Welcome to our website, or blog, or whatever it is. In any case, welcome to our site:
The Fosterpack / and What We Love Most.
So, exactly who or what is the Fosterpack? The Fosterpack is just that: the Foster Pack; our family (pack) that is currently Jim and Debbie Foster, Hannah, Stan, Molly, and Libby. Of course, the Fosterpack also includes those who came before, but who are no longer with us: Mo, Puppa, Missy, Essie, Helmut, and Rotten.
While this blog is not only about dogs, it is certainly dog-centric, as our lives tend to revolve around dogs — our dogs in particular. We’ll see what the future holds for this site, but for now, it’s a place to learn a little about everything, a lot about nothing, and of course, something about dogs.
So, let’s meet the Fosterpack:
Jim (a.k.a. The Dogfather)
I am a career officer in the U.S. Navy and a member of the U.S. Navy Security Forces, or NSF (the Force Protection arm of the U.S. Navy). I’ve been on active duty for 24 years now, and I’m currently serving as the Executive Officer of Marine Corps Security Force Battalion Kings Bay, GA. The Navy has proven to be a good career; however, it has required me to spend a great deal of time away from home, and I look forward to my eventual retirement with great pleasure. I have enjoyed serving my country, but life is just too short to spend any more time away from home than is necessary. You can read a little more about my military career here.
Debbie is my wife and best friend of more than 30 years. She is the life force behind the Fosterpack and the glue that binds us all together. She is the most amazing woman I have ever known, and I thank God each day for the blessing of being able to share life together with her.
Hannah (a.k.a., Goo) was our beautiful, ten-year-old Shar-Pei/Australian Cattle Dog mix. We adopted her from a local shelter and she was an absolute gem. Also known as our “Goodwill Ambassador” Hannah loved everyone and everything; there was not a mean bone in her body.
After losing our dog Essie to Lyme disease, Missy became very depressed. One day, I went to Pet Smart to get some dog food and treats when I saw Hannah. She was in a pen in front of the store, offered for adoption through the local pound. From the moment I saw her, I fell in love. I didn’t even get the dog food I came for, instead I drove straight home to speak with Debbie, who agreed that Missy needed another canine companion. I brought Missy back with me to the store to see if she and Hannah would get along (Missy has been known to be territorial around other female dogs). Much to my amazement, when I brought Missy to the pen, she immediately went to Hannah and started kissing (licking) her. That was it, I signed the papers that day and a short time thereafter, Hannah was a member of the pack.
While we were renovating our home, we stayed with my wife’s sister in a nearby town. One day, while we were at work, Hannah somehow got out of the house/yard and, being unfamiliar with the area, got lost. Debbie and I were devastated. We searched everywhere, each taking time off from work in order to search for her. In the process, we hung more than 1,000 posters, bought ads in the local papers, advertised on the local radio station, and even hired a Bloodhound tracking service. Finally, after 13 days, we received the call that we had been waiting for — someone had found Hannah. She was cold, scared, tired, emaciated, and wedged between a fence and a shed in someone’s backyard.
Although she had lost nearly half her body weight, and was no more than skin and bones, the sight of her was overwhelming; I have never felt more excited in my life. Hannah meant the world to us, but it wasn’t until she was gone that we realized just how much we needed her. She is, and always will be, family. Unfortunately, after a brief (but brave) battle with cancer, we lost our little girl forever. Although gone in the flesh, she will always be with us in our hearts and mind, and she will forever be a member of the Fosterpack. We love and miss you, Goo!
Stan (a.k.a. Doedel), our seven-year-old golden colored Labradoodle, came our way after we adopted him in the Netherlands.
He is such a character and is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever known. Friendly to everyone, he has quickly become well know at the local park and already has some favorite dog friends.
Special thanks to Gwen and her son Kai for allowing us the pleasure to share our lives with this amazingly sweet and handsome boy. He will forever be loved as a member of the Fosterpack.
Molly and her sister Libby are two Vizsla mixes who came to be with us after we adopted them while in the Netherlands in 2013. They were found abandoned on the street in Turkey, along with their litter mates before they were rescued by a family and brought to a local rescue organization headed by some Dutch ex-patriots living in Turkey. We adopted them and had them flown to Belgium, where we picked them up at the airport. Now, they are forever members of the Fosterpack.
Libby and her sister Molly are two Vizsla mixes who came to be with us after we adopted them while in the Netherlands in 2013.They were found abandoned on the street in Turkey, along with their litter mates before they were rescued by a family and brought to a local rescue organization headed by some Dutch ex-patriots living in Turkey. We adopted them and had them flown to Belgium, where we picked them up at the airport. Now, they are forever members of the Fosterpack.
Honey is the newest member of the Fosterpack. She came to live with us in early 2015, soon after I arrived in the Bahamas.
We decided to leave Stan, Libby, and Molly with Debbie in California, but soon after arriving in the Bahamas, it was clear that I could not be without a dog. After a brief internet search, I found Honey. She was found wandering in the everglades in Homestead, FL (near Miami) with an embedded collar, and was taken in by Kym Graham, a wonderful soul who cared for her and nursed her back to health. Thanks to God, and the wonderful heart of Kym, Honey is now a forever member of the Fosterpack.
Mo (a.k.a. Moses) was a young Doberman/Belgian Malinois mix whom we rescued while in the Netherlands. Originally from Spain, he was to be euthanized before we took him in and had him flown to the Netherlands. Mo is a beautiful, strong, and loving boy who wanted nothing more than to have a job, and coming from two different working breeds, he needed a job. We took him in and quickly realized his potential as a Military Working Dog and began training him as such. When we could take him no further in his training, we turned to a professional academy in the Netherlands, and after months of specialized training, he was certified as an Explosives Detection Dog. After his certification, we adopted him out to the British Army,where he currently serves as an Explosives Detection Military Working Dog. It broke my heart to see him leave, but he needed that working type environment and he is happier now, as he is able to spend his entire days with his handler. You go, Mo! We miss you, Buddy!!
Puppa (a.k.a. Buff) was our beautiful, sweet, English Labrador. He was probably the most sweet and gentle dog we have ever known, with a big heart to match.
Ever the hero, he once defended his then mom (Joan) and her other two dogs by taking on a rattlesnake they encountered during a hike. In the process, the rattlesnake bit Puppa on his nose and he almost died; however, his courage and will to live were too strong for the snake’s venom and he survived. Puppa eventually did pass along, however, when we lost him to a brain tumor. Our hearts were shattered once again with the loss of another family member. We love you, Buddy. You will forever have a place in the Fosterpack.
Joan, thank you so much for letting us be his family to the end. We loved this boy (and still do) more than you will ever know. He enriched our lives so much, and for that we are a better family today.
Missy (a.k.a. Missers) was our Australian Shepherd/Pit Bull mix and our best friend for 13 and a half years. She was probably the greatest inspiration in our lives and was the one who actually helped us become the Fosterpack that we are today.
After Missy’s last so-called “family” kicked her out on the street, my brother took her in to care for her while trying to find her a suitable home. Knowing we liked dogs, he called Debbie she immediately went to see her. As soon as Debbie knelt to greet her, Missy immediately ran into her arms. From that moment, Debbie knew she was meant to be with us. The rest is history… from street doggie to queen of the house. What a life!
Soon after Missy came to live with us, she came down with a severe case of Parvo and almost died. She spent two weeks in the hospital and the staff told us not to expect too much. Nonetheless, we were willing to do whatever it took to help her get well. Debbie visited her every day after work and remained with her, comforting her until the hospital closed. The vet said that during the day Missy remained lethargic and would only perk up when Debbie came to see her. Missy eventually recovered fully and years later, she gave birth to a litter of seven sweet puppies (one of which came back to live with us eight years later, see Essie’s information below).
There will never be another one like her and she will forever hold that special place within our hearts. As with all of our dogs that are no longer with us, the pain of her loss still brings tears to our eyes and sadness to our hearts. There is truly a hole in our lives where this sweet girl once resided. She lived a good, long life, but after a short and brutal battle, we lost her to cancer. We are now regular contributors to the National Canine Cancer Foundation. If you wish to make a donation, you can do so in Missy’s name here. We miss you, Baby…the world seems a smaller place without you.
Essie (a.k.a. Ezz) was the daughter of Missy. She was the bi-product of our (then) ignorance in not having Missy spayed and an over-eager (that’s the PC term, anyway) neighbor dog. Once adopted out to my sister, Essie eventually came back to us before she unfortunately contracted and succumbed to Lyme Disease. All of our dogs are now vaccinated against this unfortunate and dreaded disease. Essie is a forever member of the Fosterpack and will always have a special place within our hearts. We miss you, Sweet Girl.
Helmut was a sweet and loving Rottweiler and the son of our first dog, Rotten (see below). Helmut loved Debbie and was a “Momma’s Boy” at heart. He did, however, eventually have something out for his dad and fought with him on more than one occasion — again evidence of our (then) ignorance in not having him neutered at an early age. In any case, he was a very sweet boy and, as with the other Fosterpack members, will forever hold a special place within our hearts. We lost him while I was on my first deployment to the Middle East; making an extremely difficult time worse for us both. We miss you, Buddy.
Rotten was our first dog. He was a beautiful and sweet Rottweiler who in no way lived up to the most unfortunate negative reputation with which these beautiful dogs are all too often stereotyped. At 165 lbs, he was a gentle giant and taught us so much about who we were. He lived a good, long life, but the day we lost him will forever be a black mark on our hearts. He is still missed to this day and we will never forget this first member of the Fosterpack. We love and miss you, Buddy.