I had no intention of letting a dog sleep on my bed.

A foster dog trained me differently in less than 12 hours.

I like dogs, but I don’t think I can keep the commitment of owning them, due to constraints in time, patience and budget.

For months, I toyed with the idea of fostering shelter pets without acting on it.


In late January, I noticed a post on the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, seeking a foster home for two bonded adult dogs. I impulsively emailed to ask about requirements for fostering.

County animal care associate Kelli Mortensen and Community Services Director Anne Ryan assured me these low-energy dogs would be OK while I was at work. Within 36 hours, the dogs, Ava and Braulio, were living with me. The county provided food, bowls, dog crates, blankets and toys.

That night, Ava settled into a crate, but Braulio jumped onto my bed. I told him to get down. He did, but jumped right back up.  We repeated that whole scenario another three or so times.

It was late and I wanted to go to sleep, so I gave up.  He’s been sleeping on the bed ever since. Canine: 1, Human: 0.

Still, the dogs have been a hoot. They’re friendly, house-trained and fixed.

They snooze when I work around the house — once they ascertain I won’t pet them anymore right then.

Ava is 8, affectionate and a Dalmatian-pit bull cross. She likes lots of petting and “dens.” A crate or the space under the table will do. Braulio is 6, and his breed is … anyone’s guess. A little pit bull, maybe some bull terrier, possibly heeler and/or Lab. He likes jumping on furniture, getting neck scratches and giving nose kisses when he’s upset or excited.

These two are tightly bonded, so they need to stay together. I’m told their owner died unexpectedly, leaving them and their feline “sister,” who’s in a separate foster home.

Braulio has an ear infection treated with ear drops and skin allergies handled with pills and a special shampoo. He hates baths and ear drops, but his skin and ears seem to be improving. Ava has what appears to be a fatty tissue growth, plus a leg injury that could be a torn ACL or an old wound. Either would require surgery costing thousands of dollars.

The Community Services Department doesn’t have that money, and my budget isn’t huge, either. So, the county has a donation fund exclusively for medical needs of homeless pets, including Ava.

To contribute, drop off cash or a check at the county’s finance department on the second floor of the county administration building, or mail a check to the finance department.

Make checks payable to Sandoval County and include a note that the donation should go to the homeless pets medical fund. The address is 1500 Idalia Road, Building D, P.O. Box 40, Bernalillo, NM 87004. You’ll get a receipt, and the donation is tax-deductible.

For now, we’re keeping Ava comfortable with pain medicine and limited activity, although neither is ideal.


Anne says there’s been a nationwide surge in homeless pets.

Sandoval County is no exception and needs more pet foster homes. The county pays for supplies and medical care. Anne, Kelli and Michael, who also works at the shelter, are super supportive.

You don’t have to be a perfect pet parent. I’m not, given my limited time.

But at least I can provide a comfortable environment and care until Ava and Braulio find a forever home.

If you’re interested in adopting or fostering, email [email protected] or call 505-867-7642.