Some shelter dogs – such as those who are shut down or have special needs – desperately need someone to believe in them. Luckily for them, LifeLine Volunteer Ed Dobar is that guy.
Ed began volunteering with LifeLine Animal Project, because he wanted to work directly with dogs who were overlooked. So when a LifeLine employee suggested he foster a dog who had a traumatic past and was despondent, Ed didn’t hesitate, and “Mike” became his first foster dog.
When Ed first met Mike, he was completely shut down and visibly shaking, and once Ed got Mike to his house, nothing changed. Since terrified dog would hardly ever leave the safety of his crate, Ed began spending hours next to it, reading, listening to music and talking to Mike. Days turned into weeks, yet Ed patiently hung around the crate, hoping that at some point, Mike would feel safe enough to venture out.
Then one night, after Ed had gone to bed, he heard little feet (four of them actually) quietly walking around the house. Mike had begun exploring! His nighttime exploration continued for several weeks (Ed began calling him “vampire dog”), until he got brave enough to step out of his crate during the day. His daily exploration time slowly increased until he finally decided that hanging out with Ed was more fun than being in his crate. After that, Mike’s personality began to blossom, and he became the happy, spoiled dog he is today, living in his forever home with one of Ed’s friends.
After Mike there were other dogs who Ed helped, each with their own special issues, and Ed got a thrill out of seeing each one flourish. “Watching a dog slowly come out of his shell and become the dog that's locked inside is amazing,” Ed says. “It makes my world a better place.”
Another dog Ed worked with was Kash, a shut-down dog who Ed visited weekly. Kash slowly began to trust Ed, but unfortunately, due to medical issues, he never made it to Ed’s house. “We had 3 great months of Sunday walks and brunch, but sadly he passed away. However, I can look back on our time spent together knowing that we enhanced each other’s lives.”
Ed’s current foster is Richie, a dog with a neurological disorder who walks in circles and sometimes seems lost. And although Richie will never be a normal dog who likes to play fetch, Ed says he is great. “He wants to be loved on and to snuggle on the couch with me,” he says. “What more could you ask for?”
In addition to his current foster dog, Ed has his own motley crew consisting of three dogs who came from sad backgrounds and now know happiness: Lacy, the three-legged diva, G the adorable pocket pit and Scar who had mange, had been hit by a car and had bite wounds on his face.
What advice would he give anyone who is interested in fostering an animal with special issues? “Take a chance! Go for the scared dog that's hiding in the back and needs you most! The reward you will get is worth it!” he says.