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Rambo Finally Finds His Forever Home

Rambo finally finds his forever home (though he’s been there all along!)

Photo: Stacey Axelrod

Written by foster mom Nikki Slesin

Back even before I was born, my family always had a dog. When I was born, my parents already had a rescue dog from North Shore Animal League. Thus, I grew up always having a dog in the house. My parents still have a dog in the house to this day.

A friend of mine introduced me to Pit Bulls and to rescuing dogs. Her family has three rescue dogs, and they had a foster dog at one point. I became involved in helping find this foster dog a home, and spent a lot of time with all of her families’ rescue Pit Bulls. I also volunteered and walked Pit Bulls with New York Bully Crew the summer of 2016. Back in November of 2016, I knew I wanted to adopt my own dog but I knew it wasn’t the right timing so I decided to foster and see how having a dog would go for a while.

I knew about fostering through my friend who had pulled a dog from ACC and fostered her through Second Chance Rescue. I began to do research on fostering dogs and rescues that did fostering. I came across Foster Dogs NYC which was a wonderful resource for finding dogs who were looking for foster homes. That is how I found Rambo! I found a few dogs who needed foster homes and wrote to their respective rescues. I heard back from a few and I decided to foster Rambo because to be completely honest, I didn’t love him at the time. He was an older dog and I liked him but I wasn’t in love with him and I thought this was good because it would be easier to give him up once he found his forever home; I wasn’t planning on keeping him.

Cait Himmell, Rambo’s rescue advocate

Rambo was saved by Ready for Rescue after being surrendered to Brooklyn Animal Care and Control back in June 2016 after his family could no longer care for him. He had been boarded in Bedford, NY, and needed a foster home. I checked in with my boyfriend Ian to see if he had any reservations about bringing a foster dog into his apartment. He was open to it, so we drove up to pick Rambo up from boarding the day after Thanksgiving.

Photo: Marshall Boprey

He settled into the apartment very well (maybe slightly too well), and initially bonded with me; he claimed me as primary caregiver and started to run the apartment himself. Rambo would growl at Ian any time he would get close to me. Therefore, I reached out to Ready for Rescue and worked with a private trainer, Ray.

Later, we worked with Sarah Dixon of Instinct Dog Training (which Foster Dogs so generously made possible) for dog socialization back in April. Instinct made Rambo completely different dog. He has learned how to socialize with other dogs in a healthy and safe way. Rambo attended a number of adoption events including Foster Pack Walks and a number of different photoshoots.

Photo: Marshall Boprey

Rambo had very little adoption interest… He had about three adoption inquiries in the span of ten months. He had a slightly more difficult time, given his breed and age. I was extremely lucky to have a great partner to foster Rambo with.

While we will both admit that I did the majority of the work in regards to caring for Rambo as a foster dog, it definitely made things easier to have a partner to rely on when I could not be there to always walk or take care of Rambo on a rare occasion. If one of us goes away, the other one can still care for Rambo.

What made me decide to finally adopt Rambo was that Ian, Rambo and I had grown very fond of each other. Rambo had formed a strong bond to me I felt as thought it would have broken his heart to give him to a new family. After having him for so long, it felt right.

He felt like a part of our family.

Photo: Stacey Axelrod

I also dedicated a lot of time to Rambo. I took him to the adoption events, I met with potential adopters, I took him to his vet appointments, I coordinated his care when we went away, I took him to all of his training sessions. It would have broken my heart to give him up. He is also just an awesome dog!

Rambo is an 8 year old dog who can chill out on the couch or go in the park for a long run or walk with me.

Photo: Marshall Boprey

When I got Rambo, I had never fostered a dog before. If you are interested in a long-term foster as your first foster dog, I would suggest you have the time to dedicate to the dog. As I learned, it sometimes takes a while, so it is important to be patient and wait for the right home to come along. You will know when it is right. I was told this all along. I felt badly at times not finding him a home sooner but I can stay with confidence that his forever him was me and I am glad it turned out that way.

Photo: Nina Chiofalo

I will admit that the longer I had Rambo the more I started to like him and considered him for myself. I cannot say how wonderful fostering is when possibly deciding if a dog is the right dog for you. It is a temporary commitment until you make a long term commitment. It is great if you are interested in adopting but want to be absolutely sure it is the right step for you. I got Rambo as a foster in November and adopted him in September. He was a 10 month foster. I really thought about if I wanted to adopt Rambo and if I was the right match. I didn’t just jump-in and adopt him right away.

Photo: Marshall Boprey

Want to foster a long-term large dog in need? Check out our Operation Foster Bound program!

Featured image: Marshall Boprey
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