Pet Tips‘n’ Tales: ‘Grace’ and Gratitude

Dog-nurse Sandy and her nurse-dog, Grace.

“Animal companionship is a godsend paw-ticularily when isolated from our friends and family,” admits Sandy. “During the pandemic, my beloved 24-year-old cat passed, then a month later my comic–relief dog followed her over the Rainbow Bridge.

I was heartbroken, lonely and thrust into solitary confinement.  I missed sharing my cat-lap and laughing with a couch-dog who bark in my ear protecting us from the mailman! The house was quiet and missed ‘heart’.”

To keep involved in the world of animals, Sandy began fostering from a pet shelter. She has a health issue so her new hobby works paw-fectly in case she needs hospitalization. the animal already has a safe place to go.

“Shelters desperately need foster homes for cats/kittens, dogs/puppies, horses and hospice pets, and I needed a furry friend,” said Sandy. “I picked up a dog the afternoon that my application was approved. The dog was the first of many short-term guests who all found forever homes! Each one touches my heart, whether they are puppies or adults who needed a short-term stay.

“One day, I was cruising the internet and found an abused dog in an out-of-state shelter. The poor girl was all bones. It was difficult to tell what color her fur was because there was so little left.  Her nails were so long that they had broken her toes. I knew that she was going to be my next foster! But how?”

Sandy said a quick prayer, phoned the shelter and applied to foster the critically ill, 22-pound underweight, four-year-old, Boxer, hospitalized on fluids and medications. Every day, Sandy checked on her little patient, and a week later, she was on her way to pick up ‘her’ girl!

“I was afraid to lift her frail body into my vehicle,” said Sandy. “She was weak and unable to walk more than a few steps. The little bag of bones arrived with a heavenly host of angels helping her body and brave spirit make it through that first stress-filled week.  She was so broken, yet she made progress every day. Her sad eyes spoke to my heart and we became each other’s nurse, healer and biggest blessing!”

Sandy named her foster after God’s ‘Grace’ to honor her journey and the dog healed her heart from the loss of her purr-evious pets. At the same time, Grace healed with Sandy’s loving care.

“We made many drives back to her shelter for her vet care,” said Sandy, “Her fur grew little by little and her muscles began holding her up. She is in her forever home becoming my first foster failure upon her adoption. This happy dog loves sharing my home and fur-niture!   She has a sweet spirit and is a gentle girl who takes on the role of assisting ‘our’ other foster pups heal.

When I sit down on the couch, Grace squeezes in behind me and plops her head onto my shoulder. Then she rubs her head on my cheek and breathes into my ear. Luckily, she does not bark in my ear when the postal worker arrives like my previous dog. She’s a TV love bug who cuddles in my lap. Yes! We rescued each other.”


Apply at animal shelters to become a short term, long term or emergency foster-fur parent.  Most shelters require experience with previous ownership and those willing to give pets love.  Shelters often supply food and vet care.

Pandemic pet protection: In case you have a health emergency, include the name of your pets, photos, vet, special needs diet, recipe, where the food is and phone number who will care for them in your absence. Post on your fridge and in your vehicle.

Tell us how your dog/cat arrived at your home.

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Cottage Grove Humane Society for Neuter/Spay Assistance Program: 541-942-3130