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Underdog Blog

Foster feature: Fate and a love of dogs drive Abby Cave to foster

Sabrina Ortiz

By Katie Walsh


With Rural Dog Rescue foster Abby Cave’s first foster dog, the stars aligned. Cave had brought Adele, a redbone coonhound mix, with her to work at her then-job in Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso’s office. A lobbyist visiting the office that day was immediately drawn to the pup’s striking dark-red coat.

“He was like, ‘That’s the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen. Where’d you get her?’” Cave remembers the lobbyist saying.

She responded that Adele was actually her foster dog and was up for adoption.

The lobbyist put his meeting on hold and called his wife. Later that week, he tracked down Cave’s email address to learn more about the Rural Dog Rescue adoption process. Cave sent him a bunch of information, and about a week later he took Adele home, where the pup has lived happily ever since.

He periodically sends pictures to Cave, which makes her very happy.

“Adele was very underweight when I got her, and she’s a nice, happy, fat dog now,” she said.

And it wasn’t only with Adele that a divine hand intervened -- it seems Abby Cave’s career as a dog foster has been largely driven by fate.

In fact, Cave herself even describes initially becoming a dog foster as a “fluke.”

Back in January, Cave had just enjoyed a mimosa-fueled brunch when she found herself walking down Barracks Row and past Howl to the Chief during a Rural Dog Rescue adoption event. It was there she learned that in lieu of adopting, she could foster a dog while it looked for its forever home. Cave had been a dog lover for her entire life -- “I came home to dogs when I was born,” she said -- but at that point in her life, she was working in short-term contract positions and couldn’t necessarily commit to fully owning a dog. However, it was the first time in her life she had been without canine companionship, which she said made her feel “angsty,” and fostering presented the perfect opportunity for her to care for a pet for a little while without worrying what would happen to it if her job went away and she had to move.

She applied to be a foster, and took a dog home a little while later. Since then, she’s had four longer-term fosters and several weekend pups.

“I think it’s a cool way to give a dog a home while it’s looking for its forever home,” Cave said.

Fostering has brought its ups and downs, Cave said. While, fortunately, all of the dogs she’s brought home have appeared to have been housebroken, they’ve come with myriad other challenges. Hobbes, a hound mix, would howl all day when Cave left the apartment, resulting in an admonishing phone call from her landlord. Dolly, another redbone coonhound and Cave’s most recent foster, was missing a paw and had a wicked stubborn streak. Whenever Dolly decided she didn’t want to cooperate anymore, she would simply lie down in her current spot, whether it was safely inside Cave’s apartment or the middle of a street while the crosswalk sign was ticking down.

But perhaps the most terrifying fostering situation for Cave has been with Charlie, a hound-lab mix.

Cave loved Charlie. He was about 5 or 6 years old, but he acted like an “old man,” she said. He seemed to have a tough time with stairs, so for the first few nights she had him she slept downstairs with him. Charlie had Cave completely convinced of his feebleness.

And that’s when he decided to make his move.

“One day while I was at work and my roommates were still home, he hurtled over the couch with amazing grace and ran a mile and a half away from our house,” she said.

Cave said she called Animal Control through tears every hour until they finally rounded up the doggie fugitive and brought him safely home.

“He went for quite a run that day,” she said. “It was terrifying.”

But even with her little escape artist, Cave has loved fostering with Rural Dog Rescue. It has enabled her to have a dog in a way she couldn’t have without their help. For example, Cave doesn’t have a car, so when Dolly had to have a vet appointment, an RDR volunteer came and picked up the dog.

“And the fact that they are happy to provide all the supplies [the dogs] need too is super nice,” she said. “I have a whole set of dog supplies now I just keep in my house, but at first it was nice to not have to go buy food and a kennel and all that stuff because I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it at that point.”

Cave intends to keep fostering as long as her work and life circumstances allow -- or until she gets a dog that captures her heart so much that she “foster fails” and keeps it. But until then, she highly recommends the process to anyone who is thinking of giving a dog a temporary home.

“It’s such a fun thing and it’s such a rewarding thing to do,” Cave said. “You get somebody who loves you unconditionally even though they just met you. And they’ll snuggle you, and there’s nothing like a good ol’ dog kiss.”