa Begin Kruysman

I’m always heartened by the way foster dogs come to find new starts in happy and safe homes. Without any say in the matter (like many humans) some puppies are born wanted even before they enter the world; fortunate to enjoy a comfortable long life with their original families. Others are not so fortunate; starting out life okay, but circumstances change and they find themselves with an uncertain future. Some dogs are abused and
neglected outright; wandering from home, with no one bothering to look for them, and still others are deliberately dumped on highways, in parks, or outside of overcrowded shelters.

Each homeless dog has a unique and moving story; unfortunately, those trying to help them can never truly know what these dogs have been through. Those who rescue just do their best to heal the physical and emotional “baggage” they’ve inherited.

In December 2013, in an effort to write about the process, I tried my hand at fostering with a little dog named Ginger. Ginger had been transported north from Appalachia, rescued by a woman named Martha Gayle Reece, who sadly passed not too long ago. Martha had a true Rescue Heart, sharing with me her wrenching stories about her trips to a local shelter when she had to make the weighty decision as to which dogs she thought could be
rehomed, knowing the others faced a very different fate. I truly miss our conversations; she had so much to offer.

Back to that dog named Ginger, an unusual-looking little creature. Because she had been found so matted, her muzzle had been shaved. With her fuzzy copper coat, and pointy nose, she resembled a Red Fox. I felt bad for this little girl who was so torn between wanting to be cuddled, and seeking safety in the back of my closet. Her previous life on the street had gotten her into the practice of sleeping while sitting up, often near our front door ready for a quick escape if needed. She was so desperate for love and affection, but had come to fear its source.

My “Foster Coach” Lisa, mentored me through my first foster experience. I took each of Ginger’s adoption applications seriously, wanting her to go to the right home. I found this surprisingly difficult, but just after a few days, Lisa suggested that an older gentleman who lived in town, might just be the perfect match.

As the applicant had been “vetted” my job was to make the special delivery. On a cold afternoon in January, Lisa accompanied me for Ginger’s Rehoming Day. Although Ginger had only been with me for just a few days, I was surprised at my emotional response of letting her go. But I found a way to keep my emotions in check. Lisa even mentioned how calm I was, but I felt I had just done my job, I am tough, (and I’m a good “hider”).

After saying goodbye to my little friend, I needed some alone time. Instead of going directly home, I took a random ride. The Township in which I reside is sprawling, and my Ginger delivery had brought me to an unfamiliar section of town.  In an area of generally flat terrain typical of the Jersey Shore region, I discovered a “hidden” hilly section of my town where gracious homes stood on high points offering beautiful sweeping views of the river and beyond. How could I have lived in a place for almost 17 years and not have ever seen this?

Taking in the scenery, I thought about all the displaced pets in the world and those who dedicated themselves to making their lives, and subsequently the lives of humans, better. They did so every day, and I felt honored to share their work with the world.

The events of the week, and of this day, spoke to me on many levels. In doing something new, and challenging, such as fostering a dog, new vistas had literally and figuratively had been presented to me. What other new places, people or horizons waited? If I allowed myself to
wander off the beaten path more often, I just might find out.

Lisa with her rescue dog, Teddy

Lisa Begin-Kruysman came to writing late-in-life. At age fifty, wanting to author her first book, she sought a topic that fascinated her; that topic was dogs. She thought it would be a nice and easy way to spend her time before she realized that the world of dogs and publishing was far more complex than she first suspected! Using her degree in Psychology, experience as a Human Resources Associate in the entertainment industry and discipline developed working as a self-employed fine artist for over two decades, she persevered and within five years, had written five books and 220 blog posts to-date. In her mission to promote National Dog Week, she maintains a Facebook page dedicated to honoring its 89 year history and sharing its relevance with a new generation. She likes to say the page is growing by “Leaps and Hounds”. When not writing, she enjoys spending time at her home/studio at the Jersey Shore with her husband Rich and foster-to-forever dog, Teddy. Her writing has won awards, including the Maxwell Medallion and the North Shore Animal League America Award granted by the Dog Writers Association of America. Currently, she has several projects that are waiting to be revealed to the world! Please LIKE and follow her Author Page to keep posted on new developments.



  1. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat
    March 24, 2017 / 5:36 am

    It's amazing that our furbabies (or temporary furbabies) can lead us exactly where we need to go. Bear changed my life profoundly by leading me in directions I had no idea I needed to heal and live my life. Even more amazing to me … he was a homeless kitten who just crossed my path one day. WOW. That short interaction changed my life … Animals are amazing … and by opening our hearts to them, we also open our hearts to life … so precious … so priceless … so beautiful!

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:39 am

      I am glad you both found each other.

  2. Mark Muller
    March 24, 2017 / 7:49 am

    that was so touching to read about ginger…

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 24, 2017 / 2:05 pm

      Thanks Mark. I am glad you enjoyed her story. We hear she has done well in her new home!

  3. Yamini MacLean
    March 24, 2017 / 11:52 am

    Hari OMFostering, whether human or animal, is one of the noblest acts in the world; it requires such a strength of character to be able to deal with the incoming troubles and to release the fostered in due course. Most of all, it requires the capital 'ell' Love in shovelfuls!!! YAM xx

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:42 pm

      True. When we take the "I" out of it, we can do so much for others. Thank you. Lisa B-K

  4. Marg
    March 24, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    Fostering is such a wonderful thing for these animals that need homes. I sure do admire the people that do the fostering.

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:45 pm

      If you have the lifestyle and time for it, yes. I highly recommend. Thank you. Lisa B-k (I am having issues with commenting, sorry!)

  5. Lisa Begin-Kruysman
    March 24, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Thanks for having me on as your first guest poster, Kristin, and for sharing a writer's "lesson" and a foster/adoption success story. As I mentioned in a previous reply, Ginger and her new Dad bonded and she has enjoyed a good life I am told. Maybe I'll get back over to that side of town one day!

  6. Madi and Mom
    March 24, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    What a beautiful post. Foster parents to children and pets are angels on earth.Hugs madi and mom

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      Yes. I am sure there are those who have done both. Thank you. Lisa BK

  7. Brian
    March 24, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Fosters are so wonderful and are super, super people!!!

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:49 pm

      God Bless! Thank you. Lisa B-K

  8. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    March 24, 2017 / 5:21 pm

    Another wonderful story for us. Makes us smile. Ginger was a lucky pup!Woos – Misty and Lightning

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you. This is a terrific blog site. Lisa Begin-Kruysman

  9. Idaho PugRanch
    March 24, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    Thank you for introducing to Lisa. People who foster are special people. we are happy that Ginger found a good homehugsMr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:54 pm

      Thanks Pug Ranch. We who are in the Dog World are aware, but many are not, elsewhere. I try to use my writing to educate and enlighten. Lisa Begin-Kruysman

  10. Carleenp
    March 24, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    Very touching story. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      Thanks Carleen. Lisa B-K

  11. Bella Roxy & Macdui
    March 24, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    Fostering is fantastic work. It must be so hard to let go of an abused dog, hoping that it is going to the right place.

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      It is very easy to bond quickly and become a bit over protective. I was surprised by that, but foster veterans learn how to be resilient and more objective. The truth is, nothing is guaranteed in life. Thank you, Lisa B-K

  12. M. K. Clinton
    March 24, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    I would like to think fostering would be a good fit for me but I somehow think I'd be a foster failure. It is such a wonderful way to help dogs and cats in need. ♥

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:02 pm

      The trick is to understand your place in the process, and remembering that you are making a difference in the world. Thank you, Lisa B-K

  13. Hindy Pearson
    March 24, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    Thanks for your beautiful story, and for raising awareness about fostering. Most people I mention it to have never heard of it, so articles like this will help. I admit I am a foster failure many times over, but I am now on foster #3 in the past 3 months, and I have managed to let them go to their forever homes. Of course they were all young and my heart lies with the oldies, so if one came my way I probably wouldn't let them go. Thanks again for sharing – fostering saves lives!!

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      I like to call it Foster Fulfillment, if your home is the right home for the foster, then you have fulfilled your obligation! Everyone is happy. Thanks for being a foster and fulfilling your heart goal! Lisa B-K

  14. Tenacious Little Terrier
    March 24, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    Ginger found a home in record time! Do you still foster?

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      Yes, that was due to a wonderful networking group. We actually kept our next dog, most know about our little Teddy who will be coming to BlogPaws in May. Like our pets, we humans are often at the mercy of fate, and circumstances brought my husband and I back to the workplace. When I painted and wrote ft from home, it was a perfect situation for fostering. But a storm literally washed that life away. Someday, I'll find my way back to it.

  15. Debbie Bailey
    March 24, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    Fostering is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. We have fostered many dogs over the years and no two journeys are the same. We've had fearful dogs, happy go lucky love everyone dogs, fearful dogs, dog aggressive dogs, sad dogs and a really really emaciated dog. What always blows my mind is their resilience. Once they realize they're safe, you can really see them open up and blossom into this wonderful, loving, grateful creature. We always say that the "first sleep" is the most magical. It's that first night that a foster is out of the shelter and feel safe in their foster home. There's a peacefulness to it that is unparalleled. Sorry to blab.. Great story! Thanks for sharing.

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:14 pm

      Thanks Debbie. When encouraging fostering you bring up a good point. Are there children in the family, what is the scope of your experience dealing with them, etc. A bad experience can hurt these programming. Love the "First Sleep" – I wrote a PB (unpublished) showing "Teddy" accepting his new bed on the first night in his new home (he's not so sure at first). It can get so complex, but I am glad you've enjoyed your experiences.

  16. Feline Opines
    March 24, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    Wonderful article! We've fostered felines and also are great supporters of an organization called Dogs on Deployment ( that helps service members find folks to foster their dogs (and cats) while they are deployed. And fostering animals is tax deductible, I'd call that a win-win situation!!

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      Thanks F.O.! Dogs on Deployment and groups like them are remarkable. I know of a young serviceman who served in the Middle East only to come home to find his family had moved and had to leave his beloved cat behind because they felt they had no options. It happens more often than most know. Thanks for all you efforts! Lisa Begin-Kruysman

  17. Jana Rade
    March 24, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    We hope to foster some time in near future. Right now we have to take care of our living conditions first.

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:24 pm

      That's key. You must be physically and emotionally "set up" to foster in the right spirit. I hope that happens for you in due course. Thank you! Lisa Begin-Kruysman

  18. Jeanne Pursell
    March 25, 2017 / 10:12 am

    What a wonderful story! We need more of the "good news" stories in today's world!!

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks. I've written about this topic for kids. I will share in another comment space! Yes, we do need to spread the good news with our blogs and books, etc. Lisa B-K

  19. meowmeowmans
    March 25, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    What a lovely and special post. We are thankful that Ginger found her happily ever after, and super grateful for fosters like Lisa. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:29 pm

      Thanks Meow! Fostering brought a very special dog into our lives, we can foster just once in a while, every little efforts. These days I serve as a pet sitter for some friends and neighbors. It's funny how we get bonded to them, also, and vice versa! Lisa Begin-Kruysman

  20. Nichole Burke
    March 25, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    People always ask how we can let them go… it's never easy, but it means I can help to save another life.

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:33 pm

      Exactly Nichole. That is the goal, isn't it. There will always be another pet to love and if one happens to stay with us, let them be foster ambassadors for all the ones to come! Thanks for all you do. Lisa Begin-Kruysman

  21. Anonymous
    March 25, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    Thanks for all the reads and comments. As a blogger, I realize how many posts there are to read and leave comments. I wrote a book for Grades 3-5 titles When We Fostered Furley (Book One of the "A Collar and a Dream" series). It was self-published and is available as a e-book and in softcover. Sarah Parker of Sadie & Co. gave it such a nice review. I am always grateful for these opportunities to share my work with so many. Thank you for all your contributions in the world. Keep up the good work. Lisa Begin-Kruysman for National Dog Week.

    • Anonymous
      March 25, 2017 / 1:40 pm

      And of course…one more big shout out of thanks to Kristin Avery for having me in as her First Guest Blogger. May there be many more guests to come and share!

  22. Alison Reder
    March 25, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    Fostering is simultaneously the most challenging and rewarding experience. I only wish I had had a "foster coach" to walk me through letting go of my first foster. It was heart-wrenching to let Rosie go but, thankfully, her new family has stayed in touch and I have been able to see first hand that she is happy, healthy and exactly where she is supposed to be. Helping Rosie find her forever home, made room in my home for my second foster, Piper who ended up being a permanent part of my family. I look forward to fostering again!

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 26, 2017 / 4:04 pm

      That is a nice feature of this group. It also helped that Lisa lives in my town and Ginger's future home just happened to be here, also. Funny how that worked out. Our second foster stayed with us as well, and then life changed and so our fostering days were "pawsed". They will return again and I am glad you have Piper. If we aren't actively fostering, we can write and share our stories to encourage it. Thank you, Lisa Begin-Kruysman

  23. Three Chatty Cats
    March 26, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    What a great guest post. The idea of a foster coach is wonderful. And that picture of Ginger is stunning.

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 27, 2017 / 1:37 pm

      Thank you! Yes, love the guidance and advice of a seasoned foster "Mom" or just having someone to make inquiries and "vent" if needed.

  24. M Dawson
    March 26, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    Some people won't foster because they have to give back, but I think this means you make more rom for another cat in need so I am happy always to foster.

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 27, 2017 / 1:38 pm

      We do love them all and some just seem to call to you; love the "next" one and you'll always have a love-filled home! Thanks Marjorie!

  25. Raising Your Pets Naturally with Tonya Wilhelm
    March 27, 2017 / 1:01 am

    What a great idea to have a foster coach/mentor! That's so important. Great article and thank you for opening your heart.

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 27, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      I think just knowing I had back up was helpful because it is a major responsibility taking an unknown pet into your home. Thank you!

  26. Lola The Rescued Cat
    March 27, 2017 / 1:25 am

    What a beautiful story. My hope is to have a home large enough to be able to foster some day.

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 27, 2017 / 1:58 pm

      Yes. I don't have a fenced in yard for example, so I can't just open the door and let a pup out to run around. Next house, perhaps. Thank you.

  27. Sweet Purrfections
    March 27, 2017 / 3:02 am

    I've known many people who have successfully fostered and adopted rescued dogs.

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 27, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      Last year, when I presented my book When We Fostered Furley to a Fifth Grade audience, I was surprised by the number of students that knew about fostering or were fosters! Thanks.

  28. Robin
    March 27, 2017 / 5:54 am

    Those who have the ability to foster pets are amazing! Some of the pets that come into a rescue have a lot of baggage in their past and they can be rough around the edges. It takes a lot of love and patience to teach these pets that not all humans are bad. It sounds like Lisa has done a great job!

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 27, 2017 / 2:00 pm

      Some dogs, like humans, are a little more complex and have had more difficult life situations. Patience is key, you are right, Robin. Thank you.

  29. Beth
    March 27, 2017 / 6:03 am

    I have never fostered, but I would love to someday. I think it must be tough to say goodbye but also so incredibly rewarding!

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 27, 2017 / 2:01 pm

      It is rewarding to know you gave them a good beginning to go on to their new lives and some family will be very happy somewhere. Thank you.

  30. Cathy Armato
    March 27, 2017 / 5:47 pm

    Wonderful post! I loved the dogs I fostered. Although it is never easy letting your foster go to a new home, it's so rewarding knowing you helped them get to that point and you can now help the next foster dog!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 30, 2017 / 3:25 pm

      Thanks Cathy! I am glad fostering was such a good experience for you! Lisa BK

  31. Jenna,Mark Drady
    March 27, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    Great story! I love anything to do with fostering a pet, it really does make such a huge difference!

    • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
      March 30, 2017 / 3:26 pm

      Thanks Jenna! Always good to be able to add to those stories! Lisa BK

  32. Sonja Lishchynski
    March 28, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    wish we could foster but we travel all the time. Our pup comes with us of course but it makes fostering nearly impossible.

We love comments! Thank you!