Kelly Brenninger, Lucky Day President and Co-founder
What does it mean to “foster a dog”? Well, let me tell you a little story.
Have you ever met a dog and you don’t want to say it out loud but in your head, you are thinking, wow, what an unfortunate looking dog? Well, I probably would have thought that about my Nala when I first met her except I didn’t have time to even go there. She arrived at my house in June, very stressed out with her four newborn puppies. They had traveled together all the way from Houston, Texas and they did not smell good.
Nala had been beaten with a baseball bat. So she has no top teeth, which makes her top lip to get caught in her bottom teeth creating quite a sight. She had every parasite in the book, including heartworms, fleas, and ticks. Her thin coat was bleached a dry brown from being tied up in the hot Texas sun. She was my first foster litter and admittedly I was a little overwhelmed. My daughter Emily, who was 9 at the time, helped me get each pup bathed one at a time before putting them in a whelping box (which is designed so mom can get in and out freely but pups cannot). Next was Nala’s turn. She was a little more challenging as she was a 90-pound girl who wanted to get to her puppies. She was patient with us as we gave her a bath and picked ticks out of her ears. She then joined her puppies and the magic began…
The thing is, now I know it was definitely the other way around. Talk about a best friend. I lost my husband Hansi in a tragic ski accident a few years ago and I am 100% sure I would not be as far along in my healing if it wasn’t for my Nala. She teaches me to be present, to never stop loving no matter what, to keep exercising and enjoying the outdoors. She makes me laugh out loud and she reminds me every day that I am not alone. She also happens to be the best foster mom to all the puppies I bring home. I couldn’t be more grateful for her. I also think she is the most beautiful dog in all the world.
Mama Nala started to relax and trust us. She now had 3 healthy meals a day and her coat started filling in. Surprise! Her coat turned out to be thick, shiny and jet black – absolutely gorgeous. But it was her eyes that made us melt. She looks right into you, hiding nothing, sharing her soul with yours. Everyone who meets her feels that unexplainable heart connection. It took a little patience, some time and lots of love, but we helped Nala raise her pups and found wonderful homes for all of them. Nala needed some continued care but eventually, we got her spayed, healthy and ready for her new family too. Only by now, I was madly in love and didn’t want her to go. When her potential adopters came to meet her, they, of course, fell in love and wanted to adopt her. It was then that I was absolutely sure I could not let her go. She was already home and I was so elated that I had rescued this precious soul.
Lucky Day has rescued countless dogs and cats, as well as pigs, turtles, a bunny and some birds. We are happy to help any animal that is in need if we have a foster home available. Our foster program is a great way to give back. It provides an opportunity to have a pet short term if that is what best fits your current lifestyle. Think hiking buddy in the summer! It is a wonderful teaching tool for children and it literally saves the lives of animals. It is also a great way to see if a pet is right for you as we generally allow our foster parents the first opportunity to adopt their foster pets. Lucky Day is not breed-specific. We rescue any age, any size, any mix or purebred. Our one caveat is that we do not take dogs with any known aggression since they are going straight into private homes.
If this opportunity feels right for your household, fill out a foster application on our website. Then one of our Adoption Coordinators will contact you to go over our program and answer any questions. We do our best to match animals with the right foster family, so everyone is happy.
All foster-care expenses are paid by Lucky Day, including veterinary care and pet supplies. All of our animals must be spay/neutered prior to adoption. We make sure they are current on all vaccinations, have been de-wormed and microchipped. Some dogs need dental care before adoption, so all of these procedures can determine the length of time in foster care.
If fostering isn’t for you, Lucky Day could always use help transporting animals to their foster homes, doing home visits for potential adopters, or helping with our education program. Donations are always greatly appreciated. We are an all-volunteer group so all funds go directly to helping the animals.
Not all foster experiences are as challenging as Nala’s but the rewards are always immense. I have now fostered too many dogs and puppies to count, each one touching our lives in a special way. People always ask me how I can ‘let them go’ but the truth is, I never ‘let them go’. They are always in my heart and I am just so grateful I get to be the bridge to their new forever family, to a new life full of love and adventure. And then I get to search for the next one in need who will also steal my heart… best job ever.
One of MP’s canine office mates, Zelda, is among countless LUCKY dogs that have been rescued and fostered by Kelley Brenninger’s local nonprofit dedicated to finding forever homes for animals of all sorts, Lucky Day Animal Rescue of CO. With “adoption season” approaching, we are delighted to introduce Kelley through her “Very Best Luck” Helping Hands article. When Kelley isn’t hiking with her beloved dogs Nala and Darlin, she loves to foster puppies and be in nature with her favorite people, Emily and Max. She and her co-founders launched Lucky Day in 2011 with a mission “to aid lost, abandoned and suffering animals through rehabilitation, re-homing, education, and love.”