Fostering Medical Dogs Has Its Own Rewards — The Story of Anson

Anson’s story comes to us from our friend and dedicated foster mom, Oana Stratman.

Anson was known as Sherlock during his time at Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson. I began fostering him toward the end of July 2021 after I learned that my first foster, Anna, had unexpectedly passed away. It was the only way I felt I could cope with the terrible news – by fostering another medical dog. Anson’s name was a tribute to Anna and very fitting, as his personality was very similar to hers. 

Canine Distemper

Anson was an adult dog who had been diagnosed with distemper. His history was unknown. He was found as a stray, became ill, and was housed in an isolation kennel. I remember the day I met him. Anson had been scared and confused behind the glass door of the iso kennel. Dogs kept in isolation are not allowed to go outside until their illness subsides and they shed the virus.

When I entered the kennel, I could tell he wasn’t feeling well, yet his eyes brightened, and he allowed me to pet him gently. He was wobbly and weak, so I picked up his thin body and loaded him in my car. Once home, we made sure he got plenty of rest, but we knew we were not out of the woods yet and that anything could happen. 

sick German shepherd
Photo: Oana Stratman

Road to Wellness

The road to healing was tenuous. Anson did not eat much the first couple of days, but what was more concerning was that he would also not drink much water. On the third day, he became so ill with vomiting and diarrhea that we had to rush him back to the clinic for IV fluids and medication. Once home, we began feeding him a special diet, let him rest some more, and watched him closely. Slowly, his symptoms subsided. 

Introducing Animals

Anson did not meet my dogs or the cat for the first two weeks. But when he was introduced to them, he was very appropriate, good-natured, and friendly. We realized immediately what an incredible dog he was and enjoyed watching him become healthier and happier as the days went by. Anson loved playing with my youngest dog, Louisey, lounging at Mom’s casita, and carrying his squeaky toy in his mouth.

Photo: Oana Stratman

Finding a Forever Home

After a few months in my home, Anson was adopted by an amazing woman whose German shepherd had passed away, leaving her other dog lonely and depressed. Now Anson lives with three humans, three cats, and a canine sister. He is very loved, and he is thriving.

Fostering Animals with Medical Needs

Fostering medical dogs like Anson and Anna is an extremely rewarding endeavor. I am always amazed at how resilient dogs are, despite some of the direst circumstances. There is tremendous satisfaction in watching a dog defeat an illness and gaining a second chance at a normal life. I feel extremely lucky to be able to make a difference in these animals’ lives. 

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