Ann Wenthold ticks off the dogs she and her husband, Chuck, have fostered over the last couple of years — Marley a smooth-coated collie mix, a big yellow Labrador retriever, two 15-pound puppies that grew up to be 70-pound dogs, Bear the daschund, a Jack Russell terrier puppy, a black Labrador puppy and others.
Wenthold, who works for the Greene County Medical Center, fosters dogs through the Greene County Animal Shelter and People for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). She had been involved in the organizations for some time, and had wanted to foster dogs, but didn’t feel like there was room until the couple moved to the country.
She has been fostering for about two years. The foster program was started because the shelter isn’t large enough for very many dogs. There’s only one run in the animal shelter.
In addition, the dogs often need to be socialized or have some training before they go out for adoption.
“I grew up in a dog family. We always had dogs around,” she says. She admits she gets very attached to the dogs she fosters.
“It just about breaks my heart to see them go,” says Wenthold, who lives on an acreage just east of Jefferson. “But I know they are going to a good home.”
Wenthold has fostered individual dogs for a few days, even up to six months.
“The longer I keep a dog here, the more attached I get, and the more it hurts to see them go,” she says.
Although she has fostered larger dogs, she prefers the smaller animals.
“I’ve come to the conclusion, when it comes to fostering, we are probably a smaller-dog household,” she says. The couple already has three daschunds of their own: Shadow, 3 years old; Shelby, 14; and Scooby, 16.
The three dogs play their own roles with their foster visitors, Wenthold says. They teach the foster dogs how to play and how to act like other dogs. But already having dogs means she has to bring home dogs that will more likely get along with her three pets.
“They have been great with the dogs we have brought home,” she says.
Wenthold keeps photographs of all the dogs she has fostered and often keeps in contact with the adoptive families. One of her foster dogs, Marley, went to a couple who has taken him to the Rose Bowl parade and other places.
“They just love him,” she says. “They wanted a dog that could travel with them. When they went to the Rose Bowl, they parked the camper where they could look down on the parade, and Marley sat in the camper, watching out the door.”
Wenthold says she and Chuck will continue to take foster dogs, because they feel strongly about how the animals should be treated, and because they have their own dogs.
“Chuck didn’t grow up with dogs. As soon as we got married, we got our first dog,” she says. “Chuck just fell in love with him.”