I first met Sweet Pepper in early June while photographing adoptable dogs at BARCS.  She was absolutely emaciated and her coat was awful – you could practically see her skin showing through.  Her tail was raw and she was completely scared and overwhelmed.  I was almost in tears taking her photos.  She had the sweetest disposition, but you could just tell she was scared to death and in a lot of pain.  When I took her back inside the shelter, I was just devastated because I knew that she had a really small chance of making it out of BARCS alive.  Among all the other dogs at the shelter, who in the world was going to pick her?  She looked like she was on the verge of death and it absolutely broke my heart.

Enter Kim, an amazing foster mom and volunteer for BARCS.  She came to Sweet Pepper’s rescue, knowing full well that if she hadn’t stepped up for this poor dog, she had a really dark outcome ahead of her at the shelter.  Kim took Sweet Pepper into her home and, in my opinion, did the most amazing job with her.  Sweet Pepper has put on weight, grown a gorgeous shiny coat, and has come out of her shell.  She is thriving and all I can say to Kim is THANK YOU so much for welcoming Sweet Pepper into your home and giving her a fighting chance at a better life.  She is absolutely beautiful and I know, without you, she most likely wouldn’t be here today.  Kim, you are the best!

I’ll take this time to note that BARCS is absolutely desperate for foster homes right now.  They are overcrowded and unable to make enough space for the animals that are brought in each day.  The staff is being forced to make really hard decisions and dogs are being put to sleep as soon as they are turned over to BARCS simply because there is no space.  It is heartbreaking that these dogs do not have a chance of finding a forever home.  If you, or ANYONE you know, is interested in fostering for BARCS, please please please go online and fill out the foster application.  Head on down to BARCS during their regular business hours (Monday – Friday 2pm-6pm, Saturday + Sunday 11am-4pm) and pick a dog out!  Any dog!  Just get them out of there.  There are other breeds besides pit bull mixes – but let me tell you, there is nothing at all wrong with the pit mixes.  They are the sweetest, most loyal dogs you will ever find – and this is coming from someone who has grown up with Golden Retrievers her whole life.  My next dog will be a pit bull mix, that is certain.  I love this breed and hate to see them punished for the irresponsible actions of the people who own them. 

If you are thinking about fostering, BARCS will even lend you a crate if you need it.  Plus, all of your expenses for fostering (which is usually only dog food… all the vet expenses are taken care of by BARCS) are tax deductible!  Even if you work full-time and think that you aren’t home enough to take on a foster dog, believe me when I tell you that the 8-10 hours your foster dog might spend in a crate while you are at work is a TON better than life at the shelter.  They will be forever grateful and you can rest easy knowing you are saving not one, but two lives – your foster dog and the other dog who is able to take their kennel at BARCS.  Please spread the word.  Fostering is easy and rewarding.  Just look at what fostering did for Sweet Pepper…

You can make a difference in the life of a dog.  You can be their guardian angel.  You can give them a chance at a better life.  Please share this post far and wide.  Those of us who volunteer as dog walkers at BARCS love these animals SO much and we want to save as many of them as we can.  I’ll be picking up my second BARCS foster dog tomorrow morning… care to join me?

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS)

301 Stockholm Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21230