Anyone who knows anything about dog rescue organizations knows there is a network of very generous and dedicated people behind the scenes who open up their hearts and homes to dogs that otherwise would have no place to go. You could almost call it an underground railroad for rescued dogs. While these loveable bundles of fur await their forever homes, they get to spend time with a family in a home enjoying some well-deserved love and attention, rather than in a cold, lifeless kennel… or worse yet, a gas chamber. Everyone who fosters deserves an award for the work they do! But we are honoring one foster each month for going above-and-beyond the call of duty.
January’s award goes to Christine Hammond, otherwise known as The Dog Whisperer. Christine is the trainer and behavior specialist at Camp Bow Wow in Bellingham, Mass.
When Elizabeth Zaccarro, Big Fluffy Dog Rescue’s (BFDR) president, sent a group email asking people to talk about why they voted for Christine, the overwhelming response was, “TRACER!” When BFDR took in Tracer, he was a terror of a little corgi. He bounced around from foster home to foster home and was so aggressive that he just couldn’t get along with the cats and other dogs living with the families that tried to help him. So Tracer ended up living in a boarding kennel for five-months where his bad behavior only worsened. Tracer waited in that kennel for his knight in shining armor… someone who could help transform him. He found that someone in 24-year-old Christine Hammond of Providence, R.I.
Pictured with Buddy, who was adopted on Sunday!
Christine took tracer on a trial basis at first, but quickly decided she could take him on as a full-fledged foster dog and their journey began. After one week in Christine’s home, she says Tracer was wonderful with one of her dogs. After two weeks, he was totally adjusted to both of Christine’s dogs. And Christine says that after three weeks, she didn’t have to worry about him at all anymore. Christine literally saved Tracer’s life. Her hard work and patience paid off when Tracer was adopted by his new family. The little corgi that some feared might be unadoptable had finally found his forever home thanks to Christine Hammond!
But Christine isn’t stopping with Tracer. While she already has fostered six BFDR dogs since last October, this professional dog trainer has agreed to take on more complicated cases like Tracer in the future. She says, “I enjoy every moment I have with the dogs. Dogs are kind of my calling … Each one of them made our lives better.” She also decided to offer free telephone and email consultations for current BFDR fosters, as well as discounted training after her experience with Tracer. And if you are one of the lucky people who shares your life with a BFDR dog permanently, Christine will offer you a discounted rate for telephone consultations and a discounted spot in her basic obedience class.
After all of this, Christine still says she hasn’t done as much as she’d like to and was surprised to win the Foster of the Month award. “I was really flattered… I feel very humble. At first I was speechless and I still don’t really know exactly what to say because I don’t feel like I’ve really done anything spectacular… and I feel I can offer more.”
Christine says BFDR fans should try fostering a dog at least once. She says fostering isn’t always easy, but it’s the best shot the rescued dogs have at a good life. “It’s a wonderful experience. It’s great to be able to remember each dog and the people that you sent them home with… it does wonders for you emotionally, as long as you can handle the disconnect at the end. I enjoy providing a home for these dogs.”