Meet our family…my husband Keith, myself (Janis) I am on the Board of Directors with Iowa Weim Rescue, our dogs..Roxi, Riley, Rue, and Jersey girl (all female weims), Branson and Precious (2 female cats).
Our love for weims actually did not start out in the rescue. Our first weim love came to us about 8 years ago. My hair stylist at the time was looking for a home for their then 3 year old Weimaraner named Roxi. My initial thought was “weim-a-what”? I had family pets throughout my childhood but were smaller breeds – American Eskimo, mutt, cats and have always had a love of all animals. But I knew a friend that was looking for a dog so I told my stylist not to re-home Roxi as I had a friend that would probably take her but if my friend didn’t then I would take her so either way she would have a home. Well, as you figured out by now my friend changed her mind and decided not to get another dog so here I was about to adopt a dog whose breed I didn’t even know how to say let alone spell. But Roxi, our now almost 11 year old senior with a ton of personality, stole our hearts and the more we learned about her and researched the breed the more we fell in love. To this day we are so blessed that she came into our lives! My husband jokes to his guy friends that guys – you just never know what your wife is going to come home with when she goes to get her hair done! So that’s where it all began – with our first weim love Roxi. A couple years later we decided Roxi needed a “buddy”. Although in reality Roxi was just fine being an “only child”. It was me who wanted the buddy. I started watching Craigslist pet section which does have a lot of negativity but we are living proof that there are also happy endings through it. I saw a 10 month old female weim posted that lived with a very nice local family but they just didn’t have time for her with their kids activities and such. Just keep in mind I had no formal dog training at this point and that – as we all know – a 10 month old is a completely different scenario than a 3 year old. So our wild child Riley came into our lives. She was out of control – not yet house trained, getting in all the trash cans in the house, you all know how it is with weim puppies. We loved her but realized she needed something and would destroy the house if we didn’t help her so we decided to look into what classes were available. We decided to take a basic obedience class with her at Canine Craze. Classes take a lot of at home follow through – it’s not just go once a week and you’re good. We really took the time to practice everything in our home that we learned through the classes. When obedience class ended I knew she needed to continue on in something so at the trainer’s suggestion we went into agility and to this day are still taking agility classes with her (she is now 6 1/2 years old). We also tried agility with Roxi at the same time we started with Riley but it just wasn’t her thing and we decided not to force it. However, Canine Craze started up a Performance Team that Roxi and I loved participating in with an awesome group of people. It also helped continue to build Roxi and I’s relationship. The Performance Team is not active at this time but it created great memories with Roxi that I will always cherish as well as helped me learn even more about training. And who knows – maybe we’ll be able to start it up again someday.
Fast forward a bit and and a few years ago we came across Iowa Weimaraner Rescue. We decided we wanted to get involved by volunteering but didn’t know in what way. I have heard many people say “oh – I could never foster – I would just get too attached and never be able to let go”. Well, guess what – that was us when we first decided we wanted to volunteer. We didn’t want to foster. The thing is though is that there are so many other ways to volunteer beyond just fostering. We didn’t realize at the time how involved rescue is. We sort of fell into a temp foster role. We still thought we didn’t want to foster but to take a dog in for a couple of days until they went to their “long term” foster home would be ok. So we temp fostered for awhile and helped at events by showing up with our own dogs and talking about the rescue. After a few temp fosters (which is a great way to gain the experience with little commitment) an email went out saying Coco Puff needed a foster and all the foster homes were tapped out so who would consider taking Coco Puff. We discussed it as we knew it would take our commitment together and decided to open our hearts and home to Coco Puff. She was the sweetest and in her own rights the laziest weim we had ever met. If you follow the rescue you may recall Coco’s forever family lost her a few months ago due to complications of cancer. Whenever an alumni passes the rescue as a family mourns. After Coco Puff was adopted to the perfect family we continued long term fostering. It seemed like a good fit for us. Everything I learned through the classes we took along with what we have learned through the rescue was really being put to great use with both our own dogs and our fosters. Then several fosters later along came our failed foster. I will say this, though – we had already discussed wanting to add a 3rd permanent family member and knew we wanted a blue female younger than Riley. The email went out looking for a foster for Rue and I just knew in my heart it was meant to be. We asked if we could foster with the possibility of adopting if she was a good fit and that story is history. Along came Baby Rue. Baby Rue has enjoyed a few agility classes and has learned a lot since she’s been with us. She has a huge kind heart and welcomes every single new foster in our home as her new best friend. Our most recent permanent addition a few months ago was our second failed foster, Jersey (aka Snooki). We weren’t planning on adopting and having 4 permanently but sometimes they just belong in a way you didn’t necessarily intend. Jersey has since passed Obedience I and II and I have just started foundation agility with her.
Let me say this about fostering (and some of you have probably heard me say this before)…I’m not going to lie and say it gets easy to let them go when it’s time to transition them to their forever families. Yes, we get attached and yes, it’s always hard to say goodbye. But the thing is through fostering we have gotten to meet and help so many great different personalities. When it’s time to say goodbye I know there is always a next one waiting in line that needs our help. If we didn’t foster we wouldn’t be able to help so many dogs. Each one is very special to us and takes pieces of our hearts with them. Most forever homes are great about sending pictures every now and then and our hearts melt when we see the dogs so happy and when we see that it helps us be at peace that we helped them on their journey to get there and they are exactly where they were meant to be. And some families we adopt to that are local come to our events and it’s always so great to see them and see how the dog has bonded. And some families we become friends with and even continue on to have dog play dates with and get to pet sit when they go out of town. So not only have we met so many great dogs and learned so much through volunteering with the rescue but have also met a great group of people and dog owners!
If you have thought about volunteering but just aren’t sure I highly encourage you to sign up to volunteer and to find your volunteer niche. If you are creative we can always use help with newsletters. If you’re sales oriented we can put your talents to use through marketing. If you’re great talking to people we can use application processors. If you like driving and have extra time we can use transports. Whatever talent you have if you have a passion for weims and have a heart to volunteer I’m sure we have a need for you! And if you have considered fostering but aren’t sure – I encourage you to give it a try. We weren’t sure starting out either but it has been a great investment! Fostering does take time, commitment, and consistency but is also fun and rewarding knowing how much we are helping one weim at a time.