At Lu’s Labs, we have foster homes in the South and foster homes in the North. Most of our dogs start their journey into Lu’s Labs by being pulled from a shelter or an owner surrender and going into a home with one of our southern fosters. This month in our Volunteer Spotlight we want to tell you a little bit about one of our rising stars in the south, Sarah Underwood in Kiln, Mississippi. Sarah and her daughter Katie have big hearts and while they have 3 resident dogs and a cat, they still have room in their heart and their home to foster.
Sarah’s job can be quite intense at times and sometimes heart breaking as a Probation and Parole Agent for the State of Mississippi. On a regular basis Sarah donated to her local shelter for years, but as she and her daughter wanted to do more they researched other ways of getting involved and decided they wanted to give fostering a try.
When Sarah and Katie took on their first foster, Chevy she was still learning the ropes of rescue, and at first, she didn’t realize just how lucky Chevy was to become a Lu’s Lab and just how life changing this would be for him. As a southern intake foster, Sarah picks up her fosters from the shelter, gives them the love they deserve, gets them healthy and takes them to their medical appointments making sure all their paperwork is complete. All this gets them ready for transport up north, and to a new life.
Some of the most memorable moments in rescue for Sarah is when she gets to see the gotcha day photos of her foster babies. “That feeling that you get knowing that you took a dog that has been neglected and mistreated and gave them the love and care they needed to once again become the dog they should have always been is indescribable,” says Sarah. “Seeing their happy pictures with their new forever families gives you the strength to continue saving lives.”
It is especially rewarding to Sarah to work with the dogs and help the dogs who have been broken down come out of their shell and be the happy, playful dogs they were meant to be. A day in the life of Sarah and Katie includes early morning wake ups to feed and play with all the dogs, give them their potty breaks and exercise, before they head into their crates before mom and daughter head off to work and school. Once Katie arrives home from school playtime ensues until Sarah gets home from work. Food, belly scratches, cuddles, and more playtime before bed are a must.
Sarah takes lots of pictures to post on Lu’s Labs and describes the personalities of her foster dogs in detail so that before her dogs ever even come up from the south, potential adopters begin to get to know the love Sarah sees in them. The support and expertise are just some of the things Sarah appreciates about working with Lu’s Labs, “I feel so blessed to have so much support 24/7,” says Sarah. She loves putting in time fostering because as she says, “Fostering is the best job in the world.”
The satisfaction she gets from helping dogs is one of the many reasons Sarah will be involved in rescue for the rest of her life. One of her key pointers for someone new into rescue is to start out small. “If you jump in too quickly you might find yourself getting burned out or feeling as if you are in over your head.” She feels lucky that she found her people soon after getting involved in rescue. It’s important to find a group where you fit in and that have the same goals and ideas. “When you find something that you are truly passionate about and is important to you, you make time.”
As someone relatively new into rescue Sarah emphasizes that, “It’s important when you first start out working in rescue to ask for help if you need it and don’t be afraid to say no if you can’t do something. Understand that no one can do it all in their own time.”
You don’t have to be in rescue forever to decide to work with Lu’s Labs. Just the willingness to learn and to share in our common goals is important. If you are interested in getting involved whether you are in a southern state or up closer to Lu’s Labs operations in Northern Virginia reach out and let us know.