Volunteer Spotlight: Candy Shoul
Candy Shoul has fostered so many animals over the years that she has lost count. Perhaps because she is a nurse, she has a special affinity, and skill, to foster some of the most difficult dogs who come through the doors at BARCS—the sick, the injured, the all but hopeless.
While no doubt difficult, Candy says she loves fostering these dogs because she gets to see firsthand the miraculous transformations made.
Around a year ago, her two dogs passed away, but there has never been a moment when there hasn’t been a dog, or two or three, in her house. Her job allows her flexibility so at times she works at home so the dogs get a lot of attention.
Right now there are three dogs living with her—two with cancer and one a double amputee. The amputee lost both of her front legs and while they wait for her wheelchair, Candy is amazed at how well she gets around. And while up until now Candy has resisted being a “foster fail,” this dog is staying with her. But, she adds, this is an exception. Candy will be the first to tell you “fostering saves two lives—the dog you foster and the one who takes that dog’s place in the shelter.”
Along with fostering, Candy, with her medical background, helps the medical and surgical team on-site at BARCS. But she says fostering is where she really feels she is doing the most good.
“Fostering is not a piece of cake,” she admits, “but the rewards far outweigh those first few days when that ‘house trained’ dog poops in your living room.”
She recounts the story of Summer, who, when she came to Candy, was “a train wreck.” She had been hit by a car and had a broken pelvis and ankle, and later it was discovered she had a broken vertebra. To top it all off, Summer had terrible diarrhea. So, like any good foster mom, Candy made her chicken and rice, but diarrhea got worse. Turns out, she was allergic to chicken! Once her diet was changed and her broken bones healed, she was an incredibly energetic dog who got adopted into a loving home.
During the pandemic, BARCS signed up a lot of new fosters, and Candy hopes the new fosters will stick with it. “It’s work, but it is so rewarding,” she says. “Sometimes what appears to be a “difficult” dog just needs to get out of the shelter environment to de-stress and really blossom.”
She recounts a snappy chihuahua who was a terror in the shelter but calmed down within an hour in her home. “He still hated men and other dogs,” Candy recalls with a smile, “but he loved me.”
Lately, with the pandemic seemingly winding down, the shelter has begun to fill up, so fostering is more important than ever. “Being in a home and out of a kennel can work wonders for most any dog,” Candy says. “If you have room in your home and your heart, I would highly recommend fostering. It’s not always easy, but without a doubt, it is always worthwhile.”